Types of NRI Accounts You Should Know About in 2024

Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) have various options when it comes to banking in India. Lets explore the types of NRI accounts, including NRE, NRO, and FCNR, and make informed financial decisions.

Types of NRI Accounts

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What is an NRI Account?

An NRI account, short for Non-Resident Indian account, is a special type of bank account designed to meet the financial needs of individuals who are classified as Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). 

These accounts are governed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and are subject to specific terms and conditions. There are three main types of NRI accounts:

  1. NRE Account (Non-Resident External Account)
  2. NRO Account (Non-Resident Ordinary Account)
  3. FCNR (B) Account (Foreign Currency Non-Resident Account)

To be eligible to open these NRI accounts, individuals must meet specific residency criteria as defined by the Income Tax Act 1961. 

Types of NRI Accounts

1. Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) Savings Account/Fixed Deposit Account

Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) accounts serve as a financial tool for NRIs to manage their income earned both within India and from abroad. These accounts are denominated in Indian Rupees (INR), and when funds are deposited, any foreign currency is converted into INR at the prevailing exchange rates. 

NRO accounts are versatile and suitable for holding income generated within India or received from overseas sources, including rental income, dividends, pensions, and other earnings. It’s important to note that interest income earned in an NRO account is subject to Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) in India, with the applicable rate dependent on total income and the terms of the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with the NRI’s country of residence. 

NRIs can also have joint account holders, including other NRIs or resident Indians, with the latter typically operating under the “Former or Survivor” mode. NRE accounts interest rates can vary greatly depending on the bank issuing the account. 

2. Non-Resident External (NRE) Savings Account/Fixed Deposit Account

Non-Resident External accounts, on the other hand, are specifically designed for NRIs to park their foreign income in India. Similar to NRO accounts, NRE accounts are maintained in INR, and foreign currency deposited into these accounts undergoes conversion at the current exchange rate. 

NRE savings accounts are typically used to house savings generated from foreign income sources, such as earnings from employment abroad. The unique feature of NRE bank accounts is their full repatriability, allowing both the principal amount and the interest earned to be freely transferred back to the foreign account without restrictions. 

Moreover, the interest income in NRE bank accounts is non-taxable in India, making it a tax-efficient choice for NRIs. These accounts can also have joint account holders, including other NRIs or resident Indians, with a similar “Former or Survivor” mode of operation when resident Indians are included.

3. Foreign Currency Non-Resident (FCNR) Fixed Deposit Account

Foreign Currency Non-Resident (FCNR) accounts cater specifically to NRIs seeking to maintain their deposits in foreign currencies. FCNR accounts require account holders to open and maintain them in foreign currency denominations. NRIs can choose from a list of prescribed foreign currencies, which may include US Dollars (USD), Canadian Dollars (CAD), Euros (EUR), and more. 

Like NRE accounts, both the principal amount and the interest earned in FCNR accounts are fully repatriable, allowing funds to be transferred back to the foreign account without restrictions. Additionally, interest income earned in FCNR accounts is non-taxable in India, providing a tax-efficient investment option. The flexibility of FCNR accounts lies in the choice of currency, allowing NRIs to maintain their deposits in the currency of their country of residence or preference.

Differences Between the Types of NRI Bank Accounts

Here are some of the key differences between NRE and NRI account and an FCNR account-

