NRI Joint Accounts – The Ultimate Guide
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NRI joint accounts, especially NRO Accounts, are an excellent way for NRIs to ensure the financial well-being of their loved ones in India. They may open accounts on a 'former or survivor' or 'either or survivor' basis. NRIs must also adhere to RBI guidelines while opening and operating NRI joint accounts.
When Tara Verma got an opportunity to move to Singapore, she was incredibly excited. But Tara is the sole breadwinner of her family, which comprises her older parents and a younger brother. By moving to Singapore, Tara would be able to lend better financial support to her parents. But since the bank account rules for NRIs are not the same as those for resident Indians, Tara had to find a way to ensure her parents kept receiving money on time. This is when she found out about remittance services and NRO Accounts. If you are in a similar situation as Tara, this article is for you.
Can an NRI Open a Joint Account with a Resident Indian?
The first question on Tara's mind was whether she could open an NRI Joint Account with a resident Indian, her mother, for instance. She quickly learnt that she could.
As an NRI, Tara could open a Joint Account with a resident Indian on a former or survivor basis. Also, she could only open a Non-Resident Ordinary (Rupee) or NRO account, wherein she could deposit her Singapore dollars. The money she deposits is automatically converted into INR.
A former or survivor account is where only one of the Joint Account holders can operate the account. As long as Tara is alive, she will be the designated "Former" account holder, and her mother may operate the account only in the event of Tara's death.
NRIs like Tara also have the option of opening an 'either-or survivor' bank account. As is apparent from the terms, this is an account both Tara and her mother can operate independently when either of them needs to use it.
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How to Open an NRI Joint Account with a Resident?
Here is how Tara and NRIs like her can open an NRI Joint Account with a resident Indian relative, in this case, her mother.
- Tara and her mother must obtain and fill the account opening form (available at the bank or downloadable online)
- They must submit the necessary documents, including their ID and address proof, PAN and Aadhaar or Form 60 (in the absence of PAN). As an NRI, Tara must also provide a copy of her passport with a stamped visa proving her NRI status, her foreign address proof and a duly signed declaration stating that she will not violate FEMA guidelines.
- The bank evaluates their documents and opens the account
Conditions Applicable for Opening and Operating an NRI Joint Account
While Tara can open her NRI Joint Account with her mother, she must adhere to the conditions set forth by the Reserve Bank of India, the central bank of the country. Here are the guidelines she must operate within if she opens a Joint NRI Account.
- NRIs must open a Joint Account only with a close relative who is a resident of India, for instance, their parents, sibling, spouse, children, grandparents, grandchildren, etc.
- The Joint Account may only be an NRO account in which the NRI can deposit money, and the resident Indian Joint Account holder can withdraw funds on either or survivor basis.
- Both account holders must follow the same rules and regulations applicable to their resident bank accounts on their NRI Joint Account.
- NRIs must also submit a declaration with their bank stating that the money in the Joint Account will not be used to violate any Foreign Exchange Management Act or FEMA guidelines.
- The account holders cannot transfer the money deposited in the account outside of India or to any other NRE or NRO account held by the NRI. It cannot be given as a gift as well.
- The resident account holder may use the Joint Account to conduct payments and transactions within India.
Converting Resident Account to NRI Account
When she assumes NRI status, Tara can no longer hold an individual resident account. She may either close her existing accounts or convert them to an NRO account. Alternatively, when Tara returns to India in future, she may convert her NRI accounts to Resident accounts conveniently. She simply needs to fill a form and submit the documents mentioned in it to convert her account.
If Tara wishes to send money to her family in India, she can use the NRO Joint Account or utilise online remittance services and send money to their Resident accounts separately from her bank account in Singapore. With NRI Joint Accounts, Tara and other NRIs like her can ensure their families in India are always financially secure.
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The purpose of this blog is not to provide advice but to provide information. Sound professional advice should be taken before making any investment decisions. The bank will not be responsible for any tax loss/other loss suffered by a person acting on the above.