When you move to a foreign country and your residential status changes, you cannot hold your existing bank accounts. As per the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), it’s illegal and can attract hefty penalties. To manage your finances smoothly in the home country, it’s important to have the right bank account. As an NRI, you can operate a Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO), Non-Resident External (NRE), or Foreign Currency Non-Resident (FCNR) bank account.
Both NRO and NRE are rupee designated accounts. The NRO account is akin to the resident bank account and is typically used to route locally sourced income. The interest earned on this account is taxable. And yes, only USD 1 million per year can be repatriated from NRO accounts. The NRE account is perfect to park foreign earnings. It is tax-free and freely repatriable. FCNR bank account is only for fixed deposits. It allows you to save money in foreign currency without any risk of exchange rate fluctuations. FCNR funds are fully transferable, and the entire amount is exempted from Indian income tax.
You can also opt for an NRI premium account to enjoy an awesome banking experience. The eligibility criterion for the same is generally the maintenance of an Average Quarterly Balance (AQB) of INR 25,000. The account, designed to ensure hassle-free banking operations provide NRIs with exclusive benefits, complimentary banking services, great discounts, preferential services, and greater transactional power.
Here is the brief process to open an NRI account online:
- Visit the NRI website of the ICICI bank to open an NRI account online or login to the ICICI Bank NRI Net banking portal.
- Apply for a suitable account/deposit through the portal. Submit the KYC documents, including attested copies of the passport, proof for NRI status, proof of present residential address abroad, VISA copy, FATCA declaration as applicable, PAN (Permanent Account Number), etc.
- Once the documents are uploaded, one can opt for a call-back by the bank official to assist with pending requirements, if any.
- Post the submission of KYC documents; one needs to fund the NRI account. For NRO accounts, the funds may be transferred from another NRO account or any other regular bank account. In contrast, an NRE account may be funded only through inward remittances from outside India or transfer from another NRE/ FCNR account.
- Once the account opening procedure has been completed, one can also add a nominee to the account.
Value-added facilities of NRI accounts include the following:
● Preferred exchange rates for currency exchange
● International ATM/Debit Card
● Concierge service
● Benefits for family members in India
● Insurance bouquet
● Access to discounted healthcare
● Higher Transaction Limits
● Free cash withdrawal at ATMs
● 24-hour customer care helpline
● Higher interest rate
● Complimentary net/mobile banking
● SMS & email transaction alert
● Nomination Facility
● Monthly email statement
If there is no discrepancy, your NRI account will become active for transactions within a few days. Once it’s opened, you will receive a welcome kit from the bank with your debit card, passbook, checkbook, PIN, etc. Opening an NRI account in India is easy. Just assess your financial needs and decide whether you want a regular or NRI account premium. If still unsure, talk to the relationship manager of the select bank for expert guidance.