The Consulate General of India has announced that the deadline for conversion of PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) cards to OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) cards has now been extended to June 30, 2016. Announcing the decision, the External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson tweeted, "And some good news for Diaspora on PIO/OCI Merger: The last date for applying for conversion of PIO Cards to OCI Cards is now 30 June, 2016".
The PIO card was valid for travel, work, and residence in India for a period of 15 years. The OCI card was implemented in 2005, carried more expansive benefits than the PIO card, and was valid for the holder's lifetime. However, in 2014, the government decided to merge the two schemes for the benefit of NRIs.
The Consulate circular said special camps will be held across the Emirates to make the conversion more convenient, also adding that the conversion of PIO to OCI is free of charge, with a service charge of Dh6 per card. People can also approach the respective associations for more information.
Various documents will need to accompany the application, details of which are also available online and from the associations and the related authorities.