Dubai: Non-Resident Indians, including Indian expats in the UAE, with valid passports can now apply for Aadhaar, India’s unique identity card which was only issued to residents of India earlier, Gulf News can reveal.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which issues Aadhaar, has rolled out the system for accepting applications from NRIs complying with the Indian government’s decision to remove the mandatory criterion of 180-day stay in India.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Friday issued a gazette notification in this regard.
“This notification shall come into force from the date of publication in the official Gazette,” a copy of the notification in possession of Gulf News stated.
“Consequent to the publication of the notification N. 3119 dated September 20, 2019, Non Resident Indian (NRI) after his arrival in India, shall be entitled to obtain Aadhaar number,” the UIDAI said in a circular on Monday.
The circular, a copy which is also with Gulf News, has listed the procedures for the enrollment of NRIs for Aadhaar.
An NRI’s valid Indian passport shall be accepted as Proof of Identity (PoI), Proof of Address (PoA), and Date of Birth (DoB) document, it stated.
“In case NRI’s passport does not have a valid Indian address, he shall be allowed to submit any of the other UIDAI approved PoA documents as proof of address.”
The authority has issued a revised enrolment form with modified declaration for NRIs and asked verifiers at Aadhaar centres to ensure that the above procedures are complied with, for enrolment of NRIs.
Speaking to Gulf News from New Delhi, an official revealed that NRIs can now apply online through the authority’s website https://uidai.gov.in/ for booking an appointment at a selected Aadhaar enrolment centre.
“They can book online appointment even before they land in India. Once they reach here, they can visit the centre they chose and submit the passport copy and other documents required for enrolling for Aadhaar,” the official said.
Once the applicant is enrolled with the registry, he said the applicants will receive the Aadhaar Letter containing the 12-digit unique Aadhaar number at the Indian address submitted during the time of application.
The official clarified that Aadhaar is not mandatory for NRIs and those who wish to register themselves with the identity registry and get their ID can do it voluntarily.
“It was a demand from the NRIs and the government has now facilitated the system to provide it,” he added.
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.
Several Indian expats in the UAE had welcomed the move.
K.V. Shamsudheen, chairman of the Sharjah-based Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, was among them.
He thanked the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for heeding his request for the past five years. “NRIs are struggling in the absence of Aadhaar for land registration, to get PAN [permanent account number] card, children’s admission, to get SIM cards for mobile phones, to get new driving licence and renew it. NRIs will be now very happy because they can do all these things if they can have the Aadhaar card easily,” Shamsudheen told Gulf News.