The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has clarified that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) who have been out of India for more than 182 days need not link their Aadhaar cards to their local bank accounts. This is on account of the fact that they are ineligible to even get an Aadhaar card since this is meant only for residents of India who have continuously lived in the country for over 182 days. The rest have to mandatorily link it with bank account, PAN Cards and Sim cards by December 31, 2017. The government of India gives an online option to link Aadhar with PAN card.
This 12-digit Unique Identification Number or UID acts as a personal identification that is now being utilized by all service providers and vendors to issue products and services across India, be it government or private.
What are the benefits of having an Aadhaar card?
- Nationally accepted identification tool;
- Eligibility to operate bank accounts, cooking gas permits, mobile firms and certain government departments;
- Access to welfare programs such as pension;
- Access to financial investment tools like National Savings Certificate (NSC), Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) schemes;
- Easy purchase of SIM cards for cell phones;
- Get an Indian passport in just ten days since the police verification happens remotely and quickly.
- Voter registration is made easily.
- Open a bank account.
- Apply for a driving license.
- Easily conduct all monetary transaction over Re.50,000
With the many benefits of having an Aadhaar card, NRIs and OCI holders were rushing to register an Aadhaar number even though it did not apply to them. Since many Indian service providers/vendors were not informed of their exempt status, these NRIs are attempting to procure this through illegitimate means such as giving local addresses, false identities, etc. The Ministry of Finance warned against practices that is not only illegal but may also alter the applicant’s NRI status, which may have tax penalties.
What should a NRI or OCI do in lieu of an Aadhaar?
- Update the Permanent Account Number (PAN) Card with your NRI status
- If you are operating a local savings account in India, convert it into a NRE or NRO account. To see which NRI bank accounts will suit you best, read NRI Bank Accounts – NRE Account or NRO Account.
- Since NRIs are fully exempted from producing any aadhaar as ID verification, an NRI may show his Green card, Indian Visa stamp, US passport or any other form of foreign identity that will establish his non-resident status.
Here is more information regarding Aadhaar card’s applicability to the non–resident Indian with regards to NRI filing taxes in India.