PAN card for NRIs: Your full guide

Aman Saxena
11.08.21
4 minute read

Whether you are going to the bank, doing your taxes, making a sale or verifying your identity in India, you are likely going to be asked for your PAN card.

But what is a PAN card, and how does it apply for Non-resident Indians? Read on to learn about the PAN card for NRIs.

📝 Table of contents

What do NRIs need a PAN card for?

Let’s start with what a PAN card is in India. The PAN is short for Permanent Account Number.

It is a unique identification given to tax paying individuals and is made up of a combination of English letters and numbers.

pan card for nris

The number is presented in the form of a card with your photo on it, and so it becomes a PAN card. The PAN card is issued by the Income Tax Department in India to those that apply for one.

⚠️ A PAN card is not automatically issued to residents or taxpayers, instead all individuals with financial transactions have to apply for one.

A PAN or PAN card is necessary for any individuals who are earning income or dealing with finances in India.
The income tax department of India has made it so that a PAN has been made required for all the following transactions, and more:

  • Any transactions for the income tax department
  • Opening a bank account
  • Getting financial credit from an institution
  • Buying a high-end consumer product
  • Transactions for securities & the financial markets
  • Purchasing and selling of immovable property
  • Foreign travel

And since the PAN card is government issued, it can also be an acceptable form of identification for all government and non-government institutions.¹

ℹ️ Who is an NRI? A citizen of India, or person of Indian origin, who resides outside of the country and is in India less than 182 days a year.²

So if you are a Non-resident Indian (NRI) and are doing either of the following, you are required to have a PAN:

  • Filing an income tax return
  • Participating in an economic or financial transaction that requires a PAN

A PAN card is required especially for items such as selling a car, two wheeler, or immovable property valued at 10 lakhs or higher.³

Once you are issued a PAN card, it is valid for life and does not need to be renewed. Even if you change your address. Also, you can not hold more than one PAN under your name and identity. Doing so can lead to a ₹10,000 fine.

Let’s take a look at how an NRI can apply for a PAN card.

How to apply for a PAN card for NRIs?

Applicants for a PAN card are required to fill out Form 49A and provide supporting documents.

Applying for the PAN card online for NRIs

The easiest way to apply for a PAN card for NRIs is to fill out the online application.

⚠️ There is also an ePAN option but you may be required to meet the following criteria to complete this faster issuance application
  • This is your first PAN card application
  • You have a Aadhaar number
  • Your Aadhaar number is linked with your mobile number
  • Your date of birth is available on the Aadhaar card
  • You are not filing as a minor

In any case, once you have completed the online application, you will be asked to submit supporting documents to verify your identity and address.
Here is a quick step by step guide on applying for a PAN card. Note that you can’t move to the next step without completing the previous one.

  1. Complete the online application for New PAN - Form 49A
  2. Pay the application fee
  3. Upload supporting documents
  4. Submit documents
  5. Your application will then be under processing
  6. Track the status of your application with your unique application number on either the NSDL or UTITSL website

You can choose to do your application through NSDL or UTITSL. Both will help get your PAN full and complete application processed and issued.

Applying for the PAN card in-person for NRIs

Another way to apply for a PAN card is to head to a PAN Card Application Centre in person in India.
You can still download the application online to complete and bring to the centre, along with your documents.⁴

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Documents required to apply for a PAN card for NRI

Here are a list of documents you will need if you are applying for a PAN card as an NRI:⁶

  • PAN card application
  • Copy of your passport
  • A proof of address : a copy of a bank account statement where you reside OR a copy of an NRE bank account statement with at least 2 transactions in the past 6 months and attested by the Indian embassy or consulate

A foreign address is allowed for foreign citizens or NRIs if there is no proof of residence in India.
Learn more about which documents are permitted on the Income Tax Department of India website.

How to apply for a PAN card as a Foreign Citizen?

Foreign citizens will have to go through a similar process as Indian citizens, but will have to complete the Form 49AA. Here is how to do it:⁵

  1. Complete the online application for New PAN- Foreign Citizen (Form 49AA)
  2. Pay the application fee
  3. Upload supporting documents such as your passport, proof of residence and possibly your visa for India
  4. Submit your documents
  5. Track the status of your application with your unique application number on either the NSDL or UTITSL website

Foriegn citizens can submit their foreign passport, PIO card or OCI card as part of their proof of identity documents.

How long does it take to get a PAN card for NRI?

The time it takes depends on how you have applied for the PAN card. If you have applied for an ePAN, it is possible to get a PAN number instantly.
In other cases with an online application, it may take 2 weeks or longer to be issued a PAN card. Check with your PAN card processing centre or track your application on the NSDL or UTITSL websites.

PAN Card application fees for NRIs

The PAN card issuance fee depends on if you are applying from within India or not. Here is how much it costs:⁷

Address on ApplicationFee
Mailing address is within India₹107
Mailing address is outside India₹994

You can pay for the PAN card application fee by:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Demand draft
  • Net banking

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Sources used for this article:

  1. PAN Card
  2. NRI definition
  3. PAN card for NRI
  4. NRI Application
  5. Foreign citizen application
  6. NRI Documents
  7. Fees for NRIs

All sources checked as of 11 August 2021


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 TransferWise 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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