Aadhar & Bank Accounts

#1 Oct 22nd, 2017, 12:47
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#1
Last year I lost a lot of money because the government announced that it would be possible to exchange old bank notes until 31MAR17, and then after 1JAN17 clarified that this facility would only apply to resident Indians and not to foreign citizens such as yours truly.

I just read there is a new deadline of 31DEC17 for linking any bank accounts in India to an Aadhar card. I have both NRO & NRE accounts but do not have an Aadhar card or any intention of getting one.

Does that mean that I have to travel to India before the end of the year and close my accounts, if I do not want my money to be 'frozen'?

I have already sacrificed a lot at the saffron altar in the guise of demonetisation and do not wish to lose more in their latest scam.
Last edited by charsobees; Oct 22nd, 2017 at 15:14..
#2 Oct 22nd, 2017, 14:50
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I don't know what will happen after Dec 31 but you could, instead of travelling to India, a) close your account without travelling to India. Many Indian banks have offices in the US; even if they don't, it may be possible to do this on email etc, though you will probably have to do some extra paperwork in that case, or b) cash all your deposits and write cheques to transfer the money to a safer account held by somebody you are a hundred percent certain will not rob you*.

Which bank is it? (just the name of the bank, not your branch) Why not ask the bank how you can close your accounts without being physically present in India?

*S/he may have tax issues, though and should be eligible to transfer money to you abroad


PS: We will soon have to link the aadhaar card to every public toilet we use, else the door won't open and we will have to pee in the sink impolitely, as usual.
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#3 Oct 22nd, 2017, 15:22
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My experience with banks in India tells me that no accounts can be closed without my physical presence. I have accounts with SBI, Canara, B of Maharashtra, Axis & PNB plus a locker with one of them. Parking the money is problematic because of the tax consequences for the recipient plus of course additional risk that I may not see the money again. Too bad that everything with India has to be so problematic; I have accounts in several other countries and nowhere do I have to face problems like I do with my Indian accounts.

PS. Foreign branches of Indian banks will not lift a finger when it comes to accounts at Indian branches, regardless of what they may advertise.
#4 Oct 22nd, 2017, 15:38
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You will have to be there for the locker closure, if nothing else. And, I have closed accounts with SBI and SBH when I was a NRI and resident abroad without coming to India- I used the SBI office in Singapore and did the SBH on mail (no email in those days). I did not transfer the proceeds abroad, though.
#5 Oct 22nd, 2017, 17:26
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It's a contradiction to demand ardhaar for non-resident accounts, of which there must be many thousands. What do the banks say?
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#6 Oct 22nd, 2017, 17:41
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If you are an NRI or OCI, then you are exempted to link aadhar with bank accounts, just tell your bank that being an NRI, you are not required to link aadhar as you are not allowed to have one.

However, if you are a foreigner, then are you even eligible to keep an account in India, I think not. If you had opened an account, you would have been here as an expat, or may have opened one as a tourist which is only for six months.
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#7 Oct 23rd, 2017, 10:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jituyadav View Post However, if you are a foreigner, then are you even eligible to keep an account in India, I think not. If you had opened an account, you would have been here as an expat, or may have opened one as a tourist which is only for six months.
For most foreigners it is true that the opening and maintenance of bank accounts is linked to their visa status and stay in India. However, the exception is that foreigners holding OCI or PIO status are treated on par with NRIs. In particular OCIs/PIOs can open and maintain bank accounts even if not resident in India, just as NRIs can.

State Bank of India has a convenient page summarizing the different cases for non-residents and foreigners:
https://www.onlinesbi.com/nri/sbinri...t_opening.html
#8 Oct 23rd, 2017, 14:03
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#9 Oct 23rd, 2017, 17:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandicoot View Post However, the exception is that foreigners holding OCI or PIO status are treated on par with NRIs. In particular OCIs/PIOs can open and maintain bank accounts even if not resident in India, just as NRIs can.


Of course OCIs/PIOs can open and maintain bank accounts even if not resident in India, and they do not need aadhar linking, that is what I said in my earlier post.

Simply put, if one is eligible for PIO/OCI status then there is no need to link aadhar, if not, then your accounts are not valid and need to be closed anyway.
#10 Oct 24th, 2017, 09:55
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Sorry, I misinterpreted your post as questioning whether "foreigners", i.e., inclusive of OCIs/PIOs, are eligible to keep their bank accounts going in India at all if they are not residing in India.
#11 Oct 29th, 2017, 20:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandicoot View Post For most foreigners it is true that the opening and maintenance of bank accounts is linked to their visa status and stay in India. ....
there has been considerable discussion about this (quite a lot from me <g>).
Quite a few foreigners did have their NRO accounts frozen despite the RBI regulations clearly stating that any foreigner can open and maintain such accounts.
The problem was that a middle to senior officer in the RBI mis-read/understood the rules** (or had a chauvinist panic attack). As usual colleagues closed ranks and juniors were constitutionally incapable of contradicting her.

** A concession in the rules allows tourists/foreigners to repatriate their balances providing the account has not been operated for more than 6 months.

AndyD 8-)
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#12 Oct 29th, 2017, 20:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandicoot View Post ....State Bank of India has a convenient page summarizing the different cases for non-residents and foreigners:
https://www.onlinesbi.com/nri/sbinri...t_opening.html
Which is pretty accurate, but skirts round a few problems:
* normal practice on the ground - many temporarily non-resident Indians routinely kept their existing bank accounts unless they wanted to take advantage of a non-resident concession.
* it is difficult, if not impossible to re-designate a bank account - you have to close one and open another (from abroad? hah!).
* definitions - it is quite possible to be Resident for tax or FEMA purposes but not be entitled to apply for Aadhaar.
- as was pointed out recently, FEMA and the Income Tax rules talk only about 'persons of Indian origin' - they are agnostic about PIO/OCI/OIC cards and the rules relating to them (which are NOT the same as the FEMA/Tax rules).
I assume that Aadhaar linking rules fall within the RBI/FEMA writ - unless anyone knows different?

AndyD 8-)
#13 Oct 29th, 2017, 23:28
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#13
Not from abroad, but have redesignated accounts from NRO and NRI to ordinary resident without issues, and with no paperwork needed from me.

Aadhaar linking to banks falls within the RBI writ, yes- RBI clarified this recently after criticism that it had been silent while the government was freaking out over the linking. No idea about FEMA.

(Besides banks and cellphone sim cards, also have to link to mutual funds, certain kinds of insurance policies, your ppf/epf accounts... most financial instruments, in fact. But lots of confusion yet, things going on in Supreme Court et al.)
#14 Oct 30th, 2017, 00:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_mahajan View Post Not from abroad, but have redesignated accounts from NRO and NRI to ordinary resident without issues, and with no paperwork needed from me.
...
that's interesting because with a sample size of two (banks) I couldn't do it. Judging by what happened when I gave in and just opened a new account, the a/c no.s seem to be in s different series.
otoh that could just be a coincidence and it could have been that no-one would admit they didn't know how to do it

AndyD 8-)
#15 Oct 30th, 2017, 01:18
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I often found, when I was an NRI, that I invariably knew more about NRI banking rules than most bank staff did. Today, where the emphasis at banks is on 'sales' and little on service and when executives in private banks seem to switch jobs faster than a bollywood heroine switches her clothes, this problem is probably worse.

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