22 April, 2021

The Papers Are In Order

Or how I determinedly sized up the careworn Indian system, ran into a brick wall, yet still managed to secure a PIO card for myself

Jitender Gupta
The Papers Are In Order

I am a Person of Indian Origin. I have a slate-grey passport-like document issued by the Indian government that says so. But I’m not really. I was not born or brought up here, and I do not have a single direct ancestor who, as far as I know, ever lived in India. I have become the proud possessor of a Persons of Indian Origin card because I am married to an Indian citizen.

I had lived in India, on and off, for ten years—and had been married to an Indian citizen for even longer. Previously, my visas were renewed every six months. We now wanted to stay in India indefinitely and make our home in Delhi. I would have preferred dual citizenship—but that wasn’t, and still isn’t, available. PIO would be second best. But the actual card was not easy to come by. It involved a total of 17 visits to three separate ministries and five different offices. It took up at least four full days of my life. I was interviewed twice, the second time at home with my wife, Shireen. The first time was at the offices of the Foreigners...

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