Stepchildren of Indian Citizen and the PIO Card...Visa...(OCI Question Also)
Sharmscharms
India > Visa and Passport Questions > India Travel Basics > India Travel > For Citizens of Other Countries - Visa and PIO/OCI Questions
#1
| "Pani peanut!"

Stepchildren of Indian Citizen and the PIO Card...Visa...(OCI Question Also)

I'm sorry to have to ask this again as it was asked in another thread but it was never answered(at least I never found the answer anywhere!)

My husband, who is an Indian citizen, and I have three children (the three youngest) together and two children which are mine from a previous marriage. We are planning on moving to India in a few months and I don't want to waste time and money applying for one type of thing when I really should be applying for another.

First I want to confirm that since the father of my three youngest is an Indian citizen, they can apply for an OCI card. Is this correct or would they have to apply for a PIO card. The reason I am confused about this is that on one website I looked at, it said that both parents have to be Indian citizens in order for the children to be eligible for the OCI card.

Am I also correct in assuming that as the spouse of an Indian citizen (we have been married for six years) I can apply for a PIO card?

Now, the main question:
Are stepchildren of the above mentioned Indian citizen eligible to apply for a PIO card? Again websites I have visited do not mention stepchildren.

If they are not eligible for the PIO card, would they then just apply for a visa? And what kind of visa would it be? A tourist visa or a student visa? The stepchildren's ages are 11 and 8 and we are planning on sending them to school while there as we will be there for a year.

Sorry for all the questions. I hope I didn't just feed the moderators!! :D

57 Replies

#2
| Loud Noisy Bird
Feed us? But food packets are always welcome :laugh:

We'd better go for the standard disclaimer: we are just a bunch of amateurs, not in any way professional. We can share our experience, but our advice might be right, it might be wrong!

The most important information I can give you is to direct you to "the horse's mouth", which is always the best place for information:

Indian Ministry of Home Affairs Foreigners Division site

Indian Bureau of Immigration site

I think you will find just about all your answers there.

My opinions are:

Your husband's children are entitled to OCI; his step-children may not be. Is adoption an option (if you'll excuse the bad rhyme [Blush])?
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#3
| Maha Guru Member
Is your husband an Indian citizen or US citizen of Indian descent. Is he serving in the US army or Indian army?
#4
| "Pani peanut!"
Nick-H, unfortunately, adoption is not an option for the two oldest as their real dad is still in the picture.

Thanks for the links. I will see what I can glean from there.

Pontesnm, my husband is an Indian citizen and in the U.S. army (greencard holder).
#5
| "Pani peanut!"

Student Visa...

For the boys(the stepchildren), I was told by someone at Travisa outsourcing that they would need to have a student visa.

As you all know, with the student visa, you have to have a letter from the school where they will be attending.

How am I supposed to do that when I haven't even seen the schools before(I was thinking I would be able to go there and actually visit the schools before I would try to seek admission) and the boys have not had any kind of admission exam or anything of the sort?

I am more confused now than when I started. If they get a regular tourist visa, they can't change it to a student visa once they get in India,can they (at least that's what I gathered from the above links)?
#6
| Maha Guru Member
Another wrinkle. Most US states do not allow the children to be moved across state lines without the other parent's consent. Thus you would need to have the boys's father consent even if you moved to New Jersey (leave alone India). Is he agreeable to give consent? If not your questions about sending your kids to school in India are moot
#7
| Maha Guru Member

Originally posted by: Sharmscharms View Post



Pontesnm, my husband is an Indian citizen and in the U.S. army (greencard holder).


His kids are actually eligible for Indian citizenship/passport (and since they were born in the US are eligible for US passport).
#8
| Maha Guru Member
As Nick-H said, the stepchildren can't get OCI or PIO unless they are adopted and thus no longer stepchildren. Stepfathers don't have any official status as parents.

The children can get OCI, and you can get PIO. The benefits of these are rather minimal other than sentimental value for former Indian citizens. Most US citizens can get 10-year visas and this is the best deal, unless you need to stay longer than 180 days each time. Come to think of it, that's probably why you're interested in these options.
#9
| "Pani peanut!"
Pontesnm, to answer both questions, all of us (myself and the five children)all have our passports. The father of the oldest two has agreed to them going to India.

So this is what I believe will be our course(from all the information I have gathered so far):

Myself: PIO card
Three youngest children: OCI card
Two older children: Entry visa
#10
| Maha Guru Member

Originally posted by: Sharmscharms View Post

For the boys(the stepchildren), I was told by someone at Travisa outsourcing that they would need to have a student visa.

As you all know, with the student visa, you have to have a letter from the school where they will be attending.

How am I supposed to do that when I haven't even seen the schools before(I was thinking I would be able to go there and actually visit the schools before I would try to seek admission) and the boys have not had any kind of admission exam or anything of the sort?

I am more confused now than when I started. If they get a regular tourist visa, they can't change it to a student visa once they get in India,can they (at least that's what I gathered from the above links)?


If they need to stay more than 6 months, they need visas that are NOT tourist visas. Student visas can allow more than 6 months, which is why they helpfully suggested it, but this doesn't mean it's easy. Maybe they could enter with tourist visa, find a school, then go back to the US and apply for student visas. Maybe.

