Becoming a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) brings a new set of financial responsibilities and compliance requirements. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has laid down specific guidelines for NRIs to ensure smooth financial transactions and compliance with Indian laws.
This comprehensive guide will help you understand the necessary actions to be taken when changing your residency status from Resident to NRI, covering various domains such as banking and investment accounts, loans, insurance policies, taxation, mandates, FEMA, and KYC.
- Update your banking and investment accounts to reflect your NRI status.
- Inform your lenders about your NRI status and update your loan repayment mode.
- Update your insurance policies and inform your providers about your change in residency status.
- Comply with Indian tax laws on your Indian income and understand the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and your country of residence.
- Update any mandates, such as ECS and SIP, to reflect your NRI status.
- Comply with FEMA regulations for investments, property transactions, and repatriation of funds.
- Update your KYC details with banks, financial institutions, and investment platforms.
- Understand the consequences of non-compliance and take necessary actions to avoid penalties and legal consequences.
Section 1: Banking and Investment Accounts
🏦 When you become an NRI, it’s essential to update your banking and investment accounts to reflect your new status. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Convert your existing savings account to an NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary) account. FEMA requires that you do this “immediately” on becoming an NRI.
- Open an NRE (Non-Resident External) account for repatriable funds.
- Update your KYC (Know Your Customer) details with banks and financial institutions.
- Inform your mutual fund houses and stockbrokers about your change in residency status.
- Close or convert your PPF (Public Provident Fund) and NSC (National Savings Certificate) accounts.
- If you intend to invest in direct equity, you are required to open a Portfolio investment scheme account to do so. You can no longer use your resident Demat account as a NRI.
Section 2: Loans from Indian Lenders
💰 If you have any loans from Indian lenders, you need to inform them about your change in residency status. Here’s what you need to do:
- Notify your lenders about your NRI status.
- Update your loan repayment mode to NRO account.
- Check if your loan agreement requires any modifications due to your NRI status.
If you have surplus funds available, consider prepaying your existing loans.
Section 3: Insurance Policies from Indian Insurers
🛡️ Your insurance policies may also need updates when you become an NRI. Follow these steps:
- Inform your insurance providers about your change in residency status.
- Update your contact details and nominee information.
- Check if your policy terms and conditions need any modifications.
- Premiums may increase due to higher risk factors associated with living abroad.
Section 4: Taxation on Indian Income
💼 As an NRI, you’ll need to comply with Indian tax laws on your Indian income. Here’s what you need to do:
- File your income tax returns in India for income earned in India.
- Obtain a PAN (Permanent Account Number) if you don’t have one.
- Understand the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and your country of residence.
Your Indian income will be taxed differently in your country of residence, even if it is “tax-free” in India. You may be required to report your Indian income like interest income, mutual fund capital gains, rental income, in your tax returns. Hire a local CA/CPA equivalent or a tax consultant to ensure that you comply with the tax laws of your resident country.
As an NRI, though your NRE interest income is tax-free in India, your NRO interest or MF redemptions will be paid after deducting 30% TDS. You can reclaim the excess tax by filing your tax returns in India, even if your Indian income is below the exemption limit.
Section 5: Mandates for NRIs
📝 Ensure that you update any mandates you have in place, such as ECS (Electronic Clearing Service) and SIP (Systematic Investment Plan), to reflect your NRI status.
POA may be required for NRIs to manage their financial affairs in India, such as buying or selling property, managing investments, or handling banking transactions. Appointing a trusted person as your POA can help you manage your financial matters in India without being physically present.
Section 6: FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act)
🌐 As an NRI, you need to comply with FEMA regulations. Here’s what you need to do:
- Understand the FEMA guidelines for investments, property transactions, and repatriation of funds. You are allowed to repatriate up to USD 1 million per year under the LRS.
- Ensure that your investments and property transactions are in line with FEMA regulations.
- NRIs can invest in Indian securities through the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS) under FEMA guidelines.
Section 7: KYC (Know Your Customer) status update
🔍 Update your KYC details with banks, financial institutions, and investment platforms to reflect your NRI status.
Impact of Non-Compliance:
❌ Non-compliance with RBI guidelines and Indian laws can lead to penalties, legal consequences, and difficulties in managing your finances.
Your KYC residential status can be updated on your visit to India or by getting the CKYC form and the supporting documents attested at the nearest Indian embassy and forwarding the documents to a KRA (KYC registration agency) like CAMS. NRI KYC cannot be updated online.
FAQ for NRIs
What is the difference between an NRO and NRE account?
NRO accounts hold income earned in India, while NRE accounts hold income earned abroad. NRO accounts are subject to TDS, while NRE accounts are tax-free.
How do I update my KYC details as an NRI?
Update your KYC details by submitting the necessary documents (proof of identity, proof of address, and proof of NRI status) to your bank or financial institution. You will be required to get the KYC documents attested at the nearest Indian embassy if you are updating your KYC from your country of residence.
Can I continue to invest in Indian mutual funds as an NRI?
Yes, NRIs can invest in Indian mutual funds, subject to FEMA guidelines and tax implications in their country of residence.
What are the tax implications for NRIs on Indian income?
NRIs are taxed on their Indian income in India and may be eligible for tax relief under DTAA between India and their country of residence.
How does the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) work?
DTAA helps NRIs avoid double taxation on their income by providing tax relief in their country of residence.
Can NRIs buy property in India?
NRIs can buy residential and commercial properties in India but cannot purchase agricultural land, plantation property, or farmhouses.
What are the FEMA guidelines for NRIs?
FEMA guidelines regulate investments, property transactions, and repatriation of funds for NRIs.
How do I inform my insurance providers about my NRI status?
Inform your insurance providers by submitting a written request along with proof of your NRI status.
Can I continue my SIPs in mutual funds as an NRI?
Yes, NRIs can continue their SIPs in mutual funds, subject to FEMA guidelines and tax implications in their country of residence.
What are the consequences of non-compliance with RBI guidelines and Indian laws?
Non-compliance with RBI guidelines and Indian laws can lead to penalties, legal consequences, and difficulties in managing your finances.