India PIO OCI
Indian immigration based upon familial ties to the country is possible through two routes, the PIO visa scheme (Person of Indian Origin) and the Overseas Citizenship of India scheme (OCI). Both schemes are based upon Indian ancestry and provide long term immigration services for India.
Global Visas are equipped to help you obtain either a PIO card or Overseas Citizenship of India. Visit our online assessment area today to begin your application.
The Indian PIO Scheme (Person of Indian Origin)
This long term visa service, in use since 1999 applies to anyone who was born in India, is the grandchild or great grandchild of an Indian born person currently residing in India, or has ever held an Indian passport. The spouse of a person who meets any of these qualifying criteria is also eligible to apply for the PIO scheme. The PIO visa scheme is essentially a grant or permanent residence in India, granting the holder many, though not all of the rights and privileges enjoyed by Indian citizens. Although it is not granted for life, the initial grant is for 15 years and after seven years of ordinarily residing in India under the PIO scheme a candidate may apply for Indian citizenship.
Although the Overseas Citizenship of India scheme, explored below, is granted for life, one of the key advantages of the PIO is that it applies equally to an applicant’s spouse whereas the OCI does not. The PIO is also generally much quicker to process although processing times will vary according to the applicant's country of residence. Both long term Indian immigration schemes remove the need for candidates to apply for any other type of Indian visa. Successful applicants may study in India without the need to apply for a study visa, and they may live and work in India as they choose, without the need to obtain an Indian work permit. The requirement for temporary visa holders to register their presence with the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer / Foreigners Registration Officer (FRRO/FRO) is also removed for visits of less than 180 days.
The Overseas Citizenship of India scheme (OCI)
The Overseas Citizenship of India scheme or OCI is a long term Indian immigration service which allows people of Indian origin who are living abroad as citizens of another country to obtain long term leave to stay in India. This route is often erroneously referred to as Indian Dual Citizenship. Although the OCI is designed to allow foreign citizens of Indian origin to gain many of the rights afforded to Indian citizens, India does not support dual citizenship. For dual citizenship to function both countries concerned must support it. Since India does not, OCI should not be viewed as a full grant of Indian citizenship, and although OCI visa holders may ultimately apply for full citizenship, to do so they must surrender their citizenship of any other nation.
The key benefit of the OCI scheme is that unlike the PIO card, it is granted for life, and holders do not have to register their presence with the Indian Police Authorities at all. An OCI holder may study in India and continue living and working in India unhindered for life. After five years, rather than the seven years associated with the PIO, applicants may apply for a full grant of Indian citizenship. However it is important to note that like the PIO card, an OCI holder does not have the right to vote or take up employment in the Indian government.
Applying for OCI – Eligibility Requirements
The OCI scheme applies to anyone who was either born in India, an Indian citizen, or eligible for a grant of citizenship after January 26th 1950. If a candidate has a grandparent who matches these requirements they will also be able to qualify. However, candidates who have at any time been a citizen of either Bangladesh or Pakistan are not permitted to apply.
Spouse Immigration and Dependent Immigration
The OCI scheme does not apply to the spouse of the principle applicant and all applicant musts qualify individually.
Visit the Global Visas online assessment area now to get started on your application. Our assessment forms take moments to complete, and a specialist Indian immigration consultant will respond to your enquiry.