3 Primary Things You Should Know Before Opening an NRI Account

Managing finances is the primary concern a person has when he or she decides to shift abroad. It is illegal for a Non-Resident of India (NRI) to hold the same old savings account that they had earlier. Handling bank accounts in a different country and repatriating money back to their home account often becomes difficult for them. It is, therefore, necessary for them to open a separate NRI account to manage their income and investments. The account may be opened in the form of fixed, savings, recurring or current accounts depending on an individual’s banking needs. Given below are the three primary things you should know before opening an NRI account.

Types of NRI Account

For an NRI who wants to open an account in another country, there are two options available for him/her:

  1. Non-Resident Ordinary Account (NRO account) – With the NRO account, you can make local remittances and payments from India and abroad. If you intend to keep your money in India in the Indian currency, you need to have this account. It is a current or savings account in India but has certain restrictions. If you have income from India such as dividend, rent, and interest, it can be deposited in this account. Funds from abroad that are in the form of freely convertible foreign currency can also be deposited in this account. Cheques for all local payments, investments or EMI’s can be issued through the NRO account. NRI’s need to pay tax on the credit balances and the interest earned in this account
  2. Non-Resident External Account (NRE account) – With an NRE account, NRI’s can send their overseas money earned in India. This account lets you keep your money in India in a foreign denomination. There are no limits imposed as to how much money can be sent abroad from India. It must be noted that money can only be deposited in foreign currency and can be withdrawn in Indian currency. The income of an NRI under the NRE account is tax-free in India

Documentation

Here is a list of documents that will be required to open an NRI account. However, the documents may vary from one bank to another.

  1. Photocopy of Visa
  2. Photocopy of a valid passport that includes your name, address, date, and place of issue, date of birth, expiry date
  3. Address proof of foreign residence (Utility bills, photocopy of driving license, photocopy of passport with foreign residence address proof). The address must match the address mentioned in the application form
  4. Self-attested passport size photographs
  5. Proof of NRI status (by providing valid Residence / Employment visa copy or residence/work permit)

All these documents must be attested by an overseas banker.

Benefits of Opening an NRI Account

Before opening an NRI account, NRI’s must be aware of the benefits of having such an account. These include –

  1. No minimum balance requirement – An NRI is not required to maintain high balances. Nowadays, a minimum balance of Rs 10,000 is required while holding other bank accounts
  2. Repatriation benefits – NRI accounts provide the advantage of repatriation. NRI’s can experience a smoother flow of funds with both an NRO and an NRE account because the access to interest component and the principal amount is free

Opening an NRI account is a simple and hassle-free process. If you are in India, you must visit your nearest bank branch to open an NRI account. However, if you are overseas, you can contact your bank for the assistance of opening one such account. In order to learn more about the processes involved in opening an NRI account, visit this link: https://www.sc.com/in/nri/

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