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The below content is purely for informational purposes and is not intended to constitute advisory of any kind. Please note, these are in-depth articles which are best viewed on large screen devices like laptops, desktops and tablets. The position reflected in this article has been updated as of January 15, 2024.
 

A Public Provident Fund (PPF) is a long-term savings and investment scheme offered by the Government of India. It helps you save funds for the future while providing tax benefits and a guaranteed return on your investment. The minimum and maximum deposits allowed in a PPF account are ₹500 and ₹1.5 lakh per Financial Year (April-March). Interest rates are reviewed by the Government of India every quarter and can be revised. This article provides insights to Non-Resident Indians (NRI) on how to manage their PPF investments, once their residential status changes.
 

Can an NRI open a PPF account?

As an NRI/Person of Indian Origin (PIO)/Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), you are not eligible to open a new PPF account. However, you can continue to make fresh contributions to your existing investment or prematurely close it (if you have held it for five or more years). According to the prevailing PPF rules for NRIs, on maturity, you can transfer the proceeds of your PPF account only to your Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO) account.

To stay compliant with the prevailing regulations, it is crucial to promptly update your residency status with the bank or post office where your PPF account is held. Please note, a minimum deposit of ₹500 annually is required for the PPF account to stay active.

Did you know?

A standard PPF scheme has a tenure of 15 years, which a resident can extend by a block of five years. However, this extension is not permitted for an NRI.

Taxation and repatriation considerations as an NRI

Upon maturity or premature closure, you will receive funds in your NRO account. Later, you may transfer funds from your NRO account to your foreign bank account according to the repatriation rules of an NRO account. Proceeds from the maturity of PPF get accounted as capital income, repatriation of which is limited to a maximum of USD 1 million per year.

From a taxation perspective, please note that the interest earned on your PPF investment is non-taxable.

Conclusion

While you can continue to earn interest (which is tax-exempt) and make fresh investments in your existing PPF account, you cannot open a new PPF account. Once your account matures, you can receive the proceeds in your NRO account and later repatriate the funds to your country of residence.   

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can an NRI make a full or partial withdrawal of funds from their PPF account?

Like a resident Indian, an NRI can withdraw funds from their PPF account after the completion of five Financial Years (April-March) from the end of the financial year in which their account was initially opened. The maximum withdrawal is limited to 50% of the balance at the end of the four financial years, immediately preceding the year of withdrawal or at the end of the preceding financial year, whichever is lower. Please note that only one withdrawal is permitted per financial year.

This means that you will be permitted to withdraw funds after the sixth year of PPF holding. For instance, if you opened your PPF account on April 15, 2016 and you choose to withdraw your PPF balance on May 1, 2022, i.e. during the seventh financial year of PPF holding, you can withdraw a maximum of 50% of the PPF balance on March 31, 2019, i.e. at the end of the fourth financial year immediately preceding the year of withdrawal, or the PPF balance on March 31, 2023, i.e. at the end of the last financial year, whichever is lower.

 

A complete withdrawal, on the other hand, is only available on maturity. NRIs are permitted to close their PPF accounts prematurely. However, a penalty is applicable on premature closure.

 

Both, partial and complete withdrawals are deposited to your NRO account.

Can an NRI close their PPF account prematurely?

As per the Public Provident Fund Scheme, 2019 issued by the Government of India, NRIs can prematurely close their PPF account only after five years from the account opening date. Once you change your residency status to an NRI and submit a copy of your passport, visa, or income tax return to your bank or post office where your PPF account is held, you can prematurely close your account if you wish to.

Please note, that for such premature closure, the interest credited will be 1% lower than the rate at which interest has been credited in the account from the date of account opening. Please get in touch with your bank for more details.

Can NRIs take loan against their PPF account?

As per the Public Provident Fund Scheme, 2019 issued by the Government of India, NRIs can avail a loan against their PPF account from the third to the sixth financial year of opening the account. This means that if you apply for a loan during the fifth year of PPF holding, then the loan that can be availed will be a maximum of 25% of the closing PPF balance at the end of the third Financial Year (April-March).

 

Disclaimer:

The contents of this article/infographic are meant solely for informational purposes. The contents are generic in nature and are not intended to serve as a substitute for specific advice on any matter whatsoever. The information is subject to updation, completion and verification and the applicable norms may keep changing materially from time to time. This information is also not intended for distribution or use by any person in any jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to applicable laws or would subject ICICI Bank Limited/its affiliates to any licensing or registration requirements. ICICI Bank Limited/its affiliates and their representatives shall not be liable for any direct or indirect losses or liability incurred arising in connection with any decision taken by any person on the basis of this content. Please conduct your own due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making any decision. Terms and conditions of ICICI Bank and third parties apply. ICICI Bank is not responsible for third party services. Nothing contained herein shall constitute or be deemed to constitute an advice, invitation or solicitation to avail any products/ services of third parties.