Visa changes announced for overseas Indian and US nationals

30 Sep 14



What is the change? On a visit to New York on Sunday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that holders of Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cards will receive lifetime Indian visas and that U.S. nationals will receive visas on arrival.

What does the change mean? The PIO card will be merged with the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards. U.S. travelers will be able to travel to India and obtain a visa at the border.

  • Implementation timeframe: The implementation date and time frame have not been announced.
  • Visas/permits affected: PIO and OCI cards forforeigners of Indian origin; visitor visas for U.S. nationals.
  • Who is affected: Foreignersholding PIO cards;, foreign spouses of Indian nationals; U.S. nationals visiting India.
  • Business impact: The changes will make travel and immigration procedures easier for Indian PIO cardholders and for U.S. citizens makingcasual business trips to India.

Background: Modi announced the changes at a rally of approximately 20,000 overseas Indian nationals at Madison Square Garden. The merging of PIO and OCI cards will streamline processing and essentially give PIO cardholders lifelong visas. PIO cardholders staying in India for long periods will not have to register with the local police, according to Modi. However, India recently required that OCI cardholders younger than 21 and older than 50 reapply every time they obtain a new passport, which lengthens processing.

Modi also announced that U.S. nationals would receive visas on arrival, but did not say when that would happen.

BAL Analysis: Although no timeline has been set for rollout, the changes will reduce red tape for overseas Indian nationals and American visitors.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in India. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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