Have you lived outside India for more than 182 days in the financial year (Apr-March)? If yes, then for tax purposes, you are an NRI (Non-Resident Indian). As per FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) guidelines, it is illegal for NRIs to hold savings accounts in their name in India.
Instead, you will have to convert those accounts into NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary Rupee) accounts. Additionally, it is a good idea to open an NRE (Non-Resident Rupee) account as well. These accounts are needed only when an NRI wants to have a bank account in his/her own name in India to hold savings, earn/invest in India and wants to freely transfer funds between US and India. (If you don’t have any Indian bank accounts, you can still send money to someone in India via money transfer services, wire transfers or Telegraphs, or buy something in India with International Credit Cards).
What is the NRO account?
The NRO account is a savings or current account held in India for NRIs to manage their income earned in India. All income which is receivable in India such as rentals from property, investments, pension etc have to be deposited in this account. Any payment towards insurance premiums or EMIs on loans which you availed while in India also has to be mandated from NRO account.
You can apply for an NRO account jointly with a resident Indian in which the bank will give you both an NRO debit card each. Alternately, you can add a mandate holder for the account who can carry out certain operations of the account on behalf of the NRI like drawing cheques to make local payments, make and renew fixed deposits, and invest in avenues open for NRIs. Any foreign currency deposited into the NRO account will convert to Indian rupees.
Even though funds from NRO account are now repatriable up to $1million (with a certificate from a Chartered Accountant for payment of taxes and other repatriation fees), it is advised to keep these India based earnings in India, in the NRO account. Note that interest earned in the NRO Account is subject to TDS (Tax Deductible At Source) at 30.9%.
And what about an NRE account?
The NRE account comes to the rescue, for NRIs wanting to transfer funds between US and India. One can deposit only foreign currency earned abroad in this account, which gets converted into INR at the time of deposit. Therefore, you may repatriate the money in this account (plus interest earned) any time without incurring income/wealth/gift tax. The benefit of repatriation and taxation is the main benefit of the NRE account. Some Indians move their US savings to the NRO accounts, invest in India in high yield instruments, and re-transfer and use that money in the US. Transferring funds between and NRE and NRO account is straightforward and simple. Additionally, with the NRE account, you will receive an international debit card that enables you to transact and withdraw money at any time (withdrawal in INR).
However, a joint NRE account can be opened only with another NRI. You cannot use your NRE account for receiving funds/income/interest in India. To make local bill payments, purchase property, etc. in India you will have to move funds from your NRE to NRO account first. This is how the government regulates the inflow of foreign money to India.
Please contact your Indian Bank now for details on opening and managing your NRE and NRO accounts.
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If you have elderly parents visiting you from India, it is highly recommended to get them medical insurance. This is especially true if they are coming for a long duration, already have pre-existing medical conditions or are susceptible to health issues due to weather/food change, stress and fatigue.
Even if they are healthy and have planned many outdoor/strenuous activities during their stay, its best to err on the side of precaution. Usually you will see the option to purchase insurance when you book your ticket to the US. Remember that travel insurance is not the same as visitor medical insurance. Travel insurance protects you in case of damage to baggage, flight cancellations, delays due to weather and other travel related emergencies.
Medical insurance will cover new and unforeseen medical problems, accidents and injuries. To find the right medical insurance policy, there are some important criteria you should consider:
Cost of buying the medical insurance:
How much do you have to pay per month to the insurance provider? Coverage limit, policy maximum, deductible, co-pay.
What is the maxim amount the insurance will pay in various situations?: Is there an amount that you will have to pay every time you visit the doctor/avail a medical service?
At what point will you stop paying out of pocket?
Comprehensive or Fixed coverage: Comprehensive policies cover many more instances of medical assistance and hence cost more. Fixed coverage is for very specific instances and have higher deductibles and co-pays, but lower costs per month. What works best for you?
Are you suffering from health issues that exist prior to buying the policy?
Are they covered by the policy?
Cancellable or renewable policies: In case your trip is cut short, is there a cancellation fee? Can you get a refund for the remaining duration of the policy? Similarly, if your trip is extended, can you renew the policy for the additional period? Multi trip coverage and joint coverage for both parents If you are travelling to and fro, multiple times within your visa duration, can the policy cover all trips?
Will it be cost effective to purchase the same policy if both parents have different health issues?
PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) or Out of Network coverage If you have a specific doctor in mind, or is most conveniently located, who does not accept this insurance, what will be the repercussion?
How do I find doctors within the PPO network?
