When the first time my friend asked me about NRI, PIO and OCI, I was blank! I was clueless what this acronym means and what are its importance. I had several questions in my mind; the meaning, significance and difference between these three terms etc. After some in-depth study and research, I have understood these terms.
I am presenting here, the shorter yet an interesting summary of these terms! Take a look below to understand what these terms mean:
NRI, PIO & OCI: What do these means?
Before understanding anything it is vital to know what each acronym stands for. NRI means Non-Resident Indian, PIO stands for Person of Indian Origin and OCI signifies Overseas Citizen of India. PIO citizens are those whose any of the ancestors was a permanent Indian resident and who is currently holding a valid citizenship of another country.
A person registered as the citizen of India but a resident of a foreign country is an OCI citizen.
There is a slight difference between these two terms; still there exists a discreet difference between the two. Take a closer look below:
The difference between PIO and OCI
When talking about the differences between the two, let’s begin with the privileges. A PIO card allows visa-free travel from and to India to the person holding a valid card. A PIO card is considered valid only if you hold a valid passport. In simple terms, your PIO card is useless without a valid passport. On the contrary, an OCI card allows lifetime visa-free traveling to and from India.
The Drawback of PIO card
A PIO card is valid only for 15 years. Additionally, if you feel your purpose behind visiting India isn’t fulfilled and it will extend beyond 180 days, you will need to register within 30 days of the expiry of 180 days with the concerned foreign authority i.e. FRRO (Foreign Regional Registration Offices).
Win Win Situation for OCI card holders
Unlike PIO card, an OCI card does not require the holder to register with any authority/official (FRRO or local police), incase of their extended stay.
The Eligibility Criteria for PIO and OCI
A person, who at anytime held an Indian passport or whose parents, grandparents, great grandparents or ancestors was born in India and were/are permanent residents of India and other territories that became part of India as prescribed in the Government of India Act, 1935, is eligible for holding a PIO/OCI card. However, a person isn’t entitled to apply for any of these cards, if their ancestors at anytime was a citizen on Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and others as specified by the act/rules laid by the Government of India.
Despite this similarity, there exists a huge difference between the eligibility criteria of PIO and OCI card. Read on:
The difference in the eligibility criteria
The PIO scheme covers up to four generations and also the foreign spouse of the Indian citizen of PIO/OCI card holder. However, for OCI card, it mandates the person to be eligible in their own capacity. In simple terms, a foreign national who isn’t eligible to apply for an OCI card, will not get an OCI card even if married to a person who is a holder of the valid OCI card. However, their children are eligible to hold an OCI card.
Do a PIO, NRI or OCI card holder has to pay taxes in India?
Yes, but only for the income earned in India. The PIO/OCI card holder is not liable to pay or declare any tax for the income earned abroad. Only income earned in India is subject to taxes.
Advantages of the PIO and OCI Card: At a Glance
o Multiple Purpose life long visa to visit India
o Registration with FRRO not required if your stay extends
o At Par with NRI in all fields, expect purchase of the agricultural property
o The holder of a PIO card does not require a separate visa to visit India
o The holder does not need separate ‘student’ visa for education or ‘employment’ visa to work in India
If you are looking forward to apply for a PIO or OCI card, enlighten your mind with this information and apply for the card.
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