• Immigration Formalities Eased for Persons of Indian Origin
  • November 12, 2014
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cards now have lifetime validity and holders of PIO cards are now exempt from in-country immigration formalities such as police reporting and registration, according to a recent announcement by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    PIO cards issued before September 30, 2014 will automatically be deemed to have lifetime validity and confer exemptions from immigration formalities. The Ministry of Home Affairs is expected to announce whether PIO card holders will still need to update their PIO cards when they renew their passports or obtain new passports.

    PIO cards provide lifetime visa-free travel for tourism, business, and employment to eligible foreign nationals. PIO cards are available to:

    • Most foreign nationals who ever held an Indian passport (except those from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, or Sri Lanka);
    • Foreign nationals whose parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were born and permanently resided in India, as long as neither was at any time a citizen of a restricted country; and
    • The spouses of Indian nationals or a person of Indian origin.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    This change should ease the ability of foreign nationals of Indian origin to engage in business travel and work in India and should reduce costs and administrative burdens for their employers. Previously, PIOs were required to report to the police if their stays exceeded 180 days and were obligated to update residence permits with details of new passports or new residence addresses, among other burdens.