Customer care support:
What is the customer care number if you have/don’t have a local US number?
Is it toll free/24*7?
How do they handle disputes/grievances?
Process of claims, refunds, billing, paperwork: What is the step by step process that I should follow from when I need to go to a doctor to when the medical treatment is completed?
What forms do I need to fill? It is better to buy medical insurance from a US provider because of customer care availability at US hours and direct billing by the doctor to the insurance company.
However, if you still feel that Indian companies are easier to communicate with and lighter on the wallet, you have options like Bajaj Allianz, SBI, TATA AIG, HDFC Ergo, Bharti AXA, Future Generali and Apollo.
Some of the top plans for parents visiting the U.S. include Patriot America Plus, CoverAmerica - Gold, Atlas America, Liaison Travel Choice and Patriot America, as they all feature excellent PPO networks, reliable comprehensive coverage, and coverage for acute onset of pre-existing conditions.
Insubuy.com (US) and Policybazaar.com (India) are reliable portal to get quotes and compare policies. If the terms used are confusing, ensure you get it clarified and also explain the same to your parents. You do not have to do any medical tests prior to coming to the US, but if you have recent medical reports that may help the doctor assess your case better, carry that along as well. Ensure that your parents have all the documents and payment options handy in case they have to deal with a medical emergency, and prepare them mentally. The groundwork is worth the peace of mind so both you and your parents can enjoy their time in the US. Health is priceless after all!
General knowledge of car insurance will help you fully understand the US car insurance system. You are required to have assets to help you pay for damages in the event of an accident. You cannot legally drive or purchase a car in the US without car insurance. All insurance companies do credit checks which require your SSN. A clean offense sheet confirmed in English from the police along with an International Driver's license gets you the highest prices. When you pay your premiums at once or buy another policy from the same company, you will get better bids. You should purchase insurance higher than what the state requires and also have third party insurance to cover your expenses after a serious accident.
As an insurance scheme lasting a period of 6 months to a year, car insurance, protects you against any losses from an accident or car theft. You are issued new insurance ID cards on purchasing and renewing your car insurance. Keep one in your car and give one to DMV. To protect you from damages arising from accident or theft, when you buy policies from your car insurance company, in accordance to the terms of the policies, you are paid property insurance and medical coverage for your physical injuries, convalescence and sometimes loss of income and any companion expenses. You need to research different companies and compare their prices and policy coverage so as to get the best rate for your insurance needs.
US Car insurance policy has 6 different types of coverage:
Bodily Injury Liability which applies to you the policyholder/offending driver.
Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments is for physical damage on the driver and passengers of the affected car.
Property Damage Liability covers your property (car) damage, caused by you or by someone permitted on your behalf to drive the car and could be to lighting or electricity poles, fences, etc
Collision covers damages caused by road bumps or collision with another car, object and is sold with a deductible between $250 and $1000 was higher the deductible, the lower the monthly premium.
Comprehensive covers damages on the vehicle from causes other than an accident such as in the event of a burglary, theft, fire, explosion, broken or cracked windows, etc and is sold with a deductible between $100 and $300.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage covers events such as a "hit and runs” accident, an uninsured offender or when injured as a pedestrian.
When a car is leased out, you must purchase Collision and Comprehensive coverage. Leasing companies in some states, demand gap insurance to cover for accidents where "gap" is the difference between the compensation amount the insurance company pays and the amount you owe the car dealer.
In New York, you get car insurance discounts when you:
Take a driver safety class
Have a have automatic seat belts or air bags, a factory-installed anti-lock braking system (ABS or factory-installed daytime running lamps (DRL)
Take an accident prevention course through the Point and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP) (you will receive a 10% discount off your auto liability and collision insurance premiums and it covers one driver per vehicle). Show your car insurance carrier the certificate of completion within 90days to receive your discount.
Having any of the following cars increases your car insurance rates: Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Ford Pickup (Full Size), Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size), Toyota Camry, Dodge Pickup (Full Size), Toyota Corolla, Nissan Altima, Dodge Caravan, Chevrolet Impala.
All New York registered vehicles should have:
● Liability car insurance covering accident-related damages caused on someone else and must have the following minimums: $25,000 for injuries to one person, $50,000 for injuries to multiple people, $50,000 for death to one person, $100,000 for death to multiple people, $10,000 for property damage.
● No-fault auto insurance covers costs accruing after an accident regardless of who was at fault, has a limit of $50,000 per person and covers your accident-related medical expenses, 80% of lost income due to injuries from a car accident, $2,000 per month limit for up to 3 years, up to $25 a day for expenses such as household help (for up to 1 year from the date of the accident) and a $2,000 death benefit on top of the $50,000 limit.
