In this article, we will know the difference between NRI (Non Resident Indian/Non-Resident Indian) and foreign person of Indian origin and also discuss about what rights they both have in India.

Both the terms NRI (Non Resident Indian) and PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) are related to citizenship and citizenship itself is a broad concept. So if you have not understood citizenship  then you must understand it first.

Difference between NRI and Person of Indian Origin

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NRI ( Non- Resident Indian )

These are the only Indian citizens, who ordinarily reside outside India for any reason and who have an Indian passport. That is to say, a passport is considered a proof of citizenship of a country. If an Indian visits any other country, then he will have a passport of India.

The two most important documents for going out of your country to another country are; That is visa and passport. While visa acts as a permit to go to that country, passport tells the nationality of that person.

Since they are citizens of India, NRIs get all the benefits that are available to an Indian citizen. They also get those political rights which an Indian gets.

They can be involved in all kinds of activities in India and all the same rules and regulations apply to them as any other Indian citizen.

The point to be kept in mind here is that the provision of who will be considered as NRI is given in section 6 of the Income Tax Act 1961 . Whereas in the Citizenship Act 1955 regarding a foreign person of Indian origin.

Person of Indian Origin

A person whose ancestor was an Indian citizen and who currently holds the citizenship or nationality of another country. These people have passports of the same country.

Since these people have a foreign passport, they do not get any special benefit in India in India. However, if the central government wants to give any benefit, it can give it. Like the PIO card scheme was started by the Government of India in 2002, under which an attempt was made to give a special identity to these people.

Then later in 2005, the Overseas Citizenship of India scheme was started for these people. Which was merged into a new scheme called Overseas Indian Citizen Cardholder in 2015 and under this many facilities were provided to these people.

So overall if these people are not registered in Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder scheme then they will be treated like a normal foreigner as if these people can indulge in same type of activities as visa type. But they have come. If they have come on a tourist visa, then they can generally do tourism only.

Apart from this, if these people stay in India for more than 180 days, then they are required to be registered with the local police authorities. 

To come to India, they will need a visa and to get any facility from any institution, they will have to pay the same fees as any other foreigner has to pay.

However, if these people have been living in India for 7 years or more, then they can apply for registration for citizenship according to the Citizenship Act 1955.

️ These people get some general human rights but not all political rights. The political rights or fundamental rights of the Indian people have been discussed from Article 12 to Article 35 of Part 3 of the Constitution of India.

There are some such rights in those rights which are only for Indians, which you can see below. Apart from this, these people are entitled to take advantage of other rights.

️ Article 15 , Article 16 , Article 19 , Article 29 and 30 are available to Indians only, no foreigner size in India can demand these rights. A detailed discussion on these rights is available on the site.

The right to vote in the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections is available only to Indians.

The right to contest elections for the membership of Parliament and State Legislature is available only to Indians.

Only Indians have the right to hold public posts, such as President , Vice-President , Judges of Supreme and High Courts , Governors of States , Attorney General and Advocate General.

Important Links

Overseas Citizenship of India explained
↗️Overseas Citizen of India Online Registration and Other Important Details
↗️Indian Citizenship Online Forms and Application
↗️For Consular Services, Passport Services & Visa Services
↗️Important Citizenship FAQs – Hindi, English
↗️For Important Acts & Rules

Overseas Citizenship of India is a very important topic, to understand it in detail; That what is the constitutional provision for it?, Which constitutional amendments were made for this?, What facilities are available and from where these facilities can be obtained, must read the article given below.