India – International Civil Aviation Organization Mandates Machine-Readable Documents for Travelers

What has changed
The International Civil Aviation Organization has informed the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India that effective October 2018, it will accept only machine-readable travel documents. At that time, current handwritten Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards will become invalid travel documents. PIO card holders are advised to obtain machine-readable Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards in lieu of their existing PIO cards before October 2018.
Who is affected?
  • All clients currently holding PIO cards for India.

What to expect

Per the notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 9th January 2015, all the existing PIO card holders as on 9 January 2015 are effectively treated as OCI card holders and are eligible, on a voluntary basis, to replace their existing PIO cards with OCI cards. However, PIO cards are handwritten, while the new OCI cards are machine-readable. Hence, it will be necessary for all PIO cardholders to now obtain machine-readable OCI cards in lieu of existing hand written PIO cards before October 2018 to avoid any inconvenience.
More information on this change can be found here.
What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • If you currently hold a PIO card, ensure that you have begun the proceedings to obtain an OCI card.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative if you have any further questions or require assistance in obtaining an OCI card.