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 which date now has been extended. 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.
  • Since NRIs are fully exempted from producing any aadhaar as ID verification, an NRI may show his Green card, Indian Visa stamp, Foreign passport or any other form of foreign identity that will establish his non-resident status.

Important Press Release 

Aadhaar Enrolment to NRIs and PIOs

        Aadhaar Card enrolment is presently available to residents in India. OCI Cardholders who stay in India for a long time (over 182 days in twelve months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment) and have an Indian address can also enroll for Aadhaar Card in India.

        NRIs, although they are citizens of India, are not eligible for Aadhaar Card if they have not stayed for more than 182 days or more in the last 12 months.  Upon completion of 182 days of their stay in India in the last 12 months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment, NRIs can apply for Aadhaar Card.

“As per Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961, every person who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar number shall, on or after the 1st day of July, 2017, quote Aadhaar number— (i) in the application form for allotment of permanent account number; (ii) in the return of income.  The above provisions apply to persons who are eligible to get Aadhaar. Under section 3 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, only a resident is entitled to get Aadhaar. Therefore, the provisions of Section 139AA quoted above regarding linking of Aadhaar to PAN or the requirement of quoting the Aadhaar number in the return shall not apply to a non-resident, who is not eligible to get Aadhaar.”

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Source: Indian Consulate Press Release , path2usa

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