Aadhaar card not mandatory for NRIs

update phone number in Aadhaar card


With each passing day, Aadhaar card is occupying greater and greater space in our lives. We have been asked to link Aadhar card to our mobile phones, bank accounts, PAN card, investments, and insurance. You need to link Aadhaar card to get various basic services such as availing LPG subsidy, service pension or filing income tax returns etc.

You might have to take a bit of pain to get Aadhaar linked at all these places.

However, spare a thought for those who do not hold an Aadhaar card and are not even eligible for it. I am talking about Non-resident Indians, PIOs and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs).

Since they do not hold Aadhar card and can’t have fresh ones made for them, how do they manage the situation?

Going by what I have read, many of them are facing issues.

It is in this context that a recent circular by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) provides a lot of relief to non-residents.

UIDAI has taken cognizance of the hardships faced by such non-residents and has come out with a clarification.

Let’s discuss some of the aspects that the circular has mentioned.

Who is eligible for an Aadhaar Card? (Eligibility for Aadhaar Card)

The circular makes reference to Section 3(1) of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 where it is mentioned that, “every resident shall be entitled to obtain an Aadhaar number by submitting his demographic information and biometric information by undergoing the process of enrolment.

Who is a resident as per Aadhaar Act, 2016?

Section 2(v) of the Aadhaar Act defines “resident” as an individual who has resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to one hundred and eighty-two days or more in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment.

As I see, most NRIs won’t meet the eligibility criteria.

By the way, you have a third definition of NRI. We already had two definitions as per FEMA and Income Tax Act. Believe two were not enough.

Read: How can NRIs invest in Mutual Funds in India?

Read: Who is NRI as per FEMA and Income Tax Act?

Aadhaar information should be sought from only those who are eligible for Aadhaar card

The circular states that,

The laws regarding submitting/linking of Aadhaar for availing services/benefits apply to the resident as per the Aadhaar Act, 2016.

Most of the NRIs/PIOs/OCIs may not be eligible for Aadhaar enrolment as per the Aadhaar Act, 2016

Further, the circular concludes that the:

a) Aadhaar as an identity document may be sought only from those who are eligible for it as per the Aadhaar Act 2016; and

(b) most of the NRIs/PIOs/OCIs may not be eligible for Aadhaar enrolment as per the Aadhaar Act, 2016”.

The ministries/departments have been requested to issue appropriate directions to state governments/implementing agencies concerned. At the same time, the implementing agencies have been asked to devise a mechanism to ascertain the genuineness of such NRIs/PIOs/OCIs.

What does this mean?

Since most NRIs/PIOs/OCIs won’t meet the criteria for “resident” as per Aadhaar Act, they are not entitled to an Aadhaar card and hence cannot be forced to submit/provide Aadhaar details to avail services/benefits/schemes.

This will bring a huge sigh of relief to many NRIs.

Many NRIs (who don’t have Aadhaar yet) can simply take recourse under this circular and try convince the authorities.

As I see, this means Aadhaar card is not mandatory for NRI bank accounts or any other investments/services/benefits.

By the way, the circular also provides an illustrative (and not exhaustive) list of services where NRIs may be facing such problems (of linking Aadhaar):

  1. Linking PAN and Bank Accounts with Aadhaar
  2. Linking Service Pension with Aadhaar
  3. Aadhaar based e-KYC
  4. Applying for new mobile phone connections in India
  5. Maintaining the existing NRE/NRO bank accounts in India
  6. Registering with Jeevan Pramaan/Digital Life Certificate for pension
  7. Registering with Kendriya Sainik Board Secretariat (for retired Defence personnel)
  8. Maintaining Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Service (ECHS)
  9. Various Scholarships introduced for the children of Ex-Servicemen
  10. Applying for Defence Canteen Smart Card
  11. Applying for LPG connection
  12. Registering with e-District service for obtaining various services from State Governments
  13. Issuance of fresh or renewal of driving license
  14. Appearing by students in different entrance exams in India
  15. Issuance of certificates by Universities/boards to students under different public examinations
  16. Applying for registration of property etc.

Additional Read

UIDAI circular dated November 15, 2017

23 thoughts on “Aadhaar card not mandatory for NRIs”

  1. Dear Mr Deepesh, I do not want to disclose my name and identity. I am writing this mail from Canada. We are NRI/OCI in Canada.

    Mr Deepesh, I looked at your website to get answers to my queries.

    Mr Deepesh, I am at loss and for that matter, I think several other NRIs will also be at loss like me.

    The reason is we have 4 policies with LIC of india and those policies were started while we (myself and my wife) were Indian citizen. We moved to Canada and now we are Canadian citizens. I also obtained my OCI certification recently. But we were depositing our annual premium regularly with LIC.

