Can foreign nationals open bank accounts in India?
Foreign nationals staying in India for a long period can open resident savings or current account with a bank in India provided they furnish requisite KYC documents.
Foreign nationals who are staying in India for a long period due to work or business reasons, would need to make and receive rupee payments.
It is therefore a good idea for them to have a bank account in India. Here’s how foreign nationals can go about opening a bank account in India.
Type of account
Foreign nationals can open resident savings or current account with a bank in India provided they furnish requisite KYC documents.
Banks usually accept a basic account opening form for opening the account.
The foreign national is required to furnish copies of the following documents to open the bank account:
Valid foreign passport.
Valid Indian visa ( it should be a longterm visa: valid for more than 182 days).
Copy of Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) permit.
Overseas address proof.
Indian address proof.
Copy of PAN card or Form 60.
They also need a letter from employer or letter of contract. For business visits, RBI approval may be needed.
It is possible for foreign nationals to repatriate their earnings in India to their family abroad. To repatriate, the foreign national must fill up the requisite repatriation form, submit his salary slip or income proof, as well as provide a copy of his passport.
The foreign national can convert the account to NRO status when he completes his assignment in India and goes back to his own country.
Points to note
To qualify for opening a resident savings account, one doesn’t need to fulfill the criteria of having stayed in India for more than 182 days.
Foreign nationals who come to India as tourists can open an NRO account which is valid for six months.
What are the different types of accounts which can be maintained by an NRI/PIO in India?
As per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) there are three types of banks accounts that can be maintained by an NRI / PIO in India.
Non-Resident Ordinary Rupee Account (NRO Account) : Any person resident outside India may open an NRO account with an authorized dealer or an authorized bank for the purpose of putting through a bona fide transaction in rupees. Opening of accounts by individual/ entities of Pakistan and entities of Bangladesh require prior approval of Reserve Bank of India. NRO accounts may be opened / maintained in the form of current, savings, recurring or fixed deposit accounts.
Non-Resident (External) Rupee Account (NRE Account) : NRE account may be in the form of savings, current, recurring or fixed deposit accounts (with maturity of minimum one year). Such accounts can be opened only by the NRI/PIO himself and not through the holder of the power of attorney. NRIs may be permitted to open NRE account with their resident close relatives (relative as defined in Section 6 of the Companies Act, 1956) on ‘former or survivor ‘basis. The resident close relative shall be eligible to operate the account as a Power of Attorney holder in accordance with the extant instructions during the life time of the NRI/PIO account holder.
Foreign Currency Non Resident (Bank) Account – FCNR (B) Account : FCNR account stands for foreign currency non-resident bank account wherein a non-resident individual of Indian origin can maintain a fixed deposit in foreign currency and earn regular interest in the same.
Ref:Centre for Investment Education and Learning (CIEL).
Contributions by Girija Gadre, Arti Bhargava and Labdhi Mehta, Economic Times