All NRIs, including Indian expats in the UAE with a valid passport can now apply for the unique biometric identity card in India. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: The Indian government has approved the issuance of Aadhaar for Non-Resident Indians. This means all NRIs, including Indian expats in the UAE with a valid passport can now apply for the unique biometric identity card in India.

Here is what NRIs should know about Aadhaar.

What is Aadhaar card?

It is a nation-wide biometric identity card issued for Indian residents. A unique 12-digit number is issued to each Aadhaar card holder. For UAE residents, Emirates ID is similar to Aadhaar card.

Why was Aadhaar not given to NRIs so far?

Non-Resident Indians were ineligible for applying for Aadhaar earlier because they could not meet the criterion of staying at least 182 days consecutively in India. If they stayed in India for this period (six months), they could lose their visas in their country of residence like the UAE.

How did NRIs become eligible to apply for Aadhaar?

On July 5, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to issue Aadhaar cards to NRIs upon arrival in India without having to wait for the mandatory six-month stay in the country. The proposal was made during the announcement of the Union Budget 2019, the minister’s first budget speech to parliament.

When did NRIs become eligible to apply for Aadhaar?

On September 23, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues Aadhaar, rolled out the system for accepting applications from NRIs with valid passports. This followed the publication of a gazette notification on September 20 that a Non-Resident Indian, after his arrival in India, shall be entitled to obtain an Aadhaar number.

So, how can NRIs apply for Aadhaar?

NRIs can apply for Aadhaar when they visit India. They can take an online appointment for submitting the documents and biometric data at the Aadhaar enrolment centre of their choice in India. They can also visit the Aadhaar enrolment centre in person, wait in the queue and apply for Aadhaar. Booking their appointment online will help them save time.

How can NRIs book online appointment for Aadhaar?

To save time, NRIs can book their appointment through UIDAI’s website https://uidai.gov.in/ They can select an Aadhaar enrolment centre and book an appointment. This will enable NRIs in getting the Know Your Customer (KYC) done quickly and cut the waiting time at the enrolment centre .

What are the documents needed for NRIs to apply for Aadhaar?

The primary document required for NRIs to apply for Aadhaar is a valid passport. It will be accepted as Proof of Identity (PoI), Proof of Address (PoA), and Date of Birth (DoB) document.

What if NRIs’ address in the passport is not valid?

In case NRI’s passport does not have a valid Indian address, he/she shall be allowed to submit any of the other UIDAI approved documents as proof of address.

What else should NRIs furnish for Aadhaar?

Once they reach India, they can visit the Aadhaar enrolment centre they chose and submit the passport copy and record their biometrics and furnish other additional documents for proof of address if required for enrolling for Aadhaar.

Where will NRIs get their Aadhaar delivered?

Once the applicant is enrolled with the registry, he or she will receive the Aadhaar Letter containing the 12-digit unique Aadhaar number at the Indian address submitted during the time of application.

What are the major benefits of using Aadhaar for NRIs?

NRIs can use the Aadhar number as their paperless, digital proof of identity across India. They can use it for doing cash transactions above Rs50,000 as the government has recently allowed interchangeability of PAN –Permanent Account Number—and Aadhaar. They can use it for filing Income Tax Returns for taxable income in India, for booking railway tickets, to apply for driving license and for availing various other services which require photo identity in India.

Is Aadhaar mandatory for NRIs now?

Aadhaar has not been made mandatory for NRIs now. NRIs who wish to register themselves with the identity registry and get their unique ID number can do it voluntarily.