"A PIO card issued to an applicant shall be valid for his life time from the date of its issue provided that such applicant has a valid passport," the gazette notification issued by the Home Ministry said. The notification made it clear that a PIO card which has been issued prior to the date of publication of the notification (September 30, 2014), shall be deemed to be valid for life time of its holder subject to the condition that such person has a valid passport.
Earlier, Persons of Indian Origin had PIO cards with only 15 years validity for visa-free entry to India and they had to extend it for 10 years at a time if desired. Besides, earlier a PIO card holder was required to register himself or herself with the concerned Foreigners Regional Registration Officer / Foreigners Registration Officer (FRRO/FRO) concerned if he or she stays more than 180 days in India.
Modi had announced in the New York gathering that this clause too would be waived. PIO Card Scheme for people of Indian origin having foreign passport was introduced by the Government on March, 30, 1999. A total 52,264 persons, till 2010 have obtained PIO cards. PIO is granted to foreigners married to Indian citizens, a person whose parents/grandparents/great grandparents are or had been of Indian origin and minors whose parents are Indian citizens or one parent is an Indian citizen and the other is not.
PIO card is not allowed to nationals of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and China. The Prime Minister on Sunday had announced at the Madison Square Garden in New York that Persons of Indian Origin cardholders will get lifetime Indian visa.