Sometimes you have to leave your Country for a better job and prospects. You have to also go abroad if your company sends you for an assignment. The international job or assignments may give your better opportunity and money. But there may be some complexities as well. One such problem is the EPF withdrawal.
As you know that EPF withdrawal is not easy before the retirement while you are not unemployed. When you are going abroad for the job, you would remain employed. Then, should you wait for the EPF balance until the retirement? Indeed, It would be irritating. Why should you block the money with EPF, when you are settling in another country?
Relax! there is a way for such situation. You would withdraw EPF balance immediately. Even, there would not be the mandatory wait period of 2 months.
Rule of EPF withdrawal When You Leave India
- Normally, you can get the EPF maturity amount only after the age of 55. But, If you are settling abroad, you can get EPF corpus before the retirement.
- When you withdraw EPF before the retirement, 2 months waiting period is the norm. But in the case of abroad settlement, there would not be any waiting period. You can get back EFP corpus immediately. In fact, there are some more reasons to get EPF corpus immediately after leaving the job.
However, you would have to prove that, you are leaving India to settle abroad.
Steps of EPF withdrawal When Going Abroad
- Get Visa and Passport Ready for Abroad Settlement. It should be the first step before applying for EPF withdrawal. As you can’t go in a foreign country before these documents.
- Collect the EPF Withdrawal Form from your employer. You can download EPF withdrawal Form from EPFO portal. There are two types of form, The Aadhaar based form, and Non-Aadhaar Form. If you have linked your UAN with Aadhaar, use the first form as you can bypass employer and directly go the EPFO office.
- You can also apply for EPF withdrawal online. It is done through the UAN member unified portal. The UMANG App can be also used to withdraw PF balance.
- Fill the form and enter the reason for leaving the job as the abroad settlement.
- Attach the supporting documents and submit the form.
- Wait for EPF amount in your bank account. It may take 1-2 weeks.
When You Go Abroad But Don’t Want to Withdraw EPF
It may happen, that your migration to other country is only for a small period. In this case, you would not like to withdraw the EPF balance. So, if you don’t want to withdraw, just don’t apply for that. Your EPF balance would remain with the EPFO and keep earning interest. You can transfer this balance to new PF account number of the new job, back in India.
Note, you must remember your UAN (Universal Account Number) as this is necessary for EPF transfer. You have to quote the UAN at the time of joining the new job. It would automatically transfer the EPF. However, there would be a break in the service. Hence, to avoid any tax on EPF corpus, you should be in the job for continuous 5 years.
How To Avoid Social Security Scheme of a Foreign Country
As EPF Scheme is mandatory for workers in India, there must be a retirement scheme in abroad too. Globally, such retirement schemes do not release the corpus till the retirement. Hence, your money can be trapped in a foreign country while you are not going to settle there.
The government has worked to deal with this situation. It has made social security agreement with various countries. Till now India has SSA with 20 countries. Thus, if you are going to these countries, you can avoid contributing to their social security scheme.
The EPFO gives you a certificate of coverage. This certificate states that you are already covered under the India social security scheme and paying a regular contribution. Upon production of this certificate, the host country exempts you from its social security scheme.
There are some conditions to get the COC (certificate of coverage)
- You must be going abroad through the Indian Employer.
- Your Indian employer should keep depositing EPF contribution on your behalf.
- The application for COC should be signed by your employer as well.
- You must have the UAN
Steps to Get Certificate of Coverage
Visit the international workers portal on the EPFO website: https://iwu.epfindia.gov.in/iwu/ and select ‘APPLICATION FOR COC’.
Mention Universal Account Number (UAN) and select appropriate member ID.
Complete and submit the application. A reference number of the application will be generated upon submission and the pre-filled application will be available for download and print.
Download and print the application. Sign the application and upload it along with a copy of one’s passport.
To upload the signed application, visit the international workers portal and select ‘UPLOAD SIGNED APPLICATION FOR COC’. The employee can download the pre-filled application from here as well
Once the employee has uploaded the signed application, the employer needs to follow these steps:
1. Visit the international workers portal and login using the same login credential used for the Unified Portal (Employer).
Select ‘Certificate of Coverage’ from the tab ‘Application’. Select the appropriate Reference Number to get the signed application uploaded by the employee, verify all the details and approve/reject the application accordingly.
Once the application is approved, download the application signed by the employee. To download, select ‘Signed applications-Members’ under the tab ‘Downloads’.
Take a print of the downloaded application and sign with date and stamp at the appropriate place.
Upload the duly signed and stamped application. To upload, select ‘Signed applications-Employer’ under the tab ‘Upload’.
Once the signed copy of the application is uploaded, the relevant PF office will process the application and generate the CoC accordingly.
Both employee and employer can track the status of the application from the international workers portal by selecting ‘TRACK APPLICATION FOR COC’ and providing application reference number and date of birth of the employee.
The same link can also be used to download the CoC once the application is processed by the PF Office.