By Balagopal Kent
LONDON Dec 28: With the deadline for the last date for conversion of PIO cards to OCI cards coming up on 31 December 2016, there was still no clarity on whether one will be able to travel to India using the old PIO card or not until December 26, 2016.
The Government of India has in the past changed the deadline set for those holding valid PIO cards to get OCI in lieu of PIO for free from June 30, 2016 to December 31, 2016. According to reports there are several Indians who still hold the old PIO card and have not yet converted their PIO to OCI.
The good news is now that the India government has extended for six months the last date for applying for conversion of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards to Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards to June 30, 2017 from December 31, 2016.
An official notification issued by the Government of India on December 26 read: "It has been decided, with the approval of the competent authority, to extend the date for submission of the application for registration as OCI card holder by the erstwhile PIO cardholders till June 30, 2017. This was for the third time the date for conversion of PIO cards to OCI cards has been extended since March 31, 2016.
This website contacted the Indian High Commission in London and this is the reply received on December 27, 2016. "Since we have not received any information yet as to whether or not PIO will be valid for travel to India after 31.12.2016, the best advice is to convert the PIO into OCI and then travel to India with OCI", said a response to our email query.
However, it has come to a relief to those who have not yet converted the PIO to OCI and its better done immediately as its highly unlikely the government of India would extend the deadline again.