Abu Dhabi: The last date of free-of-charge conversion of PIO (Person of Indian Origin) cards into OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cards is December 31, 2017.
Indian authorities have decided that there will not be any further extensions of this deadline, according to the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
All holders of PIO card travelling to India on the strength of their handwritten- PIO cards will be refused entry at the Indian immigration counters and sent back, said an embassy press release issued on Tuesday.
Therefore, the embassy urged the PIO cardholders to convert the cards into OCI cards.
Conversion of PIO card to OCI card after December 31, 2017 will attract a fee of $275 (Dh1,009.25), which is same as charged for issuance of a fresh OCI card.
As Gulf News reported earlier, the new OCI card offers a multipurpose, multiple entry, and lifelong visa allowing them to visit India at any time, for any length of time and for any purpose.
They are exempted from police reporting for any length of stay in the country. They have also been granted all rights in the economic, financial and education fields in parity with NRIs (Non-Resident Indians — Indian citizens living abroad) except the right to acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
In the past, PIOs, down to the fourth generation, were able to get a 15-year PIO card offering multiple entry visa that warranted reporting to local authorities after 180 days of continuous stay in India. India decided to issue new OCI card in early 2015.