Can I travel to India with an expired PIO card?

No. You cannot travel to India with an expired PIO card. Until at least December 31, 2023, foreign nationals can still utilize their PIO cards, valid as of January 9, 2015, in conjunction with a valid foreign passport as acceptable travel documents. Once issued with a PIO Card, cardholders are exempt from a visa to visit India for a duration of up to 15 years.

However, the PIO card holders (handwritten and machine-readable) must convert their PIO cards to OCI cards before the December 31 deadline. If you possess a valid OCI card, you can travel to India with it, even if your previous PIO card has expired. The OCI card is the preferred and valid document for overseas citizens of Indian origin to travel to India and enjoy certain benefits. 

The distinction between the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) lies in their respective definitions and privileges. 

  • The OCI is an immigration status that permits foreign citizens of Indian origin to reside, study, or work in India without any specific restrictions on the duration of their stay. OCI cardholders can freely visit India anytime and stay for any desired period. 

  • On the other hand, PIO refers to foreign citizens who either hold an Indian Passport at any point in time or have their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents who were citizens of India. 

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