The below content is purely for informational purposes and is not intended to constitute advisory of any kind. Please note, these are in-depth articles which are best viewed on large screen devices like laptops, desktops and tablets. The position reflected in this article has been updated as of January 15, 2024.
When moving overseas, ensuring that your financial and banking transactions in India continue seamlessly is essential. Whether you are a student or a professional, knowing how to handle your banking operations can save you time, reduce stress and allow you to manage your investments in India.
Here are the top seven banking and financial to-dos that should be on your list before leaving for overseas.
1. Convert your bank accounts in India
When you move overseas, your residential status changes to a Non-Resident Indian (NRI). As per the prevailing Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) regulations, an NRI is mandated to either:
Close the existing resident savings account in India and open a new NRI account; or
Convert your resident savings account to a Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) account.
Did you know?
Even when your residential status changes to a non-resident, your Permanent Account Number (PAN) and Aadhaar number remain unchanged.
What are the different types of NRI bank accounts?
As an NRI, you have the option to open a Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO), Non-Resident External (NRE) and a Foreign Currency Non-Resident Bank (FCNR (B)) account. Let’s understand these accounts briefly:
NRO account: This account is suitable for NRIs who want to use income earned in India to manage their expenses in India. It is an Indian Rupee (₹) denominated account i.e., it is maintained in Indian Rupee. It allows you to deposit earnings generated within India, including rental income, dividend payments, pension funds, gifts, and the proceeds from the sale of property located in India.
Know more about an NRO account here.
NRE account: It is an Indian Rupee (₹) denominated account. As an NRI, you can deposit funds that you earn abroad. You can freely repatriate, i.e., transfer funds to your overseas account without any limits. The interest earned in this account is tax-free in India.
Know more about an NRE account here.
FCNR (B) account: This account lets you maintain a Fixed Deposit (FD) in India in foreign currency for a tenure ranging from one to five years. The funds and the interest earned are tax-free in India and are freely repatriable with no limits. This account lets you seamlessly transfer funds from your NRE account or vice versa.
Know more about an FCNR (B) account here.
To know more about the differences and advantages of holding NRE, NRO and FCNR (B) accounts, click here
Click here to explore ICICI Bank’s NRI banking products and services.
2. Open an overseas/international bank account
Some Indian banks, through their overseas subsidiaries, offer the option of opening an international bank account from India. You can access your foreign currency from the day you land abroad. This will help you save the forex conversion fee which is applicable on using Indian debit/credit cards internationally.
You can fund this account from your resident savings account before moving abroad. All credits to your international bank account from India should be made in accordance with the prevailing FEMA regulations and outward remittance limits defined under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS).
Banks provide country-specific accounts maintained in your destination’s local currency. For example, ICICI Bank UK offers HomeVantage current account for residents of the United Kingdom. ICICI Bank Canada offers Hello Canada accounts for residents and Student GIC accounts for Indian students. This account can be opened instantly from India through the digital channels of ICICI UK PLC and ICICI Bank Canada.
Students and their parents can also visit ICICI Bank Campus Power to get comprehensive insights on pursuing higher education in India and abroad.
3. Appoint a mandate holder or PoA
Before you move overseas, you may consider granting a Power of Attorney (PoA) or appointing a mandate holder to manage your financial and banking transactions in India. While a mandate holder can operate your bank account or make investments on your behalf in India, a PoA can manage a broader range of matters.
Did you know?
The person holding your PoA can operate your bank lockers even after you move overseas.
4. Build a strong credit history abroad
If you have recently moved to a foreign country, building a credit history is important. A good credit reputation abroad will allow you to secure loans at lower interest rates, help with rent accommodation, and obtain lower insurance premiums. The starting point is to open a bank account and transact in the country you are relocating to.
5. Review your investment portfolio
Once you decide to move overseas, you should re-evaluate the assets and investments you hold in India. Managing these investments from abroad may require a significant effort from your end. Accordingly, you should choose whether to retain or sell your existing investments, such as Mutual Funds (MF), shares, Public Provident Fund (PPF),etc.
- When your residency status changes to an NRI, you will need to inform your bank, broking house, Asset Management Companies (AMCs), insurance provider etc., about the change of your residency status. You should update your Know Your Customer (KYC) details to state your NRI status.
