What are the Typical Challenges that NRIs Face Living Abroad? – Guest Post

Challenges NRIs Face Living Abroad

Living abroad as a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) can threaten you with several challenges, both personal and practical. Some of the most common challenges faced while living abroad include:

Financial Management

Managing finances in a foreign country can be challenging, which can be issues associated with currency exchange rates, investment options, and tax compliance. Furthermore, there are some more key concerns for non-residents, which are given below.

  • Currency exchange rate fluctuation can be a big concern, as it impacts their income and expenses.
  • Limited knowledge of investment options in both countries can lead to missed opportunities or poor investment decisions.
  • Difficulties in transferring funds between countries due to regulatory requirements and high fees
  • Lack of access to local financial products and services in India, which may make it difficult to manage assets or obtain credit
  • Difficulty in managing properties or businesses in India due to the distance and lack of local support
  • NRIs need to comply with the regulations around investing in India, including rules around foreign direct investment (FDI) and foreign portfolio investment (FPI).

Legal and Tax Compliance

Those who settle abroad from India may face a few legal and tax compliance issues. These can be associated with local laws and regulations, filing taxes both in their home country and in their country of residence, and understanding cross-border taxation agreements. They may face these problems:

  • NRIs may be subject to tax in both their country of residence and in India. So, being aware of the tax laws and regulations in both countries can ensure compliance and avoid double taxation.
  • Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) or regulations apply to non-residents, which govern foreign exchange transactions in India. So, they need to comply with FEMA regulations when transferring funds to and from India.
  • Those emigrants who own property in India need to know the legal and regulatory framework around property ownership, transfer, and taxation. Lacking this knowledge can create trouble in their property-related documents, which are necessary to comply with all legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Lacking compliance with various reporting requirements, including filing income tax returns, disclosing foreign assets and income, and KYC (Know Your Customer) norms for financial transactions can be a big difficulty.
  • NRIs need to be aware of the inheritance laws in India, as well as in their country of residence, to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes.

Property management

For emigrants who own property in India, managing and maintaining that property from abroad can make it no less than a nightmare. This is simply because of the following challenges:

  • As non-residents live outside India, they may find it difficult to monitor and manage their property on a day-to-day basis, which may lead to maintenance issues or tenant problems.
  • There may be some problems that arise while managing property, such as complex property laws, title disputes, or documentation requirements. It can be challenging for non-residents to overcome these legal hurdles from a distance.
  • Managing tenants and rental agreements can be a daunting challenge for them. They may face issues such as non-payment of rent, tenant disputes, or illegal occupation of their property.
  • There is always tear and wear on the property, which can be difficult for NRIs, especially when it comes to handling repair and renovation work. Finding trustworthy contractors or vendors to undertake maintenance work can be more daunting.
  • Tax-related issues while managing their property in India, such as compliance with tax laws, understanding the tax implications of rental income, or claiming tax benefits, can be a nightmare for them.
  • NRIs may also face currency fluctuations while managing their property in India, which may impact their financial returns.

Immigration and Visa Issues

PIOs or OCIs may come through complex visa and immigration laws or hurdles, including dealing with long wait times, visa restrictions, and paperwork requirements. Specifically, they face these issues:

  • Completing and submitting the required forms and supporting documents can be tiresome practice.
  • Obtaining police clearance certificates and other necessary documents is not easy.
  • Meeting language proficiency requirements, such as passing English language tests, requires months-long practice.
  • Providing evidence of financial stability and support is a nail-biting experience.
  • Understanding and complying with immigration laws and regulations require a consultant to sail across.
  • Dealing with delays or rejection of visa application or single status, etc is no less than a headache, which requires support services for NRIs from a legal matter expert.
  • Maintaining legal status is not easy while residing in a foreign country.
  • Applying for citizenship or permanent residency status requires complete knowledge, which can be insufficient without any NRI consultant.

Healthcare Management

NRIs may face challenges in obtaining healthcare in a foreign country. A ton of roadblocks can be there, such as the following:

  • Access to quality healthcare services in India may be limited, and non-residents may find it hard to locate suitable medical facilities and doctors.
  • The cost of healthcare services in India may be high, and they may face challenges in managing healthcare expenses.
  • Language barriers while communicating with healthcare providers or navigating the healthcare system in India can be another barrier.
  • They may not be familiar with the healthcare practices, procedures, and protocols in India.
  • NRIs may find it tough to access medical records or obtain necessary prescriptions and medications while residing abroad.

Insurance Management

  • Obtaining health and life insurance coverage in India due to their residency status may not be easy.
  • Little knowledge of insurance regulations and policies in India may lead to confusion and difficulties in managing their policies.
  • Filing insurance claims or obtaining reimbursement for healthcare expenses incurred here can be tiresome.
  • Insurance premiums for non-residents may be higher than those for Indian residents, and they may find it challenging to manage insurance costs effectively.
  • Accessing insurance products and services to meet their specific needs and preferences can be difficult.

Cultural, Familial, and Social Barriers

Adapting to a new culture can be challenging. Besides, emigrants from India may struggle with language barriers, differences in customs & social norms, and difficulty in finding familiar foods or products.

  • NRIs may find it difficult to maintain strong ties with family and friends back home, especially when it comes to attending important events such as weddings or funerals.
  • Adjusting to a new social environment can be challenging, and NRIs may struggle to make friends and find social outlets.
  • Leaving behind family and friends can be difficult. And, NRIs may experience feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Career and Job Opportunities

Finding suitable job opportunities in a foreign country can be challenging. They may not be eligible for various prestigious positions in government jobs.

Seeking the advice of a qualified tax and legal professional can help NRIs navigate these all challenges or issues.


NRIs face a variety of challenges living abroad, from personal and emotional issues such as homesickness and cultural differences to practical concerns such as managing finances, navigating complex legal and tax compliance issues, and maintaining ties with family and friends back home.