Difference Between NRI and PIO – NRI vs PIO

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The difference between NRI and PIO is that the income of the NRI is not taxable in India, whereas the income of the PIO is included in the taxation process. NRI and PIO are short abbreviations for Non-Resident Indian and Persons of Indian Origin, respectively. Both the terms NRI and PIO are used to describe people of having birth in India but reside outside the republic of India.

Difference Between NRI and PIO PDF

NRI has the right to participate in elections and hold a post in public centres, whereas PIO is not eligible to vote during elections and cannot hold a post in public centres. The NRI and PIO are often used interchangeably in place of each other but mean two very different things. Read the difference Between NRI and PIO based on various aspects and understand them.

Difference Between NRI and PIO

The major difference between NRI and PIO is that PIO citizens are considered PIO even if they are not born in India, but for NRI citizens, it is essential for them to be born in India. Both NRI and PIO have comparable benefits, tariff deductions, the right to abide within the country, approval to visit etc.


Difference Between NRI and PIO

Non-Resident Indian (NRI)

Person Of Indian Origin (PIO)

A non-resident Indian is a person born in India or carries a descent of Indian land but currently resides in a location outside India.

Also referred to as Overseas Indians, a person of Indian origin is a holder of an Indian passport, is a child or a grandchild to people who are Indians, or is a spouse to a person who is either a PIO or an Indian.

A person must be born in India to be labelled as an NRI.

A PIO need not have taken birth on Indian soil but must have parents born in India.

Voting rights are given to an NRI.

A PIO does not carry any voting rights.

An NRI can hold a public office.

A PIO is not eligible to hold public office in India.

An NRI does not need permission to visit a restricted area in the country.

A PIO needs permission from the Foreign Regional Registration Office to visit any specific areas in the country if they are restricted.


NRI and PIO are the people who may not be living in India but have some relations with the country. It is important to know that Bangladesh and Pakistan-residing citizens are not considered PIO. The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2015 changed the policies for the tax on the income of PIO citizens.

Who is NRI?

An NRI is a person who is an Indian but resides outside the country in any other nation. Lawfully, they are Indian citizens but not in the country. Even then, they are protected by the laws of the Government of India and enjoy the basic rights of every citizen of India.

  • The basic criteria for the NRI are that the citizen who is not staying in India for 183 days in a year for 4 continuous years is living in other countries other than India.
  • It is important to know that the NRI citizens can cast their vote in the election.

Who is PIO?

A PIO, on the other hand, is a person who belongs to another country but has held an Indian passport at any point in time or whose parents or grandparents were born in India at any time, or a person who is a spouse to a person who is a citizen of India.

  • The PIO citizens have Indian citizenship.
  • They are issued with the PIO card, which remains valid for 15 years.
  • During these years, they can study, work, travel, etc., in India as per their choice.
  • The Foreign Regional Registration Office grants permission to PIO citizens.


Key Difference Between NRI and PIO

The key Difference Between NRI and PIO is that NRI stands for Non-Resident Indian who is a resident in a foreign country, whereas PIO stands for Person of Indian Origin allocated to foreign citizens, except for those belonging to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

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