What/Who is a Non-Resident Indian (NRI)?
A non-resident Indian (NRI) is an Indian citizen or a person of Indian origin who stays abroad for employment, business or vocation outside India, or stays abroad under circumstances indicating an uncertain duration. This page is exclusively for NRI, who wants to know more about the for his/her investment in our country - INDIA.
Investment Options for NRI
There are a huge number of Indians who are working abroad or will go abroad one day and work there. Even you might go out of country one day and become an NRI, so here’s a very short, to the point guide for NRI investments. We are detailing the most important NRI investment options in India and we’ll focus on four things only – Basic Banking Accounts, Insurance, Mutual Funds and Shares. That’s all. The rules and information here are basic, but further study can be very detailed. Let’s quickly look at some important concepts every person should know. The first step every NRI should take, is to get the correct Banking accounts opened. Here are the options:
What is a NRE account?
NRE Bank Account is an external savings bank account opened for Non resident Indians and hence called Non-Resident External account. Any money lying in NRE account can be taken outside the country or in other words, the money lying in an NRE account is fully repatriable. This money can be converted into any foreign currency and can be remitted outside the country. For opening these accounts, the funds are required to be remitted to India through any bank from the country of residence of the prospective account holder. The accounts may be maintained in any form e.g. savings, current, recurring or fixed deposit account etc.
What is a NRO account?
NRO bank account is an ordinary saving bank account opened for Non resident Indians. This is why it is known as Non-Resident Ordinary account. You open an NRO account, when you want to transfer money from your overseas bank account to Indian account in Indian Rupees. The money lying in NRO account cannot be taken outside the country or in other words, the money lying in NRO account isn’t repatriable. This is can be in form of Fixed Deposit accounts also.
What is FCNR account ?
A FCNR account is a Fixed Deposit account with maturities of minimum 1 yr to maximum 5 yrs of tenure. FCNR stands for Foreign Currency Non-Resident (Bank) Account. The money in this account is always maintained in foreign currency, so it does not carry a currency risk (your $10,000 is always worth $10,000). The money lying in a FCNR account can be taken outside the country (or in other words, it is repatriable). Deposits in these accounts can be made by remiting funds from abroad.
CAN NRI TAKE INSURANCE?
Yes, NRIs can buy Insurance in India; however they have to be present in India, while taking the Insurance. They should therefore plan for buying the insurance when they are on a trip to India. One important point, is that the premiums should be paid from NRE account, if the maturity value is to be repatriable, else only the partial amount will be repatriable,(for which premiums were paid from NRE account). One has to make sure, they have all the necessary documents in place before they come to buy insurance. Documents are
- PAN Card
- Income Address proof.
- Overseas Proof of Address.
- Proof of Income (Salary slip, Bank Statement or ITR for last 3 yrs).
- A seperate form called NRI Questionnaire-Annexure II has to be filled up.
CAN NRI INVEST IN MUTUAL FUNDS?
NRIs can invest in all Indian mutual funds, except in funds promoted by Asset Management Companies based in the U.S. (Fidelity, Franklin Templeton and HSBC.) The payment can be made from any of NRE/NRO/FCNR accounts. If they make payments from NRE/FCNR account, then it can be on repatriable basis (They can take the profit and principal out of country.) But, if they make payment from NRO account then it will be on non-repatriable basis. However, the dividends can be on repatriated. No prior or extra permission, needs to be taken from RBI for this. This is allowed by default. There is no tax on dividend income, and long-term capital gains tax is zero in India, when investing in Indian equity mutual funds.