ParameterNRO AccountNRE AccountFCNR Account
Currency used for depositsINR- Indian RupeeINR- Indian RupeeUSD- US DollarsCAN- Canadian DollarsAUD- Australian DollarsSGD- Singapore DollarsEUR- EuroGBP- British Pound SterlingCHF- Swiss FrancsJPY- Japanese Yen
Types of accountssavings, current, or fixed deposit accounts.savings, current, and fixed deposit accounts.Only fixed deposit accounts, with a minimum maturity period of 1 year
Use/Purpose of accountto deposit income earned within India in Indian Rupees (INR).to deposit income originating from their country of residence in INR.to deposit earnings from their country of residence in any of the nine specified currencies.
Joint account facilityCan open with another NRI or resident.Only with other NRI.Only with other NRI
Effect of exchange rateNot influenced by current exchange rates.Subject to the influence of prevailing exchange rates.Influenced by current exchange rates when currency conversion is a factor, and vice versa.
Fixed deposit time periodBased on the bank/financial institutions’s guidelines.Based on the bank/financial institutions’s guidelines.Maturity tenure of 5-10 years.
Repatriability of the balance amountInterest earnings are fully repatriable, but the principal amount can only be repatriated up to a limit of 1 million USD or its equivalent in a fiscal year.The entire balance is entirely repatriable.The entire balance is entirely repatriable.
TaxationBoth the principal amount and the interest earned are subject to taxation.The entire balance, comprising both interest and principal, is eligible for a tax exemption.Interest earned on FCNR deposits enjoys a tax exemption.

Eligibility Criteria for Opening an NRI Account

The eligibility criteria for opening NRE, NRO, and FCNR (B) accounts may vary depending on the specific bank. However, there are common eligibility criteria that apply across all financial institutions in India for NRI accounts. The following categories of individuals are generally eligible to open these accounts:
Read: Know About NRI Investment Opportunities in India

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  • Individuals employed, running a business, or engaged in some form of trade in a foreign country.
  • Individuals employed in roles such as the Indian Navy, airlines registered with foreign countries, work on an oil rig, or with overseas shipping companies, requiring them to be outside India’s domestic territories for at least 182 days.
  • Government employees holding diplomatic passports.
  • Students pursuing their education in foreign countries.

Documents Required for Opening an NRI Account

When applying to open an NRI account, you will typically be asked to provide the following documents and information:

  • Completed application form for the specific type of NRI account you wish to open.
  • Photocopies of relevant passport pages that contain details such as your name, address, date of birth, passport issuance date, and expiration date.
  • Proof of employment, which may include an employment letter or contract if you are employed, or evidence of business ownership or trade if applicable.
  • Visa-related documents such as a work permit, student visa, visa permit, employment visa, or residence visa, depending on your status and the type of NRI account you are opening.
  • Any additional Know Your Customer (KYC) documents that the bank may require to comply with regulatory guidelines.

It’s important to note that specific documentation requirements can vary between banks and may also depend on the type of NRI account you intend to open. Different financial institutions may have their forms and additional requirements, so it’s advisable to contact your chosen bank for precise details regarding the documentation needed to open an NRI account.

Advantages of an NRI Account

  1. Facilitates Investment in Financial Instruments: NRIs can engage in trading market-linked financial instruments like equity shares and debt instruments through their NRI accounts, thanks to schemes like the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS) or NRI Portfolio Investment provided by financial institutions
  2. Tax Benefits: NRIs with NRE and FCNR (B) accounts can enjoy tax-free interest earnings on their deposits as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act 1961.
  3. High Returns: NRIs who opt to park their funds in fixed deposit accounts, such as NRE FDs or FCNR, can earn substantial returns on their total deposits with minimal risk
  4. Avoidance of Exchange Rate Fluctuations: With an FCNR account, individuals can deposit their foreign earnings without the need for conversion into Indian Rupees (INR).

Disadvantages of an NRI Account

  1. Low Liquidity: For NRIs looking to safeguard their finances against exchange rate fluctuations, investing in FCNR accounts means committing to fixed deposit accounts with maturity tenures typically ranging from 1 to 5 years. This limited liquidity can pose challenges for those in need of more flexible access to their funds.
  2. Prone to Risk: Deposits made in foreign currencies within an NRE account are subject to conversion into Indian Rupees. Consequently, these deposits may experience fluctuations in value due to changes in the exchange rate, potentially resulting in losses during repatriation

Who Should Opt for NRI Accounts?

