Difference Between OCI and PIO Indians living outside their home country are often unsure on which card to…

Difference Between OCI and PIO

Indians living outside their home country are often unsure on which card to choose: PRO or OCI. While choosing between them, it is very important to understand what the acronym stands for and under which category a person falls into.

There are three differences that are in use for people who live outside India: PIO, NRI, and OCI. “NRI” is “non-resident Indian” which is pretty easy to understand because it is self-explanatory. The majority of people confuse the difference between OCI and PIO labels.

OCI and PIO are available for people who have Indian passports, or had great grandparents, parents, grandparents who are born and lived in the country. People who come from countries that later became part of India are also eligible for the PIO and OCI cards.

A person is eligible for PIO if he or she is of Indian origin, a citizen of another country and have parents, grandparents or great grandparents who were born and lived in India. The foreign spouse of an Indian citizen is also eligible for a PIO.

OCI expands the segment as till grandparents. A foreign wife/husband is not included in eligibility.

OCI and PIO cards

OCI card holders have access to more perks. A PIO owner can travel India without visa.

OCI and PIO holders can open bank accounts in India, Lane money or make investments throughout the country. If a PIO card holder wants to become Indian citizen then he needs to wait five years and must live in the country for one year minimum.

PIO and OCI basically provide the same advantages and limitations of the holders, but there are fundamental differences. A person applying for PIO or OCI must consider his future plans for the stay as well as his eligibility


1. PIO covers parents, grandparents and spouses, while OCI is covering only parents and grandparents.

2 OCI has no restrictions on the days of stay in the country, while PIO you need to communicate with supervisors for 180 days of life in the country.

3 PIO are given in 15 years, the OCI for life.


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