Persons of Indian origin (PIOs) will get life-long visa to visit India and they will also be exempted from reporting to the police during continued stay in the country, the home ministry said in a notification issued today.
The ministry notification comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the easing of visa norms for PIOs at the Madison Square Garden rally in the US.
This means that PIO card holders can extend their stay in India for any duration without having to report to the police.
''In pursuance of the announcement made by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi at Madison Square Garden in New York on September 28, 2014, ministry of home affairs has issued a notification on September 30, 2014 to the effect that person of Indian origin (PIO) card shall be valid for life time and the PIO card holder shall be exempt from police reporting / registration,'' the official release said.
The ministry notification made it clear that all PIO cards issued till 30 September 2014 shall be deemed to have life time validity, subject to the condition that its holder 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, 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 30 March 1999. A total 52,264 persons had obtained PIO cards till 2010.
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 applicable to nationals of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and China.