Shahana Bagban of the office of the Consulate General of India in New York, speaking on behalf of the consulate, has advised Indian American holders of Person of Indian Origin cards to "urgently convert" their cards into Overseas Citizenship of India cards.
Current PIO card holders have until June 30 to convert the card into an OCI card holder, the consulate reminded.
The Center had extended by six months the last date for applying for conversion of the PIO cards to OCI cards to June 30, 2017 from Dec. 31, 2016. This was for the third time the date for the conversion had been extended since March 31, 2016.
The PIO card was first implemented in 2002 as a benefit to foreign nationals who could establish at least a third generation tie to an Indian origin individual. 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in 2014 that the PIO and OCI cards will be merged and the Indian diaspora will be given maximum possible benefits. Simultaneous existence of PIO and OCI cards led to confusion among People of Indian Origin residing abroad, officials said.
Applications for the conversion can be made to Cox and Kings Global Services at https://www.in.ckgs.us.
(With PTI reports)