The last day for applying for the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card free of charge is Dec. 31, 2017 and the deadline will not be extended, Indian embassies worldwide said on Nov. 21. After Dec. 31, PIO card holders can convert their cards to OCI cards only with payment of $275.
“PIO card holders won’t be able to use their cards after deadline if they don’t convert it to OCI cards,” the embassies said, announcing the decision of the government of India.
“As per the International Civil Aviation Organisation rules/guidelines, passengers can now travel only with machine readable travel documents. Therefore, the PIO cards, most of which are hand-written, are being currently converted to OCI cards without any extra fee till 31st December, 2017,” the notification said.
OCI cards will be valid for lifetime as opposed to PIO cards, which were valid only for 15 years. The individuals with OCI cards will be able to buy residential and commercial property in India but not agricultural land.
“They can also travel to India without any restriction and the requirement of registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) if their stay is more than six months has also been done away with,” the notification said.
In June 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented his Indian-origin Portuguese counterpoint an OCI card to show its commitment towards better bilateral relations.