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Thursday, April 25 2024
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UAE: PIO cards to be invalid for travelling to India after March 31

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Dubai: It has been announced by the Consulate General of India (CGI) in Dubai that Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card will not be valid for travel to India after March 31 and has urged all holders of the PIO card to apply for conversion to Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card before the deadline.  

Rahul Srivastava, Consul, Visa, CGI, has said that applicants who are UAE residents should visit the consulate early to avoid any last-minute rush or delays.

It takes a scheduled time of a maximum of two months for the OCI card to arrive from India, but officials have managed an average turnaround time of 30 days. However, applicants are advised to complete the formalities in time.

After the deadline, a visa will be required to travel to India if the passenger doesn’t have an OCI card, and the applicant will be considered as applying for a fresh OCI, which normally costs Dh1,020.

It has been informed that there will be no fee charged to convert a PIO card into an OCI card, only a Dh6 Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) fee is charged in such cases.

Applicants whose visas are issued from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain must visit the Embassy of India in Abu Dhabi. For those who visas are issued from any other emirate, they can visit the consulate in Dubai.

The PIO card, along with the foreign passport, allowed cardholders visa-free travel to India. The PIO card was valid for a maximum of 15 years.

In January 2015, it was announced the PIO scheme was being discontinued by the Indian government, to be replaced by the OCI scheme, which provides a lifetime visa to India.

To visit India, the OCI cardholder has to carry the OCI card and the passport whose number is on the card.

Despite the name, OCI cardholders are not citizens of India and cannot vote or hold public office. However, they are entitled to a number of benefits on a par with Non Resident Indians (NRIs).

 

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