The Aadhaar Card: Now a Mandatory Proof of Identification

Posted by Reading Time: 4 minutes
By Vasundhara Rastogi

The Aadhaar card contains a twelve-digit unique identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to all individuals residing in India, regardless of their citizenship. This means it is applicable for non-resident Indians (NRIs) and foreign residents, as well.

According to the Aadhaar Act, 2016, a ‘resident’ is an individual who has resided in India for 182 days or more in total in the previous one year prior to the date of application for Aadhaar. It is therefore applicable to expatriates who reside in India on long-term visas. However, Aadhaar is only meant to serve as a proof of identity and address, and does not equate to Indian citizenship.

Related Link Icon-IB RELATED: India Regulatory Brief: Cross-Border Mergers Approved for Indian Businesses, Aadhaar Now Mandatory for Expats 

Any individual resident can enrol for their Aadhaar number, free of cost, by providing basic demographic and biometric information: photograph, 10 fingerprints, and the iris scan, along with appropriate documents at the Aadhaar enrolment centre.

Although Aadhaar enrolment is a voluntary provision under the Aadhaar Act, the government has made it mandatory for residents to obtain Aadhaar identification to gain access to several of its important schemes and policies. Most recently, it was made compulsory for filing tax returns.

There are four categories of identity verification needed for Aadhaar enrolment: 

  • Proof of Identity (PoI): Passport, PAN card, driving license, photo credit card, photo ID issued by a recognized educational institution, certificate of identity that has a photo issued by a gazetted officer, address card that has name, or photo issued by the department of posts.
  • Proof of Address (PoA): Passport, bank statement or passbook, government photo ID cards, driving license, electricity, water or telephone bill (not older than three months), insurance policy, passport of spouse, or marriage certificate that has the residential address.
  • Proof of Date of Birth (DoB): Passport, birth certificate, PAN Card, or government photo ID cards that contains date of birth.
  • Proof of Relationship (PoR): Passport, pension card, or marriage certificate issued by the government.

Some of the common documents listed above serve as proof for all given categories. For instance, the passport can be used as proof for identity, address, relationship as well as for date of birth.  Moreover, the procedure and document requirements for NRIs and foreign residents are the same, as for any other resident of India. 

Professional Service_CB icons_2015 RELATED: Tax Compliance Advisory

Linking Aadhaar to PAN

The government recently made it compulsory for every individual, who is eligible to obtain their Aadhaar number, to link it with their ten-digit Permanent Account Number (PAN).

The two identification numbers can be linked on the Income tax website. When linking, the name, date of birth, and gender displayed on the income tax website must match with the details given on the Aadhaar Card. 

Additionally, individuals are required to quote their Aadhaar number for the filing of income tax returns as well as for obtaining a new PAN card. The new rules come into force from July 1, 2017.

Professional Service_CB icons_2015 RELATED: International Tax Planning Advisory

Concerns for expatriates

Recently, the government of India has made quoting the Aadhaar number mandatory for filing income tax returns in the country. This is a cause of concern for NRIs and foreign residents who have already left India and must file tax returns.

For such individuals, one option is to return to India to obtain their Aadhaar number because Aadhaar requires biometric information. Alternatively, they could file their tax returns before July 1, 2017. 


About Us 

India Briefing is published by Asia Briefing, a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. We produce material for foreign investors throughout Eurasia, including ASEAN, China, Indonesia, Russia, the Silk Road, & Vietnam. For editorial matters please contact us here and for a complimentary subscription to our products, please click here.
Dezan Shira & Associates provide business intelligence, due diligence, legal, tax and advisory services throughout India and the Asian region. We maintain offices in Delhi and Mumbai and throughout China, South-East Asia, India, and Russia. For assistance with India investment issues or into Asia overall, please contact us at or visit us at


Related Reading-IB

dsa brochure

Dezan Shira & Associates Brochure

Dezan Shira & Associates is a pan-Asia, multi-disciplinary professional services firm, providing legal, tax and operational advisory to international corporate investors. Operational throughout China, ASEAN and India, our mission is to guide foreign companies through Asia’s complex regulatory environment and assist them with all aspects of establishing, maintaining and growing their business operations in the region. This brochure provides an overview of the services and expertise Dezan Shira & Associates can provide.

 An Introduction to Doing Business in India 2017

An Introduction to Doing Business in India 2017 is designed to introduce the fundamentals of investing in India. As such, this comprehensive guide is ideal not only for businesses looking to enter the Indian market, but also for companies who already have a presence here and want to stay up-to-date with the most recent and relevant policy changes.

Working as an Expat in IndiaWorking as an Expat in India
In this issue of India Briefing Magazine, we look at India’s living and working environment, HR and payroll laws, and the taxation norms as applicable to foreign nationals. India is the second most favored destination for expatriates that want to work in the emerging markets. Expatriates should take note of the basic social and welfare concerns as well as the regulatory and tax issues that apply to foreigners that work in the country