PERSONS OF INDIAN ORIGIN (PIO) CARD SCHEME
In response to overwhelming demand, the Government of India has launched a comprehensive Scheme for Persons of Indian Origin – called the “PIO Card Scheme.” Under this Scheme, Persons of Indian Origin up to the fourth generation (great grandparents) settled throughout the world, except for a few specified countries, would be eligible. The Card would be issued to eligible applicants through the concerned Indian Embassies/High Commissions/Consulates, and for those staying in India on a long term visa, the concerned Foreigners regional Registration Officer (Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai) would do the same.
The fee for the Card, which will have a validity of 20 years, would be U.S. $1,000.00.
Besides making their journey back to their roots simpler, easier and smoother, this Scheme entitles the PIOs to a wide range of economic, financial, educational and cultural benefits. The benefits envisaged under the Scheme include:
No requirement of visa to visit India.
No requirement to register with the Foreigners Registration Officer if continuous stay does not exceed 180 days. If continuous stay exceeds 180 days, then registration is required to be done within a period of 30 days of the expiry of 180 days.
Parity with Non-Resident Indians in respect of facilities available to the latter in economic, financial, educational fields, etc. These facilities will include:
acquisition, holding, transfer and disposal of immovable properties in India except of agricultural/plantation properties;
admission of children in educational institutions in India under the general category quota for NRIs – including medical/engineering colleges, IITs, IIM, etc.;
various housing schemes of Life Insurance Corporation of India, State Governments and other Government agencies;
All future benefits that would be extended to NRIs would also be available to PIO Card holders;
PIO card holders shall not enjoy political rights in India such as voting in elections.
According to an Indian government press release, the issuance of a PIO Card would go a long way in renewing and strengthening the emotional bond amongst PIOs with the land of their origin. The attractive features of the Scheme will further exhort them to play an increasingly constructive role in the socio-economic and cultural development of the country of their origin.
OBTAINING A PIO CARD IN NEW YORK
In pursuance of the decision of the Government of India regarding the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card, it is hereby notified that application forms for a PIO Card are now available at the premises of the Consulate General of India, 3 East 64th Street New York, NY 10017.
The PIO Card forms may be obtained and deposited, duly completed, at counter number – 7 (Seven) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the passport and visa premises of the Consulate. The forms can also be downloaded from the Internet web site of the Consulate at http://www.indiacgny.org.
The fee for the PIO Card would be U.S. $1,000.00 (Dollars one thousand only) and is to be deposited along with the application. The fee should be paid either by certified check or money order in favor of the Consulate General of India, New York. In the event the applicant is not able to satisfy all the criteria for the PIO Card, an amount of U.S. $250.00 (two hundred fifty) will be retained, as processing fee and U.S.$ 750.00 (seven hundred fifty) will be refunded.
The applications for the PIO Card, duly completed, will be accepted with effect from May 3, 1999, and processed for the issue of the cards in the next few months.
All inquiries relating to the PIO Card scheme may be made at telephone # 212-774-0611 (Mr.S.K.Singh).