People of Indian origin living in Oman can apply for Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards until December 31 without free of charge, the Indian Embassy in Muscat said on Monday. “Deadline for free conversion of Persons of Indian Origin Card (PIO Card) to Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards is set to expire on 31st December 2017. “Post December, PIO card holders can convert their cards to OCI cards only with payment of USD275.00. PIO card holders won’t be able to use their cards after deadline if they don’t convert it to OCI cards,” the Indian Embassy of Muscat said. This comes after the Government of India has announced that the PIO cards can be converted to OCI cards without any additional charge only till 31st December, 2017.
“As per the International Civil Aviation Organisation rules/guidelines, passengers can now travel only with machine readable travel documents. “Therefore, the PIO cards, most of which are hand-written, are being currently converted to OCI cards without any extra fee till 31st December, 2017,” the Embassy of India said. There are many benefits of converting PIO cards into OCI cards. “It may be noted that the Government has extended the validity of OCI cards for life time as against PIO cards which were valid for 15 years only. “The OCI card holders can also buy residential/commercial property in India except for agricultural/farming land.
“They can also travel to India without any restriction and the requirement of registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) if their stay is more than six months has also been done away with,” the Embassy of India in Muscat further said.