All PIO Cards Will be Valid for Travel till March 2019

The Indian government has clarified that non-machine-readable PIO cards will be accepted as a valid document for travel until ICAO issues a deadline to stop accepting it.


The Consulate General of India in Dubai has said that all non-machine-readable Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards will be accepted as a valid traveling document to India until March 31, 2019.

The clarification comes after the government had told PIO card holders that such cards will not be permitted for travel purpose from October 1 if they are not machine-readable. “PIO cards, which are not machine readable will not be permitted for travel purpose w.e.f. Oct 1, 2018. All PIO card-holders are advised to take note of this to avoid any inconvenience at airports from Oct 1, 2018,” a note from the government said.

“All PIO cardholders with valid PIO cards as on 09.01.2015 are deemed to be OCI cardholders. Hence the PIO card, which is a deemed OCI card continues to be legally valid as per law. However, all PIO cardholders with valid PIO cards are advised to apply for conversion of their PIO card to OCI card,” the government said in a statement.

On Oct. 9, the Consul General said that Indian immigration authorities will accept PIO cards as valid document till March 31, 2019, for valid entry/exit into India along with valid foreign passport until the ICAO comes up with a deadline to stop accepting non-OCR cards. “In view of the above, it is confirmed that the Indian immigration check posts will consider all PIO cards valid for exit/entry into India till March 31, 2019. The situation would be reviewed in March 2019 and appropriate instructions will be issued later on,” the statement said.

The statement also said that those that have not converted their PIO card to OCI card may have to obtain a suitable visa from Indian consulates or embassies if any deadline is notified by the ICAO, thereby making hand-written PIO cards invalid due to ICAO guidelines regarding machine-readable travel documents.

The government had earlier fixed Dec. 31, 2017, as the deadline for conversion of PIO cards into OCI cards.



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