January 30, 2023
Swathi v prabhu

Permanent retirement account number

PRAN or Permanent Retirement Account Number is a 12-digit unique code used to identify National Pension System (NPS) accounts. PRAN works like a bank account number in NPS, helping identify different accounts. While professionals working in private companies can opt in or out of PRAN, it is mandatory for central and some state government employees to get a PRAN number.

PRAN card registration is mandatory for Central and State Government employees and can be done with National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL). Let us learn more about the PRAN number and see why it is essential.


A PRAN number is used to identify NPS accounts. NPS is a common pension scheme and is mandatory for government employees. Hence, a PRAN number is used in transactions related to NPS.

If you have an NPS account and PRAN number ready, you can apply for a physical PRAN card. It can make information storage easy, and the details will be handy whenever you need them. If you have a PRAN number and want a physical card, the below steps will help you.

How to apply for a PRAN card?

You can apply for a PRAN card both online and offline. Let us look at the offline method first.

1. Offline method

You will have to visit an NPS point of presence (POP), usually a bank. The POPs are authorized to carry out several NPS-related activities, including receiving applications for PRAN cards. To the POP, you must submit the populated NPS application form - annexure S1. It is the same application form for subscribing to NPS and can be downloaded from the NPS website.

You must fill in details such as your personal information, professional information, nomination details, declaration, etc. Once the application is submitted, the POP will forward it after inspection, and a PRAN card will be soon issued.

2. Online method

The online method of applying for a PRAN card is more straightforward. You can apply for the same when registering for NPS itself. This process can be done using both Aadhaar and PAN cards. If you use an Aadhaar card, your mobile number should be registered with your Aadhaar to receive OTP.

All your information will be collected from your Aadhaar data itself. You may be asked to upload a copy of your signature in this method. You may change your photo in the application too.

If you decide to apply using a PAN card, your details will be sourced from your bank account. Banks may charge a nominal amount for the same. All the additional information must be manually uploaded, including photographs and signatures.

Documents for Online PRAN Card Application

To apply for PRAN Card, you must furnish the following documents-

1. Aadhar Card

2. PAN card or Permanent Account Number that is issued to you by the Income Tax department

3. Scanned copy of a passport-sized photograph

4. Scanned copy of bank passbook/canceled cheque

5. Scanned copy of your signature

6. Scanned copy of the passport (mandatory for NRI applicants)

How to Activate your PRAN Card

The easiest way to get your PRAN card activated is to get the document electronically signed by using the eSign option. If you have generated a PRAN card using Aadhaar, you have the option to eSign the document by implementing the following steps-

1. Select the ‘eSign’ option in the eSign/Print & Courier page and you will be directed to the following page to generate OTP for the PRAN Card activation process

2. OTP for authentication will be sent to your mobile number registered with your Aadhaar

3. After Authentication using Aadhaar OTP, a registration form will be successfully eSigned and a confirmation message regarding the same will be displayed

4. Once the document is eSigned, you need not send the physical copy of the form to CRA for activation of your PRAN card

5. eSign service is chargeable at Rs.25.90 plus applicable service tax (including UIDAI charges of Rs.20)


1. Can NRIs apply for a PRAN card?

Yes, NRIs can apply for a PRAN card through their NRI/NRO bank accounts. However, you may be charged for shipping if your address is outside India.

2. How to log in using PRAN?

The PRAN Card issued by the Government of India incorporates the details regarding the subscriber’s name and father’s name, the subscriber’s date of birth, signature, and photograph along with the PRAN. Subscribers may use the number printed on the PRAN card to log into their NPS online account. First-time users shall be required to generate a password. After signing in, subscribers can access the features of the portal.

3. Can I have more than one PRAN?

No, you can have only one account.


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