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A Guide for New NRIs: Checklist of Dos and Don'ts

A Guide for New NRIs: Checklist of Dos and Don'ts


The FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) is a form that United States residents must file with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) if they have a financial interest in, or signature authority over, foreign financial accounts whose aggregate value exceeds $10,000 at any point during the calendar year. The FBAR is separate from and in addition to the individual's income tax return.

The FBAR must be filed electronically through the FinCEN's BSA E-Filing System and is due by April 15th of each year, with an automatic extension to October 15th. Failure to file the FBAR can result in significant fines and penalties, including civil fines of up to $10,000 per violation and criminal penalties of up to $250,000 and five years in prison.

It's important to note that the FBAR filing requirement applies to all United States residents, including U.S. citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), and individuals who meet the substantial presence test. It also applies to foreign corporations and partnerships that are created or organized in the United States or that have a U.S. owner.

Additionally, there are other forms that may need to be filed for foreign assets such as the Form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets) which is filed with the individual's tax return, the form 5471 (Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect To Certain Foreign Corporations) and the form 3520 (Annual Return To Report Transactions With Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts).

It is highly recommended to consult with a tax professional who has experience with foreign financial reporting requirements to ensure compliance with all the applicable laws and regulations.

Moving to a new country like United States as a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) can be both exciting and challenging. While you may be eager to explore new opportunities, it's essential to be prepared and aware of the dos and don'ts of being an NRI. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to help you navigate your transition to a new country as an NRI.

Dos for New NRIs:

  1. Register with the Indian Embassy or Consulate in the country of residence. This will ensure that you are informed of any important updates or events that may affect NRIs and also in case of an emergency you can contact them.
  2. Keep your passport and other important documents updated. It's important to keep your passport, visa, and other important documents up-to-date and in a safe place.
  3. Inform your bank and other financial institutions of your new address and contact details. This will ensure that you can continue to access your bank account and other financial services while you're abroad.
  4. File your taxes on time and comply with any tax regulations in the country of residence. Failure to file taxes or comply with tax laws can result in fines or penalties.
  5. Follow the local laws and regulations of the country of residence. This is important for staying in compliance with immigration laws and for maintaining good standing in the country.
  6. Maintain contact with family and friends in India. Stay connected with your loved ones back home through regular phone calls, video chats, or social media.
  7. Stay informed about the political and economic situation in India. This will help you stay up-to-date on significant developments that may affect you as an NRI.
  8. Purchase proper life, rental, car, and business insurance. It's important to protect yourself, your assets and your business from unexpected events, such as accidents, illnesses, and natural disasters. Make sure to research and compare different insurance options to find the best coverage for your needs.
  9.  If you have children, research schools or universities in the country of residence that offer an Indian curriculum or have a large Indian student population.
  10. Get a good Certified Public Accountant to advise you on taxes.
  11. Handle property and other assets in India. If you have property or assets in India, research the options for renting or selling them while you're abroad.
  12. Maintain and access Indian pension and retirement benefits. Research how to maintain and access your Indian pension and retirement benefits while you're abroad.
  13. Stay informed about Indian current affairs, and how to cast vote if you are eligible. Stay informed about the political and economic situation in India, and if you are eligible make sure to cast your vote in Indian elections.

Don'ts for New NRIs:

  1. Don't overstay your visa or break any immigration laws in the country of residence. This can result in fines, penalties, or even deportation.
  2. Don't engage in any illegal activities or activities that may harm India's reputation. This can result in legal trouble and damage to your reputation.
  3. Don't ignore any legal matters in India, such as pending court cases or unpaid debts. Failure to address legal matters can result in fines, penalties, or even arrest.
  4. Don't ignore any tax obligations in India. Failure to comply with Indian tax laws can result in fines, penalties, or even arrest.
  5. Don't forget your Indian roots and cultural heritage. It's important to maintain a connection to your culture and heritage while living abroad.
  6. Don't lose touch with your loved ones and friends in India. Staying connected with your loved ones is important for maintaining a sense of community and support.
  7. Don't neglect your health and well-being. Make sure to take care of your physical and mental health while adjusting to life in a new country.

Other tips for New NRIs:

  1. Opening a Bank account and transferring money between countries: Opening a bank account in the country of residence is important for managing your finances. You should also inform your Indian bank about your NRI status and ask them about their policies for transferring money between countries.
  2. Finding housing and employment: Research the housing and job market in the country of residence before you move. Websites such as Craigslist or Indeed can be helpful in finding housing and job opportunities.
  3. Adapting to local culture and customs: It's important to learn about the local culture and customs in the country of residence. This will help you navigate daily life and make friends.
  4. Healthcare and insurance options: Research healthcare and insurance options in the country of residence before you move.