- You can continue holding your existing MF units. However, you will have to route your Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) via your NRE/NRO accounts.
- You have to close your resident demat account and open a new NRE/NRO demat account under the Portfolio Investment NRI Scheme (PINS) to continue investing in the stock market. All the securities held in your resident demat account should be transferred to your NRI demat account. Investments under PINS could be on a repatriable (by way of debit to NRE/FCNR(B) account) or a non-repatriable basis (by way of debit to NRO account).
- You can continue to hold and make fresh investments in your existing PPF or National Savings Certificate (NSC) accounts until maturity* on a non-repatriatable basis. However, you cannot open a new PPF/NSC account.
- As for your National Pension Scheme (NPS), you can make fresh investments only in NPS Tier I and not in Tier II accounts. You can continue to hold your investment and update the bank account details in case you wish to link it to your newly opened NRE/NRO account.
While you can continue to hold your investments, capital gains earned on them may be taxable in India.
*As per the Government Savings Promotion General Rules, 2018 read with Public Provident Fund Scheme, 2019 and National Savings Certificates (VIII Issue) Scheme, 2019, if the account holder subsequently becomes an NRI during the period the account is in operation, the account may be continued till its maturity on the non-repatriation basis (i.e., the amount cannot be remitted outside India). Further, the account will not be allowed to be extended or continued beyond maturity.
6. Be compliant with your tax obligations
Before moving overseas, complete the following steps to ensure that you are tax-compliant:
- Submit Form 30C and essential documents (PAN card etc.), to the Income Tax (IT) department.
- Request an acknowledgement from the IT department for tax clearance.
- If necessary, the IT department may instruct you to apply for an Income Tax Clearance Certificate (ITCC).
- If instructed, complete the application process for an ITCC as per the IT department's instructions. Once you receive the ITCC, keep the original document.
- When relocating abroad, make sure to carry the acknowledgement of Form 30C or ITCC with you.
These steps will help you ensure compliance with tax regulations before moving abroad.
7. Re-assess your insurance plans
Even after relocating abroad, NRIs can maintain their insurance policies, including life insurance, and general insurance (e.g., health insurance, motor insurance, etc.). They must inform their insurance provider about the change in their residential status to non-resident and update their bank account information using the insurer's designated service channels. Submission of the required documents will also be necessary for a seamless process.
As an NRI, you need to review the geographical coverage and nationality requirements of your health insurance policies, as certain plans may only cover medical expenses incurred within India or cover only Indian residents. Currently, few health insurance companies offer premium-level plans that offer global coverage, subject to specific conditions (for example, exclusions for certain types of treatments such as chiropractic care).
You can also continue your general insurance policies such as motor insurance policies without any difficulty. These policies offer coverage in India for unexpected damages.
Please note, lapsed policies are subject to the terms and conditions of the insurance contract and the underwriting guidelines of the insurance company. As an NRI, you have the option to reinstate lapsed insurance policies.
It is important to review the terms and conditions of your insurance policies and seek guidance from your insurance provider to gain clarity on the geographical coverage and any limitations applicable when your residency status transitions to a non-resident.
When you are planning to move overseas, it is important to take care of your financial transactions in India. You can either close or convert your resident savings account to an NRO account or open new NRE, NRO and FCNR (B) accounts. While in India, you can consider opening an international bank account, which will help you transaction conviently while migration. You should review your investments and insurance policies and be tax-compliant before you leave.
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The contents of this article/infographic are meant solely for informational purposes. The contents are generic in nature and are not intended to serve as a substitute for specific advice on any matter whatsoever. The information is subject to updation, completion and verification and the applicable norms may keep changing materially from time to time. This information is also not intended for distribution or use by any person in any jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to applicable laws or would subject ICICI Bank Limited/its affiliates to any licensing or registration requirements. ICICI Bank Limited/its affiliates and their representatives shall not be liable for any direct or indirect losses or liability incurred arising in connection with any decision taken by any person on the basis of this content. Please conduct your own due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making any decision. Terms and conditions of ICICI Bank and third parties apply. ICICI Bank is not responsible for third party services. Nothing contained herein shall constitute or be deemed to constitute an advice, invitation or solicitation to avail any products/services of third parties