What is the change? Authorities have announced that the deadline for Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card holders to submit applications for Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card registration, which was previously set for Sept. 30, has been extended to March 31, 2016.

What does the change mean? This new notice gives PIO card holders more time to convert to an OCI card.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: PIO and OCI cards.
  • Who is affected: PIO card holders.
  • Business impact: Policies regarding conversion of PIO cards to OCI cards may continue to change with or without notice. Thus, to avoid disruption of planned business travels, it is recommended that PIO card holders complete conversion to an OCI card.
  • Next steps: PIO card holders should submit an application to convert to an OCI card at their earliest opportunity and preferably no later than March 31, 2016.

Background: PIO cards were phased out and merged with OCI cards in January. In a previous notice, the Ministry of Home Affairs advised members of the Indian diaspora to convert their PIO cards to OCI cards by Sept. 30 by submitting an “OCI in lieu of PIO” application online.

Recently, however, the authorities have decided to extend the application deadline to March 31, 2016 to give PIO card holders more time to convert to OCI cards. The notice reiterated that applicants will be able to obtain their OCI cards from the Indian mission or Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) that has jurisdiction over their current residence.

BAL Analysis: Although Indian authorities have not explicitly made it mandatory to convert from PIO to OCI cards, PIO card holders are strongly encouraged to complete the conversion prior to the new March 31, 2016 deadline to avoid potential interruption of travel plans. Applicants should check with their local FRRO, overseas mission or consulate on specific procedures and requirements, as these may vary. BAL is closely monitoring policy changes regarding PIO card validity and will provide information as new polices are confirmed.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in India. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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