NRIs Don’t Need Aadhaar Cards, Confirms UIDAI Chief

This post was originally published on 26 July 2017

Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) visiting India on vacation are exempted from showing Aadhaar cards for official purposes, the chief of Aadhaar authority in India has confirmed.

“NRIs are exempt from obtaining Aadhaar cards. These are only for Indians residing in the country and not for those living abroad,” clarified Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

  • UIDAI, which has issued 1.16 billion cards as of now, is responsible for the processing and authentication of data for Aadhaar and maintaining India’s Central Identities Data Repository.

As informed earlier on several occasions, NRIs are not eligible to obtain them in the first place and it is open only to long-term residents of the country, which they are not.

According to the official, circulars have been sent to all government departments, banks and education institutions, that NRIs are exempt.

However several NRIs are still facing hardships as officials in some departments are still demanding Aadhaar card for things like filing tax returns, school admissions etc.

If banks, or any Indian institutions, demand that NRIs produce Aadhaar for official transactions, simply inform them that NRIs are not eligible for the identity card issued to residents of India.

“Just tell them that we (NRIs) are not eligible for Aadhaar, therefore, don’t force us to produce it,” Dr Ajay Bhushan Pandey told Gulf News in a telephone interview from New Delhi.

Don’t believe misleading reports

Dr. Pandey urged NRIs not to pay attention to misleading reports in some sections of the media.

“I have asked a newspaper to correct a wrong report,” Dr Pandey said, referring to a news report published by a Dubai-based newspaper that quoted a State Bank of India executive urging NRIs to get Aadhaar at the earliest.

“They (the newspaper) did not give the correct information, or perhaps the banker did not know the correct information,” he said.

“Bank employees can talk about their own bank policy, but they should not talk about wrong things,” Dr. Pandey added.

Aadhaar is for residents only

Section 3.1 of the Aadhaar Act 2016 says that only a resident is entitled to an Aadhaar number.

“The Aadhaar Act 2016 refers to resident Indians, not expats. Officials in local departments in India should be aware of the rules and read the charter to spare us the confusion with their irresponsible statements,” Pandey also said while speaking to Khaleej Times.

The term “Resident Indian” refers to citizens who have resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to 182 days or more in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment.

This means that an NRI can apply for an Aaadhaar only if he or she has been living in India for six months. Those Indians on a short vacation in their home country do not need a card.

Residents must state in disclosure clause of the form that they have been living in the country without a break for six months, which again rules out NRIs.

What about those NRIs who obtained Aadhaar

On whether NRIs who have applied, or obtained, Aadhaar risk prosecution for committing an illegality, Dr. Pandey said: “I don’t think we will extend it that far. At this point, what we would like to make sure is that NRIs do not need Aadhaar”.

Asked whether NRIs who already obtained Aadhaar can use it in India for official transaction, Dr. Pandey said: “If they obtained it when they were residents and later became NRIs, they can use it freely.”

When pointed out to him that most of them took the card without knowing the legal position, he said : “They did not follow the law. I cannot advise someone who did not follow the law. I have to look at it case by case.”

Dr Pandey said that even if the government wants to extend the ambit of Aadhaar to NRIs in the future, the existing law has to be amended by parliament. A mere amending of the rules by the government is not enough, he explained.

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3 thoughts on “NRIs Don’t Need Aadhaar Cards, Confirms UIDAI Chief”

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  1. Sukhendu Majumdar

    NRI with OCI must have the ability to get Aadhaar card without the condition of 182 days residence because they own houses and flats in india and also have jobs overseas which prevents them from long vacations

  2. As per the recent news, Aadhaar card is mandatory for acquiring mobile sim cards and also the existing mobile subscribers have to produce their Aadhaar cards in order to maintain their subscription further. So for an NRI how can they be able to subscribe for a mobile connection if they are not eligible for obtaining an Aadhaar card?
    Besides this as mentioned above, there are lot of misleading reports surrounding Aadhaar card as the news agencies/medias are not specifying who are exempted from obtaining Aadhaar cards where false information are being passed on to the people and hence leading to a situation where the NRIs are denied from getting the service because they don’t have an Aadhaar card and subsequently forcing them to take Aadhaar cards by giving a false declaration that they are residents in India.
    So I believe the government should also take necessary measures to inform the public and concerned departments in a much more effective and efficient manner on this concern.

  3. I live in Dubai, I possess an adhar card I obtained it more than 2 years ago.
    I have linked my adhar card with my pan card since I had received the email from the income tax department requesting me to do so, since I had to file my returns this July. Will I face any problem. Please let me know.

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