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OCI vs PIO Cards in India: What You Need to Know About Their Game-Changing Differences!

OCI vs PIO Cards in India: What You Need to Know About Their Game-Changing Differences!

Are you an Indian-origin individual living overseas? If so, chances are you’ve encountered the terms PIO and OCI. These cards come with various perks, but deciphering the differences between them can be confusing. This article will demystify PIO and OCI cards, highlight their distinctions, and explain why they are important. Additionally, we’ll touch on how a personal or travel loan can facilitate your visit to India.

Whether you’re planning a trip or simply seeking to understand your options better, this guide has you covered. Let’s dive into the world of PIO and OCI cards!

Understanding PIO and OCI Cards

For Indians living abroad, knowing the difference between PIO and OCI cards is crucial. This understanding will help you select the appropriate card for your needs. Although both cards provide valuable benefits, they cater to different circumstances.

Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)

OCI status allows foreign citizens of Indian origin to live, study, or work in India. OCI cardholders can visit India without any visa restrictions, making it a flexible option for long-term stays.

Person of Indian Origin (PIO)

A PIO card applies to foreign citizens who either once held an Indian passport or have ancestors who were Indian citizens. Grasping what a PIO card entails will help you distinguish it from an OCI card.

Comparing OCI and PIO Cards

Understanding the nuances between PIO and OCI cards is essential for making an informed choice. Both cards offer significant benefits for Indian-origin individuals residing abroad.

Basic Details

Parameter OCI PIO
Eligibility Foreign citizens of Indian origin Foreign citizens who held an Indian passport or have Indian ancestry
Visa Requirement No visa required No visa required

Application Process

Parameter OCI PIO
Where to Apply CKGS Application Center CKGS Application Center
Processing Time 8-10 weeks 4-6 weeks
Documentation 4 passport photos, Previous Indian passport, Birth certificate, Proof of current citizenship, Proof of relationship if applicable Original or expired passport, Birth certificate, Nationality certificate, School/college certificates, Parents’ passports

Validity and Renewal

Parameter OCI PIO
Visa Validity Lifelong validity Valid for 15 years
Stay Duration No restriction Must register after 180 days
Re-issuance Every 5 years for minors, one-time re-issuance for adults over 50, Not needed for adults 21-49 Every 15 years


Parameter OCI PIO
Registration Requirement Not required Required after 180 days
Economic/Educational Benefits Same as Indian citizens Same as Indian citizens
Visa Requirement No visa required No visa required for 15 years


Parameter OCI PIO
Fees ₹1,400 for re-issuance, ₹5,500 for duplicate issuance ₹15,000 for adults, ₹7,500 for children under 18

Interchanging Status

Parameter OCI PIO
Change Status OCI card holders generally do not change to PIO status PIO cardholders can surrender their PIO card for an OCI card

Critical Differences for Living in India

When living in India, here are the key aspects of OCI and PIO cards that may affect daily life:

Financial and Economic Rights

Both cardholders can obtain a driver’s licence, PAN card, open bank accounts, and invest in India, with the caveat that investment in agricultural properties is restricted.

Employment Options

OCI cardholders can settle permanently without needing an employment visa, facing no employment restrictions except in special permit sectors. PIO cardholders also do not require an employment visa but must register with the nearest FRO office after 180 days.

Education Rights

Both OCI and PIO cardholders can enrol their children in educational institutions under the NRI quota without needing an education visa.

Tax Liabilities

Income earned in India by both OCI and PIO cardholders is taxable, depending on RNOR or ROR status. Selling immovable property earns taxable profits.

Acquisition of Indian Citizenship

OCI cardholders are eligible for Indian citizenship after five years of registration, provided they have stayed in India for one year before applying. PIO cardholders must reside in India for at least seven years and surrender their current citizenship, as dual citizenship is not allowed in India.


Both OCI and PIO cardholders cannot:

  1. Vote or own agricultural property.
  2. Hold constitutional positions such as MP, President, or judge.
  3. Enter protected areas or engage in missionary work and research without special permits.

Choosing between an OCI or PIO card is essential as the PIO card is valid only until December 31, 2024. Individuals must apply for an OCI card thereafter.

Ready to Choose the Right Card?

Selecting between an OCI and a PIO card can be daunting, especially when trying to align with your plans involving India, whether for work, travel, or study. An understanding of the benefits and requirements of each card is fundamental to making the right choice.

For Indian citizens who need financial support for their travels, KreditBee offers easy and accessible personal loans. Our online services provide loans ranging from ₹3,000 to ₹5 Lakhs with minimal paperwork. Whether your journey is domestic or international, KreditBee can make it seamless.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are PIO and NRI the same or different?
    • NRIs are Indian citizens living abroad, while PIOs have Indian ancestry but foreign citizenship.
  2. Is PIO still valid in India?
    • Yes, PIO cards are valid until December 31, 2024.
  3. Is a PIO card dual citizenship?
    • Yes, but only if the local laws of at least one country allow dual citizenship.
  4. Can PIO apply for Aadhaar?
    • PIO cardholders can apply for Aadhaar if they stay in India for over 182 days in the preceding 12 months.
  5. How long must I stay in India to become a permanent citizen?
    • PIO cardholders must stay for seven years, and OCI cardholders must remain for one year before applying.
  6. Are PIO and OCI cardholders liable to be taxed?
    • Yes, both are subject to taxation.
  7. Do OCI and PIO cardholders require an education visa to enrol their kids in Indian academic institutes?
    • No, they do not need an education visa; their kids can enrol under the NRI quota.

About CreditBee

CreditBee, a leader in the Fintech industry, aims to simplify financial complexities for you. Our blog provides valuable insights to help you manage your finances effectively.

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