Visa will be needed to travel back to India if you have not obtained OCI card after March 31


Many Indians work in the gulf countries, Most of the Indian holds the PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) cards and the Consulate General of India situated in Dubai had instructed them to convert their PIO cards into OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) before March 31, 2016, to avoid being barred from entering India without the valid Visa. If you are also residing in UAE and having opted for the PIO card then you must read this.

According to the news published in the Gulf News  all the PIO card holders resigning in UAE have been instructed to obtain the OCI cards on or before 31st March 2016 to be able to enter India without the need for the visa. Those who do not convert their PIO card to OCI  will need the visa to enter India after March 31, 2016. The Consulate General of India has advised all the Indians to do the needful before the due date to avoid any hassle in the future.

According to Rahul Srivastava, counsel, visa, CGI, all the Indian applicants who have opted for the UAE citizenship should visit the consulate as soon as possible to avoid any last moment disappointment, rush or delays. According to him it takes around two months for the OCI cards to arrive from India, but officials have assured the turnaround time of 30 days.

Despite everything in place, the applicants are advised to complete the formalities in the time since after the deadline is over, every applicant who did not get OCI will have to travel to India only on visa and the same applicant will be considered as applying for a fresh OCI that will cost Dh 1020. Presently there are no costs involved in converting PIO to OCI; although applicants may have to pay Dh6 towards the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) fee in every case.

Applicants whose visas are issued from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain must visit the Embassy of India in Abu Dhabi. For those who visas are issued from any other emirate, they can visit the consulate in Dubai. Around 10 to 20 applicants from Dubai and the northern emirates, mostly nationals of Western countries, visit the consulate to seek their OCI cards. 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 that 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 card holder 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).


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