What is the change? The Indian government has extended the deadline for Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders to convert to Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards. The new deadline is March 31, 2020.

What does the change mean? PIO cardholders now have until March 31, 2020 to convert their PIO cards to OCI cards.

  • Implementation time frame: Between now and March 31.
  • Visas/permits affected: PIO and OCI cards.
  • Who is affected: PIO cardholders.

Background: The Indian government merged the PIO and OCI schemes in 2015. The government considers all PIO cardholders to be OCI cardholders, but PIO cardholders have been advised to convert their PIO cards to machine-readable OCI cards. The government has extended the deadline for converting PIO cards a number of times and has now given PIO cardholders a deadline of March 31, 2020.

Analysis & Comments: PIO cardholders are advised to apply for machine-readable OCI cards as soon as possible and no later than March 31, 2020. Immigration checkpoints continue to accept PIO cards for now, but after March 31, 2020 handwritten PIO cards will become invalid and cardholders who have not obtained an OCI card may need to obtain a visa or exit permit to travel into or out of India.

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