What is the difference between NRI, PIO and OCI?

Before going into the detail;

The full form of NRI is Non-Resident Indian

The full form of PIO is Person of Indian Origin

And the full form of OCI is Overseas Citizen of India.

What is NRI?

NRI is given to provide a residential status to a citizen of India with an Indian Passport who resides in a foreign country for the purpose of work/business, or education.

What is PIO?

It is basically an identification status that is provided to whom or whose any of the ancestors was a permanent Indian resident or citizen. Also, who is currently holding valid citizenship and passport of another country.

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What is OCI?

OCI is an immigration status which is provided to a foreign citizen of Indian origin as an alternative for dual citizenship which is not allowed by the Indian Constitution.

PIO and OCI definition appears to be same but there is a difference. And to understand it better, have a look into the details shown in the table below in the form of comparison.

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Comparison between Non-Resident Indians (NRI), Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cardholder:

Topic NRI PIO OCI
Who? An Indian citizen who is ordinarily residing outside India and holds an Indian Passport. A person who or whose any of ancestors was an

Indian national and who is presently holding another country’s citizenship/nationality i.e. he/she is holding foreign passport.

A person registered as Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Cardholder under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Who is

Eligible?

    I. Who was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after the commencement of the Constitution i.e. , 26/01/1950; or

II. who was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26/01/1950; or

III. who belonged to a territory that

became part of India after 15/08/1947; or

IV. who is a child or a grandchild or a great grandchild of such a citizen; or

V. who is a minor child of such persons mentioned above; or

VI. who is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen of India; or

VII. spouse of foreign origin of a citizen of India or spouse of foreign origin of an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder registered under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and whose marriage has been registered and subsisted for a continuous period of not less than two years immediately receding the presentation of the application.

 

Note : No person, who or either of whose parents or grandparents or great grandparents is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh

or such other country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, shall be eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder.

How can one get?     Eligible persons to apply online. On passport.gov.in
Where to apply?     The applicants have to submit the application form online and upload all the requisite documents (self-attested), photograph and signature (in the case of minors who cannot sign, left-hand thumb impression) along with the application. After  submission of the complete

application online including documents, photograph and signature, the original of the supporting documents have to be submitted to the Indian Mission/

Post/ FRRO concerned for prior verification.

Fees?     I. in case of application submitted in Indian Mission/ Post abroad -US $ 275 or equivalent in local currency.

II.  in case of application submitted

in India – Rs.15,000/-

Which nationals

Are ineligible?

    No person, who or either of whose

parents or grandparents or great grandparents is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify, shall be eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India cardholder

What benefits one is entitled to? All benefits as available to Indian citizens subject to notifications issued by the Government from time to time. No specific benefits I. Multiple entry lifelong visa for visiting India for any purpose (However OCI Cardholders will require special permission to undertake research work in India for which they may submit the application to the Indian Mission/ Post/ FRRO concerned).

II. Exemption from registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) for any length of stay in India.

III. Parity with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of all facilities available to them in economic, financial, and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

IV. Registered Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder shall be treated at par with Non-Resident Indians in the matter of inter-country adoption of Indian children.

V.  Registered Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder shall be treated at par with resident Indian nationals in the matter of tariffs in airfares in domestic sectors in India.

VI. Registered Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder shall be charged the same entry fee as domestic Indian visitors to visit national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India.

VII. Parity with NRI in respect of:-

(A) entry fees to be charged for visiting the national monuments, historical sites

and museums in India;

(B) pursuing the following professions in India, in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant Acts, namely:- (a) doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists; (b) advocates (c) architects (d) chartered accountants.

(C) to appear for the All India Pre-Medical Test or such other tests to make them eligible for admission in pursuance of the provisions contained in the relevant Acts.

VIII. State Governments should ensure that the OCI Cardholder registration booklets of OCI Cardholders are treated as their identification for any services rendered to them. In case proof of residence is required, Overseas Citizens of India Cardholder may give an affidavit attested by a notary public stating that a particular/specific address may be treated as their place of residence in India and may also in their affidavit give their overseas residential address as well as e-mail address, if any.

Any other benefits to an OCI Cardholder will be notified by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) under section 7B (1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Does

he/she

require visa for visiting

India?

No Yes Can visit India without visa for life long.
Is he/she

required to register

with the local police authorities in India?

No Yes if the period

of stay is for more

than 180 days

No
What activities

can be undertaken

in India?

All activities Activity as per the

type of visa obtained

All activities except research work for which special permission is required from the Indian Mission/Post/FRRO concerned.
How can one acquire

Indian citizenship?

He/she is an Indian citizen As per section 5(1)(a) & 5(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, he/she has to be ordinarily resident in India for a period of 7 years before making an application for registration. As per section 5(1)(g) of the Citizenship Act,1955, a person registered as an OCI cardholder for 5 years and who is ordinarily resident in India for twelve months before making an application for registration is eligible for grant of Indian citizenship.

Central Government, if it is satisfied that special circumstances exist, may after recording the circumstances in writing, relax the period of twelve months, up to a maximum of thirty days which may be in different breaks.

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