Aadhar card for NRI (Non-Resident Indians) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders

A few years back in early 2016, The Unique Identification Authority of India, a central government agency proposed a plan to assign unique numbers to each citizen of the country after collecting their biometric values and storing them. Today, the Aadhar card serves as a proof of identity and address for millions of Indians. But what about the Non- Resident Indians (NRIs) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders? Are they eligible for getting an Aadhar card? How can they get one if they are eligible? Read more to know about Aadhar cards for NRIs and OCI cardholders.

Why do you need an Aadhar card?

An Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to Indian residents after meeting certain identification conditions set by the UIDAI. It aims to provide universal identity to every resident of India. Any individual who is a resident of India regardless of age or gender can voluntarily enrol to have an Aadhar number. The enrollment is done only once and is valid for the entire life. 

 The benefits and uses of the Aadhar card are many. To start with, Aadhar offers a sole source of identity substantiation all over the country for its residents. It allows you to get benefits of government subsidies that you are qualified for, like LPG subsidy and lets you sign legal documents electronically. You can also avail many facilities easily like the opening of bank accounts, applying for passports and many more. Thus, with the Aadhar card scheme, the Indian government can reach out to the residents of the country in the distribution of numerous subsidies, benefits, and other services. With the increasing importance of the Aadhar card, it has become the most popular and biggest biometrics-based identification scheme in the world.

Aadhar card for NRIs and OCI cardholders:

As per the Aadhaar Act, 2016, “NRIs/PIO/OCI cardholders are eligible for enrolment of Aadhaar card only if they reside in India for over 182 days in the last twelve months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment. It is clarified that NRIs/PIOs/OCIs will not be required to produce/link Aadhaar Card to any authorized authority in India unless they are eligible/holders of Aadhar Card.” If the NRI has not lived in the country for at least 182 days in the last 12 months, although being a citizen of India, he or she will not become eligible to avail Aadhaar.

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However, in July 2019, the Government released an intimation to ensure quicker processing for NRIs with Aadhaar on Arrival“. The amendment to the bill proposed that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will now issue Aadhaar cards on arrival to NRIs who hold Indian passports as opposed to the traditional method of waiting for a mandatory 182 days. 

According to this, NRIs with Indian passport can now apply for Aadhar on arrival or by scheduling a prior appointment, thus doing away with the requirement for a mandatory 182-day waiting period. A valid Indian passport will be accepted as proof of identity, proof of address, and date of birth document. In case if the NRI’s passport doesn’t have an Indian address, he/she can submit any other UIDAI- approved Proof of Address documents as proof of address. However, the application process for the Aadhar card still remains the same.

The application process for Aadhar card for NRIs and OCI cardholders:

1. Booking the appointment 

  • NRIs and OCI cardholders who want to apply for an Aadhaar card can visit the UIDAI website and look for a UIDAI authorized enrolment centre that is close to their residence. The time for enrolment will be intimated to the contact number that is provided at the time of booking the appointment. 
  • After selecting the enrolment centre, he/she can directly go to the authorized Aadhaar enrolment centre with the proof of identity and other necessary documents.

2. Submitting the necessary documents

  • NRIs willing to enrol for Aadhar must have a few basic documents with them. They are a Birth certificate, Photo ID proof, and school certificate. Basically, you need proof of identity, proof of address, and proof of date of birth. In such cases, a valid Indian passport can be presented for verification. NRIs should also have to present specific documents that present their proof of relationship to another country. For OCI card holders, proof of identity, proof of address, proof of date of birth along with the evidence of their citizenship status with the country they’re residing in must be submitted.

3. Submitting biometric information

  • After collecting and verifying all the documents, the applicants are requested to provide the biometric information that will be linked to the information collected through the documents. 
  • The biometric identification process involves scanning the fingerprints of all 10 fingers, Iris scanning and they’ll take a live passport size photo of the applicant.
  • The Biometric information provided at the enrolment centre can never be changed except for children who will be asked to update at the age of 15 years. Differently-abled people who cannot provide their fingerprints will be permitted to skip it and provide other biometric information like photographs and iris scanning.

4. Acknowledgement slip

  • After this process, an Aadhar official will hand over an acknowledgment slip containing the 28-digit enrolment ID which can be used for tracking the Aadhar card status with the application.

Thus, every resident of India can apply for an Aadhar number and Non-resident Indians (NRIs) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders with valid Indian passport can apply for Aadhar on arrival to India or by scheduling a prior appointment, without the 182-day waiting period. However, one should note that the modalities for the Aadhar application remains unchanged.

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