India’s High Commission in Ottawa, Canada issued an advisory for PIO Card holders on Friday, stating that India has extended the validity of the PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) card until December 31, 2023, from the end of 2022.
According to the advisory, the extended validity is applicable for both handwritten and printed PIO cards. Furthermore, the advisory also stated that the extension of the timeline for the use of PIO cards is conditional on the ICAO issuing a deadline for the use of PIO cards, PIO cardholders may be required to obtain an appropriate visa from Indian Missions/Post.
Below is the complete advisory
PIO Card Validity Extended up to December 31, 2023
1. Indian Immigration will accept all Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards (including handwritten ones), along with a valid foreign passport, as a valid travel document till December 31, 2023, instead of the earlier deadline of December 31, 2022.
2. Indian Immigration Check Post(s) will continue to consider all PIO cards (which were valid as on January 9, 2015) valid for exit from/entry into India till December 31, 2023. This extension of the timeline is subject to the condition that if in the meantime, any deadline is notified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) thereby making handwritten PIO cards invalid, then PIO cardholders may have to obtain an appropriate visa from Indian Missions/Post.
3. All PIO cardholders (handwritten and machine-readable) are meanwhile advised to convert their PIO card to OCI card before this deadline.
4. It is informed that M/s BLS International Services Ltd is the Outsourcing Service Provider of OCI Services, including PIO to OCI conversion, for the High Commission of India, Ottawa and its Consulates in Toronto and Vancouver.
BLS International Services Ltd, Ottawa helpline number for Consular Services (PIO, OCI and Renunciation): 613-7552072.
What is PIO Card?
PIO cards, or Persons of Indian Origin cards, are issued to individuals who are not citizens of India but have previously been citizens of India, or who are the spouse of a citizen of India. Holders of the PIO card can apply for long-term visas, exemption from reporting to the police while in India, and the ability to purchase certain types of property in India.
It is important to note that the Indian government merged the PIO and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) categories in 2015, and individuals who were previously designated as PIOs are now OCIs.