● Uninsured motorist insurance covers costs relating to injuries from a car accident and the minimum for bodily injury is $25,000 for injuries to one person and $50,000 for injuries to multiple people.
You should have several types of car insurance and also purchase higher amounts of coverage along with any of the following: Collision, Comprehensive, Medical and funeral services or Towing and labor.
Without car insurance, you must surrender your car's license plates to the DMV immediately or your car's registration and driver's license will be indefinitely suspended. You must surrender your car plates, when there is a lapse in your car insurance, to avoid suspension of your vehicle's registration. If you don't surrender your car plates and your lapse becomes longer than 91 days, your driver's license would be suspended and a reinstatement fee is $100. Surrender your vehicle plates to the DMV to avoid suspension of your car registration or driver's license within 90 days of a lapse in car insurance coverage. Instead of surrendering your plates, you have the option to pay a fine depending on the length of the lapse. As a last resort, when you experience difficulties in finding car insurance, apply for car insurance through the New York Automobile Insurance Plan (NYAIP). NYAIP offer high rates and assigns a car insurance carrier who will offer you coverage for a minimum of 3 years. You can cancel your NYAIP insurance when you find an insurance company with standard rates.
To help keep New York car insurance prices down, due to car insurance fraud, report any suspected car insurance fraud either by calling (800) 342-3736 or fax a Suspected Fraud Report to (212) 709-3555.
Green Card, formally known as US permanent resident card (USCIS Form I-551), is an identification card which shows your immigration status as well as if you are legally authorized to live and work in the United States. It attests to your permanent residency and possessing it does not make you a US citizen. However, it is the first step to becoming a citizen as you are required to secure a green card first before proceeding to apply for naturalization. Other than the right to live and work in the United States, your green card gives you certain rights which include traveling in and out of the country freely as long as you adhere to certain rules, and conditions that come with the card.
There are a few different ways you may become a green card holder:
-Sponsorship by a family member in the United States
-Sponsorship by an employer’s offer of permanent employment in the United States or through your own entrepreneurship
-Green card lottery
In addition, in some cases, you may be eligible to file for yourself, also known as applying for a green card through self-petition
To qualify for a green card, you must meet the following requirements:
-You must belong to one of the immigrant categories established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
-You must have a qualifying immigrant petition filed and approved for you (with a few exceptions)
-There must be an immigrant visa immediately available for you
-You must be admissible to the United States
Every year, about 50,000 immigration visas are issued out through the Diversity Visa (DV) Program also known as Green Card Lottery. This is issued to people born in countries with low immigration rates into the US. Applicants of the lottery only qualify by country of birth and not by nationality. If you are selected, you reserve the opportunity to apply for permanent residence and also apply for your spouse and children who are not married and are under the age of 21. Once permanent residency is granted to you and your family as the winner, on meeting the required conditions, you will receive an immigration visa in your passports which has to be activated on or before six months of issuance at any port of entry into the States. In addition, this attracts a stamp on your visa and a signature on your passport as proof of lawful entry into the United States. Hereafter, you reserve the right to live and work permanently in the United States. Your Green Card afterward will arrive by mail a few months later.
If you decide to apply for a green card through self-petition and you have not stayed past the departure date on your Arrival-Departure Record ( I-94 form), your next step is to apply for an adjustment of your status. You will fill Form I-485 which you can find online at uscis.gov. Ensure that you read the form instructions carefully and submit all required documentation and evidence. After your application is filed, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will ask you to appear at an Application Support Center where your picture, signature, and fingerprints would be taken and a background check will be run to ensure your eligibility for green card status. Thereafter, you will then be notified of an interview at a USCIS office to answer questions under oath or affirmation regarding your application. After the process is complete, the USCIS will contact you to notify you of their decision regarding your permanent status.
