Demystified: Aadhaar Card for NRIs
Despite the very best intentions, sometimes a rule may be implemented that is contradictory or confusing. I believe that the question regarding Aadhaar cards falls in this space.
The purpose of the Aadhaar card is to provide residents of India a Unique Identification Card in order to ensure that welfare services are delivered efficiently and effectively. Originally, the card was granted only to Indian residents, but now it may be granted to NRIs… under certain conditions.
For NRIs to hold an Aadhaar card, they must reside in India for 182 days preceding the application date for the card. This may seem like a small detail, but in fact it can have serious consequences from an income tax perspective.
Basically, the purpose of the Aadhaar card is to give benefits to residents of India and not to people who are not residents. Well, most NRIs will not and should not be qualified as residents of India. That is what it means to be an NRI — Non-Resident Indian.
If that is the current law, then the following things follow.
- NRIs can operate NRE and NRO bank accounts in india without a Aadhaar card
- Their PAN card will not be blocked if it is not linked to an Aadhaar card.
- NRIs who really want an Aadhaar card must be present in India to apply for one. They cannot do so on line.
So why should an NRI want an Aadhaar card, when there are no advantages, but serious disadvantages. Beyond this, it is not even allowed under the current laws, unless you meet the 182-day rule. The main reason is ignorance on the part of the people that you have to deal with in India. They may not understand this exemption for NRIs and insist that you have to have an Aadhaar card before you can make a transaction with them.
Examples may be that they do not give you a water connection, electricity connection or a mobile phone account without an Aadhaar card. This is not anybody’s fault. It is just the confusion that exists at the present time.
Hope this helps dispel some of the mystery surrounding the Aadhaar card rules. Of course, the laws could change in the future, but we will try to keep you informed.