Whether you’re returning to India after several vacations or simply planning to retire to the great subcontinent as your first visit, it’s likely that you’ll eventually want some form of Indian financial management. From a bank account to a small business, most retirees in India search for some form of local financial account.
Thankfully, foreign expatriates and retirees living in India can enjoy one of Asia’s best banking systems. With a variety of national and international banks offering services to non-Indians, managing your finances from India is far from difficult if you are an expatriate or non-Indian retiree living in India.
Foreign residents in India are free to open their own bank accounts, according to the documentation provided by the Reserve Bank of India. However, they face a variety of restrictions on what they can do with their account, including limits on the amount of money that can be transferred and money repatriation limits.
A wide variety of international banks operate in India, allowing expatriates and retirees the ability to bank domestically in India while relying on a brand they’re knowledgeable about. The largest of these foreign banks is HSBC, which has its own base of operations in India and is one of the country’s largest banks.
HSBC allows foreign expatriates and retirees living in India to open accounts for personal banking. There are very few restrictions on the opening of accounts – in fact, even a tourist can open a bank account. However, as per the RBI rules, there are a variety of restrictions on the usage and lifespan of a foreign bank account.
According to the RBI’s guidelines, bank accounts operated by tourists in India are for temporary use only, and must be closed after six months. This can be avoided by opening a bank account after you have been granted a long-term, non-tourist visa to remain in India, which will give you access to a range of account options.
If you have a work permit as part of your India visa, you’ll be able to open a long-term Rupee Denominated Resident Account either after you have landed in India or prior to your visit. HSBC and a variety of other banks also offer accounts that use a foreign currency, allowing expatriates to bank entirely from within India.
A wide variety of international banks operate in India, including ING, RHB Bank, and DBS Bank. As such, many expatriates and retirees living in India use foreign banking services – typically those based in Singapore or Hong Kong – to manage their finances, as well as a local India-based account for day-to-day finances.
This is arguably the easiest option for banking in India, allowing expatriates all of the convenience of an Indian bank account without the risks of banking in a new territory. For expatriates that would prefer to bank entirely within India, there are three different types of account available from Indian domestic banks:
i. Nonresident External Account
ii. Nonresident Ordinary Account
iii. Foreign Currency Nonresident Account
Of these three account types, only the first two maintain a balance in rupees. Due to their currency denomination, they’re by far the most convenience choice for retirees and expatriates that will conduct most of their business in rupees.
The second account type – a foreign currency nonresident account – is offered by most foreign banks operating in India, and is the ideal option for expatriates that plan to maintain a foreign banking presence, such as an account in Singapore or elsewhere in Asia.
Whether you opt to base all of your financial activities in India and choose a bank account in the local currency or choose to split your banking activity between an Indian account and a foreign bank, you’ll have no issues carrying out typical day-to-day financial tasks as an expatriate or retiree based in India.