Aiming to enhance Indian Diaspora participation in various Indian governments’ flagship schemes; the Indian government has initiated issuing AADHAAR cards to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). Unlike the present OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) cards that NRIs have, which give them benefits such as life-long visa among others, an AADHAAR card will only be a proof of identity.
Importantly, the External Affairs Minister (EAM) Mrs. Sushma Swaraj had recently said, “So far Aadhar card has been given to those Indians who live in India. It is not for non-resident Indians. But you will be happy to know that the Prime Minister wants the card to be given to the NRIs the way it is issued to people living in India”. Calling upon the Diaspora to be part of the country’s growth, EAM had said, “It is time for you to come back to India”.
Under the AADHAAR card programme, every Indian citizen has to be provided with a 12-digit unique identification number for which biometric information is collected. This AADHAAR number is recognized as proof of identity and is increasingly being considered a valid document to avail various public services. In India, the government has, so far, issued AADHAAR cards to over 920 million citizens.
The AADHAAR card is available free of cost to all citizen and residents of India, including NRIs and resident foreign nationals, regardless of their citizenship. The procedure and document requirements for NRIs and Foreigners are similar, as for any other resident of India. However, if any NRI wishes to apply for the AADHAAR card, they have to be physically present at any of the AADHAAR card center in India.