Citizenship and related issues

Date: January 19, 2015



Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law of a state that gives the person (called a citizen), the rights and the duties of citizenship. the Indian Constotution provides citizenship under followinfg articles-

 Art.5  Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution..
 Art.8 Rights of citizenship of certain persons of Indian origin residing outside India.
 Art 9 Persons voluntarily acquiring citizenship of a foreign State not to be citizens.
 Art.10 Continuance of the rights of citizenship.
 Art.11 Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law.

NRI: (Non-resident Indians) – are Indian citizens who live in another country. NRI  is a citizen of India who holds an Indian passport and has temporarily emigrated to another country for six months or more for employment, residence, education or any other purpose. An Indian citizen residing out side India for a combine of total of at least 183 days in a financial year (April 1 to march 31)

PIOs: – (Persons of Indian Origin) - are non-Indian citizens who have a 15 year visa to live and work in India with some restrictions. PIO is a person of Indian origin or ancestry who was or whose ancestors were born in India or other states but have Indian ancestry but is not a citizen of India and is the citizen of another country. A PIO might have been a citizen of India and subsequently taken the citizenship of another country. Persons of Indian origin (PIO) scheme was launched in 1999.

OCIs: (Overseas citizen of India) – are non-Indian citizens who have a lifelong visa to live and work in India with fewer restrictions.

Features and Conditions for PIO card

PIO card was issued to any person currently holding foreign passport, who can prove their Indian origin up to three generations before
PIO cards are issued to individuals who are either citizens or naturalized citizens of a country , but are of Indian origin, through their parents.
Citizens of Pakistan , Bangladesh & other countries as may be specified by the central government are not eligible for grant of PIO card.
The PIO card must be produced alongside the foreign passport when entering or departing any port in India.

In 2011, pravasi Bharatiya Divas , government announced rules that allow non-resident Indians to vote in elections in India.

Who can get PIO Status ?

A person who used to be on Indian citizen
A person whose parents , grand parents , Great- grand parents were Indian citizens. (However , no parent, grandparent or great grand parent should be a citizen of Afghanistan , Pakistan, Bangladesh , china (or) Srilanka )
A person who is married to an Indian citizen or an existing PIO.

Benefits of becoming an PIO

PIO cardholder get a 15 year , multiple entry visa to India
PIO cardholder can open a special bank account like a NRI
PIO cardholders do not need a student visa to study in India
PIO card holders get the same economic , financial and educational benefits as NRI
PIO cardholder do not need a student visa to study in India
PIO cardholders get the same economic , financial and educational benefits as NRI
PIO cardholders eventually become a citizen of India after living in India for seven years
PIO cardholders do not need an employment visa to get a job

Drawbacks of PIO card:

PIB cardholders have to register with the local police station (FRRO) if they stay for over 180 days at a time
PIO cardholders cannot purchase agricultural land or farm houses.
PIO cardholders cannot vote.
PIO cardholders cannot hold a government job
PIO cardholders may not be elected to a political position


An overseas citizen of Indian is a life time Visa status.

Eligibility to get OCI status :

A person who used to be an Indian citizen
A person with at least one parent or grandparent who is/was an Indian citizen
Who cannot get OCI status :

Anyone who was ever a citizen of Pakistan (or) Bangladesh
Anyone whose parents (or) grandparents were citizens of Afghanistan , Pakistan , Bangladesh , china (or) Srilanka.
Anyone who served in a foreign military (or) worked in a foreign defense department
Benefits of being an OCI cardholders :

All the same as the PIO +
OCI cardholders get a lifelong multiple entry visa to India
OCI cardholders never have to report to local police (FRRO) regardless of the length of their stay.
OCI cardholders eventually become a citizen of India if they remain an OCI for 5 years & live in India for at least 1 year.

Drawbacks of being an OCI cardholder

Same as PIO (Except without the FRRO restriction)


Citizenship (Amendment ) act 2014- It aims to remove certain lacunae noticed during implementation of the 1955 act & review of provisions related to overseas citizens.PIO cardholders get lifetime visas (earlier 15 years visa). It will merg PIO & OCI schemes to facilitate hassle – free travel to the Indian diaspora. It also proposes New name- “Overseas Indian cardholder”Merging of two cards will facilitate travel of Indian’s staying abroad and their participation in various activities in India