US Green Cards are valid for permanent residents for a period of 10 years and 2 years for conditional residents. At the expiry of any of these periods, you reserve the right to renew or replace the card. The application can take years and requires a three-step process before it is issued inclusive of petition and processing. During the process of the application, you can obtain two important permits; a work permit and the permit to enter and re-enter the country. Previously, the status of permanent residents when they re-enter the United States after traveling abroad was only checked and if you are not a citizen, you could be asked to present your green card or any other proof to show the validity of your resident status. Currently, it is compulsory that if you are a permanent resident of US and up to eighteen years of age and above, you are required to carry your valid Green Card at all times and to present it on request by an immigration officer. Failure to do this violates the Immigration Nationality Act and would attract a fine of up to $100 and or imprisonment of up to 30 days
Consequentially, the US authorities reserve the right to revoke the status of your permanent residency if the resident commits an offense that constitutes grounds for deportation. Other reasons to revoke one's residency permit status include; if you spend more than 365 days outside the United States without obtaining permission before leaving if your residency permit was obtained fraudulently, and failure to submit your resident’s income tax report while outside the United States. Failure to renew your permanent resident card does not result in loss of residency status except for conditional permanent residents. It is advisable that you renew your card on time as it can act as a work and travel permit. However, there is no penalty or extra fee for late renewals. Once you lose your permanent residency status, you are expected to leave the US immediately as soon as possible or face expulsion and deportation. In some cases, you can be deported and banned from re-entering the country for three years, seven years or even permanently.
Home insurance, also commonly called homeowner's insurance (often abbreviated in the US real estate industry as HOI), is a type of property insurance that covers a private residence. It combines various personal insurance protections, which can include losses occurring to one's home, its contents, loss of use (additional living expenses), or loss of other personal possessions of the homeowner, as well as liability insurance for accidents that may happen at the home or at the hands of the homeowner within the policy territory.
Being a multiple-line insurance policy, it includes both property insurance and liability coverage, with an indivisible premium and all the risks are paid for with a single premium. Thus, it covers both damage to your property and your liability for any injuries and property damage caused by you or members of your family to other people. It may also include damage caused by household pets. Coverage limits are typically provided as a percentage of the primary Coverage A, which is coverage for the main dwelling. Whether it's your first apartment, a starter home or a retirement condo, find a policy that protects your property - and most of your other important stuff, too.
As you compare prices and coverage offered by different companies, there are five most important things you need to know:
-You should buy enough home insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your home.
- Your landlord's insurance won't cover your furniture and other household appliances and equipment.
-Having a good inventory is worth your time.
-Replacement cost coverage may be worth the extra expense.
- A home or renters insurance policy doesn't cover everything, for example, earthquake, flood, etc.
Any basic home insurance policy usually covers at least the following five coverage:
Dwelling coverage -- this is what covers your home. It serves as a basis for all homeowners insurance policies and provides protection for the structure of your home including the floors, walls, built-in appliances, and ceilings, as well as any attached structures. It also covers a variety of perils including fire, hail, theft, and vandalism – and can help you rebuild your home in the event of a total loss (up to your policy limit).
Other property insurance covers structures on your property that aren't attached to your home. Other property includes a detached garage, a shed, or a fence.
Personal property coverage -- this is what covers the property within your home such as your furniture, electronics, clothing, etc
Liability coverage -- consists of bodily injury damage coverage, which covers costs if a guest sustains an injury in your home or elsewhere, and property damage coverage, which kicks in if your property is damaged as a result of a covered accident. This is what covers you in case a visitor suffers a serious injury and sues you.
Additional living expenses -- this is what covers you in case your home is uninhabitable, and you need to live elsewhere.
Ensure to find out from your chosen homeowners insurance policies the home's replacement cost, the maximum coverage (flooding, earthquake,), the discounts, the effect your credit score has on your rates, Homeowners insurance deductibles. When you buy property insurance the most important thing is to make sure you are not under-insured. Be sure to calculate the total value of all the entirety of your property – you can’t pick and choose what you want to be covered. You should request a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) Report for your new home to see the claims that the homeowner filed. Insurance companies are all about preventing risk. If they see that the home had multiple claims in the matter of a few years, you will pay higher rates. An insurer may even decline coverage.
The type of insurance policy you buy for your business/office may differ depending on the size and type of business you are running, your insurance budget and whether any of your clients have requirements about what insurance cover you should have.
Common Business insurance includes:
Public liability insurance that protects you against claims for compensation from people outside your business who have suffered an injury or whose property has been damaged because of your business.
Employers' liability insurance which protects you if an employee is injured or becomes ill because of their work.
Property insurance protects your business building and assets
Professional insurance protects your business by paying for this compensation and legal costs.
You may feel confident that you know what insurance to buy but not how much. For public liability and professional indemnity, you will need to choose a limit of the cover which is right for your business. Think about the type of work you do and what could go wrong in the worst case scenario – how much might it cost, especially if a dispute went to court. Buy a level of cover which you are confident will cover the cost of compensation you might have to pay. Employer’s liability insurance is required by law if you have employees.