But it could well be that there is no simple or hassle-free way for foreign children legally unrelated to an Indian to get a long-stay visa. You can't blame the system, it's simply not a typical case. The US, Europe, etc all have rules discouraging foreigners from settling down.

Why not get a ten-year multiple-entry visa (easily obtained by US citizens) and take a quick trip to Nepal or Sri Lanka every 179 days? This is not good advice for people who need to apply for new visas every time, but it should work fine for people with 10-year visas.
#11
| "Pani peanut!"

Originally posted by: RPG View Post


Why not get a ten-year multiple-entry visa (easily obtained by US citizens) and take a quick trip to Nepal or Sri Lanka every 179 days? This is not good advice for people who need to apply for new visas every time, but it should work fine for people with 10-year visas.


RPG, thanks, I think thats the way I'm gonna go. You'd think that there wouldn't be that much of a problem because they will be children of a PIO card holder (myself hopefully) but, I guess we'll just have to see.
#12
| Loud Noisy Bird

Originally posted by: RPG View Post

The children can get OCI, and you can get PIO. The benefits of these are rather minimal other than sentimental value for former Indian citizens. Most US citizens can get 10-year visas and this is the best deal, unless you need to stay longer than 180 days each time. Come to think of it, that's probably why you're interested in these options.
The benefits are considerably more than that, including being able to work, study, and even own land. OCI holders do not even have to register as foreigners. Whilst that might not seem much, it is one piece of tedious bureaucracy less!

PIO gives you 15 years, too, 50% more than a 10-yr visa.

Originally posted by: Sharmscharms View Post

RPG, thanks, I think thats the way I'm gonna go. You'd think that there wouldn't be that much of a problem because they will be children of a PIO card holder (myself hopefully) but, I guess we'll just have to see.


It is possible that they may be entitled to PIO because they are children of a PIO-card holder. The possible problem with this, from the official's standpoint, is that your PIO depends entirely on your marriage; they can take it away from you should you cease to be married.

It would be interesting to know what advise you could get from your Indian embassy. They can, if they want, be helpful! The big problem is that you can hear one thing from one official, then something else entirely from another official who handles your applications.
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#13
| "Pani peanut!"

Originally posted by: Nick-H View Post


It is possible that they may be entitled to PIO because they are children of a PIO-card holder. The possible problem with this, from the official's standpoint, is that your PIO depends entirely on your marriage; they can take it away from you should you cease to be married.

It would be interesting to know what advise you could get from your Indian embassy. They can, if they want, be helpful! The big problem is that you can hear one thing from one official, then something else entirely from another official who handles your applications.


Nick-H, thanks for all your help.

I can't believe how confusing this all is. Numerous emails to the embassy have gone unanswered.

I would assume that I could apply for and receive my PIO card and then apply for my two oldest children on the basis that I have sole physical custody of them and if I move to India, they have to come with me, right? Sounds good to me, but unfortunately, I'm not the one signing off on the paperwork.

I had thought to he#% with the PIO card, I'll apply for a student visa for them, since they are going to go to school over there. But then I read that you can only get a student visa for a year at a time. That's not going to work if they have to keep reapplying.

Ten year tourist visa might be ok, but what if it doesn't get approved for ten years and only for six months, then we'll have to go back to the states to apply. That's not really feasible.

Then I thought about blowing the whole affair off and stowing them in my luggage. Do you think they'd make it past customs?:D

Seriously, I think I know now what a dog chasing its own tail goes through!!
#14
| Loud Noisy Bird
student visas are renewable in India; you won't have to send them back to USA to get new ones!

I'd suggest that your spouse talks to the embassy people about all this, like "I'm Indian, how does my embassy suggest that I arrange for my family to live with me in my country".
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
.
#15
| Maha Guru Member
I just got off the phone with Travisa - again. The lady who answered was most unhelpful - to start with, at least - but after I persisted in giving her all the facts, her tune changed. I'm up 5 to 1 now on the answer that:

Because I'm married to an Indian Citizen, I'm eligible for an entry visa. My children (his stepchildren) are also eligible for an entry visa because:

1. I have sole physical custody
2. I have letters of "no objection" to the move to India signed by the bio dad
3. My Indian husband will be working in India, as he is a business owner there. It VERY clearly states that the family members of someone employed in India are eligible for an entry visa. When I rattled all that off, the lady put me on hold, came back, said "no problem." Uh-huh.

There was one person who told me none of the above mattered, 4 more who told me not a problem. So there it is :)

Why not get a ten-year multiple-entry visa (easily obtained by US citizens) and take a quick trip to Nepal or Sri Lanka every 179 days? This is not good advice for people who need to apply for new visas every time, but it should work fine for people with 10-year visas.


Now, let's say there's a worst case scenario and the Indian Consulate turns down the Entry visa for whatever reason for these kids. IF all they could get was a tourist visa, meaning a trip out of the country every 179 days, I had assumed they had to go back to the country of origin (in our case, the U.S.) and then return to India. If all it takes is a trip to Nepal (I might pass on Sri Lanka for now..heh), then that's not a big deal.