NRI accounts are well-suited for individuals with specific financial needs and circumstances. Here’s a detailed look at who should consider opening NRI accounts:
Read: Navigating the NRI Home Loan Maze: A Comprehensive Guide

Source of Income in India

Individuals who have a source of income in India, such as rental income, dividends, or other earnings, can open an NRO account to manage and park such funds.

Dependents in India

NRIs who have dependents or financial obligations in India, or those planning to return to India in the future, may find it beneficial to open NRI accounts. These accounts facilitate remittances and provide a means to manage financial commitments in India.

Participation in Indian Stock Market

Individuals interested in participating in stock market trading in India can open NRI accounts, enabling them to engage in market transactions and investments.

It’s important to note that the three types of NRI accounts (NRO, NRE, and FCNR) have distinct terms, conditions, and features that cater to varying financial requirements. Additionally, terms and conditions may slightly vary depending on the specific financial institution or bank. Therefore, individuals should conduct thorough financial planning and assess their specific requirements to determine the most suitable and best NRI account(s) for their needs.
Read: Mastering NRI Repatriation: Your Guide to Efficient Financial Transactions

How Can NoBroker Help?

NoBroker offers a range of services and assistance tailored to the needs of NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) who are interested in buying, selling, or managing properties in India. Here’s a detailed explanation of how NoBroker can help NRIs:

Property Search: NoBroker provides a user-friendly online platform where NRIs can search for properties in India. They can browse through a wide selection of properties, including apartments, houses, plots, and commercial spaces, across various cities and regions.

Verified Listings: NoBroker ensures that property listings are verified, which helps in reducing the risk of fraudulent listings. NRIs can trust the authenticity of the properties they find on the platform.

Property Management: For NRIs who own properties in India, NoBroker offers property management services. This includes finding suitable tenants, handling rental agreements, and managing property maintenance and repairs on the owner’s behalf. This service can be particularly valuable for NRIs who may not be physically present in India to oversee their properties.
Read: Financial Planning Strategies for NRIs

Tenant Services: NRIs looking to rent out their properties in India can use NoBroker to find reliable tenants. The platform offers assistance in tenant verification, background checks, and lease agreements, ensuring a hassle-free rental experience.

Assistance with Legal and Financial Matters: NoBroker provides guidance on legal and financial aspects related to property transactions in India. NRIs can get assistance in understanding the legal requirements, tax implications, and financial considerations when buying or selling property in India.

Property Valuation: NoBroker offers property valuation services, helping NRIs determine the fair market value of their properties. This information is essential for making informed decisions about selling or renting out a property.

Dedicated NRI Services: NoBroker’s NRI services are specifically designed to cater to the unique needs of non-resident Indians. These services aim to simplify the process of property management and transactions from abroad.

Customized Assistance: NoBroker’s team of experts can provide personalized assistance to NRIs based on their specific requirements. Whether it’s finding the right property, managing existing properties, or navigating legal and financial complexities, NoBroker offers tailored solutions.

NoBroker’s online platform and dedicated NRI services aim to make property transactions and management in India more accessible and convenient for NRIs, regardless of their geographical location.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the different types of NRI accounts?

A.The main NRI account types in India are NRE (Non-Resident External), NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary), and FCNR (Foreign Currency Non-Resident).

Q2. What is the difference between NRE and NRO accounts?

A. NRE accounts are for foreign income, fully repatriable, and tax-free. NRO accounts are for Indian and foreign income, partially repatriable, and subject to Indian taxes.

Q3. Who can open an NRI account in India?

A. NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) and PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin) are eligible to open NRI accounts.

Q4. Are NRI accounts taxable in India?

A. Interest income in NRE accounts is non-taxable. Interest income in NRO accounts is subject to TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) in India.

Q5. Can a resident Indian be a joint account holder in an NRI account?

A. Yes, resident Indians can be joint account holders in NRI accounts, with specific conditions and operational modes depending on the account type.

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Siri Hegde K

Siri loves reading and writing about anything and everything. A recent Culinary Arts graduate turned content writer, she finds the real estate ecosystem particularly intriguing and this is seen in her work.

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