PIO Card Application for U.S. Citizen Spouse
India > Visa and Passport Questions > India Travel Basics > India Travel > Marriage related Visa Questions
| Member

PIO Card Application for U.S. Citizen Spouse

My U.S. citizen wife applied (by mail) to the CGI Chicago for the PIO card based upon my current Indian citizenship (she isn't independently eligible). After sending the application, we read in immigration forums (not on their Web site) that:

1) My original Indian passport should have been included in the application (I only sent notarized copies).
2) There is a one year of marriage requirement before a non-Indian spouse of an Indian citizen becomes eligible for the PIO card. We have only been married 11 months.

Neither of these instructions appear on the Chicago Web site. All other requirements were met in the PIO Card Application Packet.

Has anyone else been in this situation? Is the original Indian passport required? Is there a marriage duration requirement? Would they return my application and fee, assuming it's incomplete? Please advise.

27 Replies

| Member

PIO card for US wife

Dear Indian 75,

My husband and I have a similar situation. I am a US citizen married to an Indian born man waiting patiently to make application for the PIO card. Our home is in India and I am currently in the country on a 5 year entry visa.

You asked if having an original Indian passport was necessary for application. Yes. The FRRO office and the Ministry of Home affairs want to see your original Indian passport and they also want copies of it, too.

As for the one year marriage waiting period before making application...that's something you don't find details about on the government websites but will find out when you go to the FRRO office. We were told that that one year waiting time was to make sure the marriage was valid, not a marriage of convenience to allow someone to simply enter the country.

In any case, it's been a very long year living in India without the ability to work or even open an Indian bank account. The PIO card opens a lot of doors to foreign born spouses and it sounds like you are very close to having what you need.

I hope this helps you in some way. Good luck!
| Guru
Indian laws are usually not adhered to strictly. I suggest you call the consulate and inquire into the status of your application -- without pointing out the alleged deficiences.
| Member
Thank you Colleen. I have unsuccessfully tried to contact the Consulate by phone as well as e-mail. I doubt anyone uses forums as gospel, but when you have a lack of unambiguous, and lucid immigration information that is readily accessible, the forums and Internet are a highly useful and modern source of knowledge and comfort. However, I don't think the system is deficient - rather these traits merely portray the way that complex immigration laws work in any country, including the United States. The existence of affluent immigration attorneys corroborate that. For example, I have had the USCIS commit clerical errors with them claiming to have lost already cashed checks (!), and claiming to have lost the copy of our marriage license after the EAD was sent. Talk about embarassing.

We are planning for the same - employment, ease of financial transactions, and just peace of mind. Good luck with your stay in India.
| Senior Member
I recently applied for my PIO card in Edinburgh, Scotland and because of the instruction about the original passport took my husband's passport with me (he is an indian national hence my elegibility for PIO). I was given a big row by the official for having hubby's passport as he was not with me in the country (I had to rush back for family reasons so he is still in India). But then they took the passport anyway!!! So it seems that a copyis all that is required.

the good news - I collected my beautiful shiny new PIO card 4 weeks later. :D :D :D :Martini Now i am on my way back soon ..........

Good luck with the application
| Loud Noisy Bird
So the Feisty Blue Gecko is a fully-fledged PIO now :)

Congratulations! :D
Life gets aadhar every day.
| Member
Cool Blue,

Did you have to complete the one year of marriage requirement for eligibility?
| Loud Noisy Bird
I'm curious to know if the details in your PIO card, issued in UK, are printed, or hand-written like my India-issued one?

For the record, Indian75, I had to wait a year, and I was told that in both London and Chennai.
Life gets aadhar every day.
| Senior Member
:D Thanks Nick - we are delighted!

Yes, we did have to have the one year of marriage, and had a certificate which recognised the date of the marriage retrospectively even though the certificate itself was less than a year old. The certificate also has a passport size photo of us both on it! Never seen that before!

Nick, yes it is handwritten. In fact it was prepared when i went in to the consulate to ask about progress! One minor (i hope) thing is that the small Scottish island which is my address has been mutated into the Isle Of Man!! I am hoping that they never check that as addresses are never constant - are they? If so,when did the Isle of Man relocate to Oban, Scotland[shock] ?

Happy Feisty BLue Gecko:cool:
| Member

Request for advice on how to work before getting a PIO card

I am a US citizen, living in the states. My fiance is Indian, and lives in India. I currently have a 10 year tourist visa to visit India for periods of up to six months at a time.

My fiance and I would like to get married and live in India, at least for a few years. Should I be looking at getting some kind of employment visa so I can work there before I move, to get married and apply for a PIO card? I think I would go crazy if I wasn't able to work for a year while I wait to apply for PIO status.

I too, have tried e-Mailing and calling several agencies (Indian Consulates, US Consulates in India, India's Bureau of Immigration, etc.)to find immigration information, and have had no luck. Any advice/help would be greatly appreciated.
| res ipsa loquitur
An employment visa is only obtainable after you actually have an offer of employment in India, and I think you usually you have to be in your country of nationality (rather than already in India) to go through the application process. In other words, you can't just make an a priori application for an employment visa, in a vacuum, in order to be able to look for and take up work in India. Another thing to consider is that some Indian consular websites (like the one for the San Francisco consulate) also say that employment visas are normally given only for jobs requiring a high level of skill and expertise.

If your main concern is not making money but going stir-crazy if you aren't able to work, you could look for some volunteer opportunities to occupy yourself while you wait till you can get your PIO card.
"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln
"The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire
| Loud Noisy Bird
I always found it was work that made me crazy, rather than not working!

As the spouse of an Indian citizen, you should be able to get an Entry visa (type "X"), but only after your marriage. Technically this does not permit you to work.

All the information on visas and eligability is available, apart from your local consulate/embassy site, the following two links:

Immigration Bureau

Ministry of Home affairs

The employment visa comes only after you have the job offer. Then yes, you apply for an employment visa. Normally this would be in your home country: I don't know if they make any exception for a resident foreign spouse.

Cross-posted with Dzibead: yes the volunteering option could be a good way to spend your time constructively for that first year.
Life gets aadhar every day.
| Member
Thank you!! I was hoping to interview for positions on my trip over to get married, and offer to pay for the employment visa (if it makes a difference to the employer). Then, I would come back to the states and apply for an employment visa. I guess if I have to be an expert, voice/accent training may be the way to go.

You both sound like you know the ins and outs of immigration well. Does this sound possible?

We're supporting my fiance's parents as well as ourselves, and income is a factor, unfortunately.
| Loud Noisy Bird
I have an Indian spouse, and have come to live here in India, so I've been through it; Dzibead is using her American professional skills to understand the Indian regulations, which she does pretty well.

But I have never worked here, and would very much rather not! So I have only a theoretical knowledge about employment visas. As you know, with a PIO card, one can be employed here anyway.
Life gets aadhar every day.
| Standard-issue lurker
When I got my PIO from the Washington DC, USA in 3Q07, I sent only COPIES of all documents except for my own personal US passport. However, the rules may have changed. That '1 year' marriage rule seems to be cropping up more and more frequently these days--I still cannot find clear information on if that is a real rule or not!