Understanding the Difference between - Person of Indian Origin & Overseas Citizen Of India

Understanding the Difference between - Person of Indian Origin & Overseas Citizen Of India

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  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 06/05/2022

Indians residing outside their origin are sometimes perplexed about which sort of card to obtain: OCI or PIO? When deciding between the two, it is critical to grasp what the acronym stands for to identify which qualification a person meets.

There are three classifications for those outsides of India: NRI, PIO, and OCI. However, "NRI," or "non-resident Indian," is rather simple to grasp due to its obvious requirements. On the other hand, the contrast between the PIO and OCI classifications is what most people find perplexing.

Initially, Indian nationals residing outside of India could apply for either a PIO (Person of Indian Origin) Card or an OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) Card. They served as a long-term travel and identification document in place of a visa. These were eventually integrated, and the Indian government urged everyone to register for an OCI. Therefore, beginning September 30, 2019, all PIOs are rendered invalid, and only OCIs will be accepted as legitimate travel documents for all Indian-origin passengers residing overseas. This is just to let you know that today it is important to know about overseas travel insurance plans.

At Tata AIG, we have travel insurance policies only for those of Indian descent or those with Residential permits/visas, PIO, or OCI cards. Only the ones mentioned are eligible for abroad travel insurance plans. You will be financially secure in an overseas place, and in case an emergency arises, the travel insurance claim process is smooth and hassle-free. So, compare travel insurance on our website and get the accurate plan for yourself.You can also get your family covered with the right family travel insurance. Now let us get straight to the point. We will give you a full but intriguing overview of these phrases. Take a look at the definitions below to understand these concepts better.

Person of Indian Origin: Meaning Explained!

As the term implies, a PIO full form is a Person of Indian Origin who is a person who has established in a foreign nation yet still wants to contribute to the homeland. Is a foreign citizen, except Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran, and China, according to the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs). A PIO is recognised by using a PIO card provided by the Government of India.

A PIO is essentially someone who meets the following criteria:

  • According to the Government of India Act of 1935, a person or his/her parents or grandparents or even great grandparents were born in India or were permanent inhabitants in the nation or any of the regions that formed a part of India.
  • Someone who has held an Indian passport at some time in their lives.
  • A person who's the husband/wife of a PIO or Indian citizen.
  • Now that you know person of Indian origin meaning and PIO full form, let us get into the benefits.

PIO Card: Benefits

The PIO Card provides several advantages to the cardholder. Here's a rundown of some of the most important advantages:

  • A PIO cardholder does not need a visa to enter India for 15 years from when the card was issued.
  • For the next 15 years, the PIO card bearer does not need a visa to enter India.
  • They are excluded from registering with FRRO (Foreign Regional Registration Offices)/FRO (Foreigners Registration Officers) if their stay does not exceed 180 days. If their stay exceeds 180 days, they need to register with FRRO/FRO within one month (30 days).
  • They have equal access to educational, economic, and financial benefits, like:
  • Admission of their children to educational institutions of India under the general quota as NRIs, including engineering and medical colleges, IITs (India Institute of Technology), and IIMs (Indian Institute of Management).
  • Taking advantage of housing plans given by different state and national government bodies and the LIC (Life Insurance Corporation of India).
  • Except for agricultural and plantation assets, holding, disposing of, transferring, and purchasing other types of immovable properties.

However, PIOs have a few restrictions, which are as follows:

  • They are not permitted to work in Government of India enterprises.
  • They are not permitted to occupy any constitutional post in the Indian government.
  • They are not allowed to buy plantation property, agricultural land, or a farmhouse.
  • They are unable to vote.
  • They must get authorisation in advance to participate in missionary activities, climbing, research jobs, or travel to restricted areas of India.

Hope we can clear the PIO meaning to you. Now let's take a look at OCI.

OCI: Meaning Explained

The distinctions between PIO and OCI are subtle. In the case of OCI the maining is Overseas Citizenship of India, the foreign citizen in question should have been either eligible to be an Indian national on 26th January 1950 or a citizen at any point after that particular date, or they must have belonged to a region that became a part of India on 15th August 1947 to register as OCI (Overseas Citizen of India).

There is, however, a caveat to this, which specifies that any nationals of either Pakistan or Bangladesh are eligible to register themselves as Overseas Citizens of India at any time.

Now that you know the OCI full form and meaning lets get into the details of validity and renewal.

OCI Card Validity and Renewal

When carried in conjunction with a valid foreign passport, the OCI card works as a VISA to enter India for any reason many times with life-long validity. Though the OCI card is supposed to be valid for life, it must be renewed when the OCI cardholder's foreign passport expires when the OCI cardholder reaches the age of 20; and when the OCI cardholder reaches the age of 50. The processing time for renewing the OCI card will be between 10 and 12 weeks.

However, they are not obligated to report to the police throughout their stay in the country. They have the same economic, financial, and educational benefits as NRIs, except for acquiring agricultural or plantation properties.

Advantages of Having an OCI Card

The following are the advantages of having an OCI card:

  • Multiple entries for lifelong visits to India for a variety of causes.
  • Even after 180 days of continuous residence, you do not need to register with FRRO or local police authorities.
  • You have the same rights as Indian citizens to work and study in India.
  • Special immigration checkpoints at all international airports.
  • Educational/economic/financial gains are comparable to those enjoyed by NRIs.
  • Parity with resident Indians in costs for domestic flights, national parks, museums, wildlife sanctuaries, historical institutions, etc.

Compared to the services available to Indian residents, the constraints of an OCI cardholder are minimal. If you have an OCI card, your limits are as follows:

  • It is not possible to acquire agricultural land.
  • You are not permitted to work for the government. (However, you may work for a private company without restrictions).
  • You are not allowed to vote or hold government posts.
  • You must obtain specific clearance from the FRRO/Indian Mission/Post to do research in India.


To put it simply, PIO includes self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and spouse, whereas OCI includes only self, parents, and grandparents. The OCI has no stated restriction on the number of days one may stay in the country, but the PIO necessitates alerting officials after 180 days. PIO has a 15-year lifespan, but OCI has an infinite lifespan.

This has given you a better grasp of OCI versus PIO. However, the PIO card is no longer usable. So, those residing outside of India will need to apply for an OCI card. Moreover, you can compare travel insurance plans online at Tata AIG’s official website to get the best policy for yourself.

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