Aadhaar Card for NRIs- All you need to know


The Aadhaar number was first launched in 2009 and furthered under the Aadhaar Act of 2016¹. It is a way for the Indian government to use technology and individual data to connect and verify residents of India. The Aadhaar number falls under the government's Digital India initiatives, and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) department is responsible for all areas related to the Aadhaar. This includes enrolment, authentication, and monitoring. There are now over 1.19 billion resident Indians with an Aadhaar number². In this article you will find-

What is Aadhaar and how is it useful?

Every resident is entitled, but not required, to get the free 12 digit alpha-numeric Aadhaar number. It comes in the form of a physical and digital card. Through the process of enrolling, you link your demographic and biometric information to the unique number issued to you.

The UIDAI is asking enrollees to link their PAN and bank accounts to their personal Aadhaar number for stronger identity verification. It is one way to root out fake accounts, money laundering and illegal activity in the financial system.

To be clear, when you apply and get an Aadhaar number, the UIDAI will not have or keep your information about bank accounts, shares, mutual funds, financial and property details, health records, family, caste, religion, education, etc and will never collect this information in its database³.

The Aadhaar number can also be useful when applying for items that require identity verification, such as a new phone number. What used to take days, can now be done in a few minutes at the store. In this case, the mobile phone store will send your Aadhaar number and encrypted scanned fingerprint to the UIDAI for immediate identity verification. Linking one’s phone number to their Aadhaar card has been a method that also has helped India strengthen its national security and combat terrorism.

Many people have raised valid concerns about privacy with the Aadhaar number, and so, for now, the government has not made it mandatory to get one. However, numerous subsidies and benefits, as well as ease of doing business digitally, incentivize getting an Aadhaar.

If you prefer using digital services for your banking, try Wise’s smart technology money transfers and get the mobile app to keep track of your money transfers to India on the go.

Is Aadhaar mandatory for NRIs?

The Aadhaar card is not applicable to NRIs. The Aadhaar is specifically for residents of India that are in the country for 182 days or more within the past 12 months⁴.

Service providers like banks and mobile companies have already outlined NRI-specific exemptions for the respective activity that would normally require an Aadhaar. So if you do run into any hiccups, be sure to remind the company or organization that as a non-resident you are not required to get an Aadhaar.

If you were a resident with an Aadhaar card and recently have become an NRI, you can still link your number to your PAN. You would need to first register on the income e-Filing portal, and then once you are registered, click on the pop up about linking your PAN to your Aadhaar. Verify the details that are populated on the screen with your Aadhaar card, and then click ‘link now’. You should get a confirmation message on the screen that it is linked.

But what if you are an NRI who doesn’t have an Aadhaar but pay income taxes? You may find that you are asked for your Aadhaar card when you file your return of income, but as an NRI you can leave that box blank. Only those that are eligible to obtain an Aadhaar card per the resident guidelines above need to quote it in their return of income⁵.

Aadhaar card application for NRIs

How to apply for Aadhaar card for NRIs

Although Indian citizens that already identify as NRIs can’t apply for an Aadhaar card, anyone who is still a resident of India can. If you have family members that reside in India more than 182 days a year you can get sign them up for Aadhaar-

  1. Head down to your local authorized Aadhaar Enrolment Center
  2. Fill out the enrollment form
  3. Verify your demographic information. This includes your name, address, gender, date of birth, mobile number (optional) and email address (optional)
  4. Get your biometric information captured at the center. This means a photograph of your face, all 10 fingerprints, and 2 iris scans.
  5. Submit proof of identity and address documents
  6. Collect the acknowledgment slip that contains your enrollment ID.

Once your Aadhaar number has been generated, you will receive an SMS on the mobile phone number you put down on your application. You can check your Aadhaar status and access your card on the UIDAI website⁶.

Documents required for Aadhaar card for NRIs

Indian residents need original proof of identity and proof of address documents to enroll for their Aadhaar card. Identity proof documents include election photo ID card, ration card, passport and driving license. PAN cards and Government ID cards can be used for identity proof⁷. Electricity, telephone, or water bills from the past 3 months can be used as address proof. You can also check out the full list of approved documents.

Time taken to process Aadhaar card for NRIs

After enrolment, it can take up to 90 days for your physical Aadhaar to be generated. It is recommended to register your mobile number and/ or email to also receive updates and to be notified when it is ready to download online from the UIDAI website⁸.

A new way to transfer money internationally for NRIs

The Aadhaar card is one of the Indian government’s initiatives to make processes more efficient, digital and easy for Indian citizens. And here at Wise, we believe in doing the same for money transfers. Traditional bank transfers are based on old, rusty money transfer systems which are slow and expensive. Services like Wise use secure, smart technology to connect bank accounts all over the world.

Wise is also authorised and regulated by the RBI in India, so transferring your money internationally is completely safe. Millions of customers trust Wise with their money, and we move over £4 billion around the world every single month.

You can transfer money from your accounts abroad to India often faster and cheaper than traditional banks, and securely with Wise. Take a look at our comparison tool to see how much you could save on every transaction.

Sources used for this article-
(2),(3) https://uidai.gov.in/images/recently_asked_ques_13012018.pdf
(4),(5) https://uidai.gov.in/contact-support/have-any-question/291-faqs/your-aadhaar/nri-aadhaar.html
(6),(7) https://uidai.gov.in/my-aadhaar/about-your-aadhaar/aadhaar-enrolment.html
(8) https://uidai.gov.in/contact-support/have-any-question/296-faqs/enrolment-update/aadhaar-enrolment-process.html

*All sources checked as of 17 May, 2019

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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