If you have spent more than 182 days living outside India, then your status changes to NRI. You need to convert your salary/savings account to non-resident ordinary or NRO account before investing. This is just a change in status and the account will continue to operate as it is. Once converted to NRO, you can use it to invest in mutual funds (MFs). You will need to do a fresh MF KYC ( know your customer) as an NRI. NRIs do not require any special approval of the RBI to invest in mutual fund schemes in India. Investment can be done on a non-repatriation basis through an NRO account or NRE/FCNR account. To invest on a repatriable basis you must have an NRE savings account or FCNR account. It is not allowed to use your existing resident savings account once your status changes to NRI without converting it to NRO.
What are these non-resident accounts?
There are three types of non-resident accounts: non-resident (external) rupee (NRE), Foreign currency (non resident) (FCNR) and non-resident (ordinary) rupee (NRO) accounts.
When an individual leaves India for employment or for business or for a vacation outside India or any other purpose indicating his intentions to stay abroad for an uncertain period, his existing resident bank accounts should be designated as NRO account.
An NRE account may be opened a fresh. An NRE account is funded from remittances from an overseas bank account. Funds from an NRE account are freely repatriable. However, funds from an NRO account up to $1 million per financial year can be remitted outside India.
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What documents are needed to complete KYC process to invest in MFs for NRIs?
There are two requirements for NRIs to start investing in MFs in India: PAN Card and rupee- designated NRO or NRE bank account. The documents required to complete the one-time KYC process are: PAN card copy; passport copy ( front and back page); foreign address proof, an Indian address proof ( cancelled cheque or bank statement from NRE or NRO account); person of Indian origin or Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) certificate- required for investors who are not Indian citizens.
Even if you had done a mutual fund KYC earlier as a resident India, you will need to do the KYC again as an NRI.