    Only recently, I came to know that now we have to link our Aadhar and PAN number with our LIC policies. We do not have Aadhar card since as per GOI rules NRIs are exempted to have Aadhar. We have PAN card though that we obtained recently. I tried to reach LIC by phone, but no one is trained for answer. can you please clarify on this issue or otherwise we have to discontinue depositing our annual premium.

    1. Aadhaar link is mandatory only for residents (even that is not final. Supreme court is looking into the issue).
      So, you don’t have to worry.
      However, I do not understand many people like you are facing serious issues because of lack of awareness (or lack of direction) of employees.
      Suggest you write an e-mail to LIC. Mark a copy of the e-mail to LIC Chairman and grievance redressal team too.
      You should get a favourable respone.
      Go through Grievance redressal page too. https://www.licindia.in/Bottom-Links/gRIEVENCE-REDRESAL-SYSTEM

  2. For a Person who is NRI/OCI in canada is it mandatory to have adhaar card for future property registrations in india!!

  3. Hi . I am an NRI and have invested in various mutual funds in India through my NRE account. I keep getting these common emails regarding need to register Aadhar with Mutual Fund accounts. If an NRI doesn’t need to link his NRE account, is he required to provide AADHAR for MUTUAL FUND accounts?!

    1. IF you are not eligible for Aadhaar, you don’t have to link.
      At the same time, be prepared for hassles. It is not easy to convince AMCs.

  4. Hi,

    I am an NRI staying in Singapore for last 10 years and do not have any income in India. I understand that NRIs are not eligible for Aadhar. Also, as highlighted it is not required for NRI since they are not eligible.

    But what process do I need to follow with Income tax department in India to inform them that I am an NRI and my PAN should continue to be valid even if it is not linked to aadhaar. My understanding is that if it is not linked to Aadhaar, by default those PAN numbers will be deactivated/expired.

    Please help.

    1. I am not sure about the process to follow.
      In my opinion, Income tax department must have taken cognizance of this circular.
      However, you may still have to prove to them that you are not eligible for Aadhaar.
      Suggest you contact the department itself.

  5. Hello sir
    I m a Hong Kong permanent resident( holding Hong Kong permanent ID card ) but holding indian passport. I have one local account in india since 17 years . But I don’t have Adhar card so what I should do ?
    i m worried if I will get problem with my account without Adhar card
    Please advice

    1. Hi Amy,
      If you are not eligible for an Aadhaar card, you don’t have to link.
      Linking is mandatory only for those who have an Aadhaar card.
      However, to avoid any inconvenience, I suggest you write an e-mail to bank customer care and seek confirmation.
      Initially, you will get a pre-defined response that you have to link.
      However, once you escalate this to CEO, you will get the confirmation.

  6. Hello sir
    I m a Hong Kong permanent resident( holding Hong Kong permanent ID card ) but holding indian passport. I have one local account in india since 17 years . But I don’t have Adhar card so what I should do ?
    i m worried if I will get problem with my account without Adhar card
    Please advice

  7. I am citizen of Canada,my saving bank account with BOI, Mumbai,I don’t have a aadhar card,to continue my account which documents to submit,when I asked bank, they said to bring passport copy of Canada with notarized in Canada and submit to BOI Mumbai,is it helpful to me?

  8. Hi Deepesh,

    I wonder rif you could help me, because not even the authorities seem to have any answers.

    My parents were Indians but I’m a British passport holder. I have a valid PIO card. I also have a PAN card, a local prepaid mobile phone number, an Indian bank account and mutual fund investments.

    I have been residing in India for over 12 months now, so does that mean I need to get an Aadhaar card and link it to all my assets? When I spoke to my bank, they said an Aadhaar card wasn’t mandatory for foreigners and that my bank accounts or other assets would not be frozen.

    How far is this true? Do I need an Aadhaar card or not?


  9. I am a non resident Indian living in the Gulf. Due to lot of hassles faced by many nris in india, and upon their advice, I enrolled for an aadhar and obtained one. Will the Indian government or tax authorities penalise me for obtaining an aadhar by wrongly declaring that I have resided in india for more than 181 days in a financial year. I only obtained the aadhar to avoid the hassles for getting a sim card, etc, during my next visit to india.

  10. John Asher Rayan

    Respected Concern,

    I am currently residing in Germany. I would like to claim provident fund from the companies i worked in India before. Now for claiming the PF aadhaar card is an mandatory document. I am afraid that i am unable to convince them that i am not eligible for an aadhaar card as NRI. And it is not possible for me to apply for one from Germany. Kindly do guide like how to convince the PF authorities.


    Best Regards,
    John Asher Rayan

    1. Dear John,
      Aadhaar is not mandatory for PF now. It was never mandatory for NRIs. Now, it is not even for residents.
      Please follow up with the authorities now.

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