Dubai: The Consulate General of India in Dubai has urged holders of the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card to convert the card into the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card ahead of the June 30 deadline.
To accommodate applicants, the consulate said it will also accept applications every Saturday this month.
The June 30 deadline is an extension of the previous deadline of March 31. PIO cards that have not been converted to OIC will not be valid for travel to India after June 30. Instead, a visa will be required to travel to India if the passenger doesn’t have an OCI card.
There is no cost for the conversion charged to the applicant, the consulate said on Thursday.
The consulate will be open 9am to 12pm on Saturday to facilitate applicants. The consulate will hold camps on Fridays to accommodate applicants from the northern emirates
These camps are being organised in the Indian Association Sharjah from April 1 and 22, Indian Association Ajman on April 8 and 29, Indian Relief Committee in Ras Al Khaimah on April 15 and Indian Social Centre in Fujairah on April 6.
More information is available on www.passport.gov.in/oci and www.cgidubai.com.
Rahul Srivastava, Consul, Visa, Consulate-General of India, had earlier said applicants who are UAE residents should visit the consulate early to avoid any last-minute rush or delays. It takes a scheduled time of a maximum of two months for the OCI card to arrive from India, but officials have managed an average turnaround time of 30 days.
Still, applicants are advised to complete the formalities in time. After the deadline, a visa will be required to travel to India if the passenger doesn’t have an OCI card, and the applicant will be considered as applying for a fresh OCI, which normally costs Dh1,020.
Applicants whose visas are issued from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain must visit the Embassy of India in Abu Dhabi.
Documentation requirements include three latest photographs, current passport copy, a copy of the surrendered Indian passport or a copy of the surrender slip, UAE residence visa, Emirates ID, parents’ or grandparents’ passport copies, and birth certificate.
As the name suggests, a PIO card was issued to citizens of other countries who are of Indian origin up to the fourth generation. Those who obtained passports of other countries had to surrender their Indian passports. The PIO card, along with the foreign passport, allowed cardholders visa-free travel to India. The PIO card was valid for a maximum of 15 years.
In January 2015, it was announced the PIO scheme was being discontinued by the Indian government, to be replaced by the OCI scheme, which provides a lifetime visa to India. To visit India, the OCI cardholder has to carry the OCI card and the passport whose number is on the card.
Despite the name, OCI cardholders are not citizens of India and cannot vote or hold public office. However, they are entitled to a number of benefits on a par with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).