NRI Account Minimum Balance

Non-Resident Indian (NRI) banking involves a crucial consideration – the minimum balance requirement for NRI accounts. Defined by formulas such as Average Quarterly Balance (AQB) or Average Monthly Balance (AMB), it's important for NRI account holders to grasp and adhere to the specified criteria set by leading banks.

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Who is an NRI?

An NRI, or Non-Resident Indian, refers to an individual who has lived abroad for more than 182 days and spent fewer than 365 days within the Indian territory in the last four years. This classification is based on the duration of their stay outside India, and if the mentioned criteria are met, the person is considered an NRI. NRIs often maintain ties with India, such as family connections, investments, or business interests, while residing in another country for an extended period.

Why Do You Need an NRI Account?

Non-Resident Indian (NRI) accounts are essential for individuals living abroad who want to manage their finances in India. These accounts, such as NRE (Non-Resident External) and NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary) accounts, allow NRIs to hold and manage their income, investments, and savings in India, facilitating seamless financial transactions and investments in the home country. NRI accounts can be maintained in different currencies, allowing NRIs to hold funds in the currency of their choice. This helps in avoiding currency conversion losses and facilitates transactions in the preferred currency.

What are the Different Types of NRI Accounts?

There are several types of NRI (Non-Resident Indian) accounts offered by banks in India, each designed to cater to specific financial needs. The major types of NRI accounts include:

  1. NRE (Non-Resident External) Account:

    NRE accounts are maintained in Indian Rupees and are fully repatriable. This means that the funds held in these accounts can be freely converted to any foreign currency and transferred abroad without any restrictions. NRE accounts are suitable for NRIs looking to park their foreign income in India.

    The account’s salient features are:

    • Tax Benefits: The amount deposited in this account is not taxable. The interest earned is also exempt from taxes.(Tax benefits are subject to changes in tax laws.)

    • Repatriation Benefits: You can freely transfer the account balances to your country of residence in your preferred currency. There are no restrictions on the repatriation of funds from the account, and you are free to do so at will.

  2. NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary) Account:

    NRO accounts are also maintained in Indian Rupees but have limited repatriability. While the principal amount is freely repatriable, there are restrictions on repatriating the interest earned on NRO accounts. NRO accounts are suitable for NRIs who have income generated in India.

    The features are:

    • Local Finances: Your NRO account is ideally suited to manage your local earnings and expenses. In addition, you can freely meet your local financial obligations through the account. 

    • Joint Operation: You can open your NRO account jointly with a resident Indian for operational ease. However, the joint holder must be a close relative, and the operational instruction must be a former or survivor.

    Investment Plans for NRIsInvestment Plans for NRIs
  3. FCNR (Foreign Currency Non-Resident) Account:

    FCNR accounts allow NRIs to hold their funds in foreign currencies. These accounts are term deposits with fixed tenures, and the interest earned is tax-free in India. The principal and interest amounts are fully repatriable. FCNR accounts are beneficial for NRIs who want to park their foreign earnings in a foreign currency without exchange rate risk.

    The salient features are:

    • Tax Benefits: You are not burdened with the principal invested and the interest earned with tax liability.

      (Tax benefits are subject to changes in tax laws.)

    • Risk Mitigation: You are insulated from losses due to currency rate fluctuations since the balance is held in foreign currency.

  4. RFC (Resident Foreign Currency) Account:

    RFC accounts are designed for returning NRIs who have become residents again in India. These accounts can be maintained in foreign currencies, and the funds are fully repatriable. RFC accounts provide a convenient way for returning NRIs to manage their foreign income and assets.

  5. NPS (National Pension System) for NRIs:

    NRIs are also allowed to invest in the National Pension System (NPS), a voluntary long-term retirement savings scheme. NRIs can open an NPS account and make contributions to build a retirement corpus.

  6. NRE/NRO Fixed Deposits:

    In addition to regular savings accounts, banks offer fixed deposit options under the NRE and NRO categories. These fixed deposits have varying tenures and interest rates.

  7. NRI Demat Account:

    NRIs can open a Demat account to hold and trade in Indian securities such as stocks and mutual funds. This account allows NRIs to participate in the Indian capital market.

Investment Plans for NRIsInvestment Plans for NRIs

NRI Minimum Account Balance

Many banks utilize the Average Quarterly Balance (AQB) or Average Monthly Balance (AMB) formula and enforce penalties for non-compliance. Let's explore the minimum balance requirements set by major banks for NRI accounts.

Bank Name Minimum balance in NRE/ NRO Accounts
IndusInd Bank  ₹10,000 (single account) NA
Federal Bank  NA ₹5,000
Kotak Mahindra Bank  NA ₹10,000
RBL  NA ₹50,000
ICICI Bank  NA ₹10,000
HDFC Bank  NA ₹10,000 (Metro / Urban branches)
₹5,000 (Semi-Urban / Rural branches)
SBI  NA ₹3,000 *
₹2,000 **
₹1,000 ***
DCB  ₹10,000 NA
BOB  ₹10000 NA
IDFC  NA ₹25,000
Axis Bank  NA ₹10,000
The minimum balance in the FCNR (B) Account is usually USD 1,000

The banks in the above grid have been chosen at random. Most private sector banks have a uniform minimum balance pattern across branches. While others and public sector banks define minimum balance according to the geographical location and the cities where the branches are located. 

SIP Investment for NRIsSIP Investment for NRIs

In Conclusion!

NRIs should stay informed about the minimum balance criteria set by their respective banks to ensure smooth banking experiences. Regular monitoring of account balances and compliance with the established guidelines will contribute to a more seamless financial relationship between NRI account holders and their banking institutions. You can also consult your financial advisor to know the most suitable bank account for your financial operations in India.


  • Can NRI open a zero balance account?

    Yes, some banks in India allow NRIs to open zero-balance accounts, but not all.
  • Can I hold 2 NRI accounts?

    Yes, NRIs can hold multiple accounts in India, but there may be restrictions on the types of accounts that can be held. For example, an NRI may not be able to hold a joint account with a resident Indian.
  • What is the defined tenor in the FCNR (B) account?

    As per RBI guidelines, FCNR (B) deposits can offer a minimum tenure of 1 year and a maximum of 5 years.

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