PRAN Card: Meaning and How to Apply?

6 mins read
by Angel One
The PRAN (Permanent Retirement Account Number) card is a document containing details of your PRAN. If you have subscribed to the National Pension Scheme (NPS), this is an essential document.

PRAN Card for NPS Subscribers: An Overview

The PRAN card is a mandatory and essential document for anybody who has subscribed to the National Pension Scheme (NPS). This scheme was introduced by the Government of India in 2004, primarily as a retirement scheme for government employees. Soon, in 2009, it was opened to subscribers in all sectors, including private sector employees, self-employed individuals and the unemployed.

If you have invested in NPS or are planning to do so, you need to know what the PRAN number is, what the PRAN card is, and how to download your PRAN card and activate it. Read this article for more clarity on all these aspects. 

What is NPS PRAN?

The NPS PRAN or Permanent Retirement Account Number is a unique 12-digit number assigned to anybody who opens an account under the National Pension Scheme (NPS). Although the name gives the impression that it is allocated to retirees, it is actually assigned by the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) to subscribers at the time of opening a Tier I NPS account. 

Here are some key details you need to know about the PRAN number

  • Each individual subscriber can only have one Permanent Retirement Account Number. 
  • The PRAN number has lifetime validity and cannot be changed at a later date. 
  • The PRAN number is portable, so even in case of a change in employment across companies or cities, your NPS account will continue to be linked to the same unique number. 

When you successfully subscribe to the National Pension Scheme and open your Tier I account, a PRAN number will be generated and assigned to you. In addition to this, a PRAN kit will be sent to the associated nodal office. This kit contains the following documents or details:

  • Your PRAN card
  • A Subscriber Master List containing subscriber details 
  • An information booklet
  • A T-Pin and I-Pin

What is a PRAN Card?

The PRAN card is a document that is issued to all subscribers of the National Pension Scheme (NPS). When you receive or download your PRAN card, you will find that it contains the following information:

  • Your PRAN number
  • Your name
  • Your father’s name
  • Your photograph
  • Your signature or thumb impression

This card is a crucial document for all NPS account holders because it contains the complete information available in the Central Recordkeeping Agency (CRA) system. 

Why Do You Need a PRAN Card?

Before we get to the PRAN card download process, it’s essential to understand the significance of the Permanent Retirement Account Number for NPS subscribers. Here is why you need to know your PRAN number and have a physical copy of your PRAN card and/or a digital copy of your ePRAN card

  • Your PRAN number helps distinguish your NPS account from the accounts of other subscribers. 
  • You need your PRAN card if you wish to activate your Tier II NPS account. 
  • Your PRAN card is essential if you wish to contribute further to your Tier II NPS account. 

How to Apply for a PRAN Card? 

Now that you know what the PRAN number and PRAN card are and why this number is required, you need to check out how to apply for your PRAN card. There are two ways to do this — online and offline. Let’s take a closer look at both these options to obtain or download your PRAN card

Apply for PRAN Offline

If you are comfortable with in-person visits to branch offices or prefer offline procedures, here’s how to get your PRAN card offline.

  1. Visit a branch of any Point-of-Presence institution registered under the NPS network. 
  2. Ask for a PRAN application form and fill it out completely and accurately. This form will typically require key details like your personal information, employment details, nominee details and other essentials under the scheme. 
  3. Submit the duly filled application form and the documents required to the concerned official at the PoP office. 
  4. Make the payment for the initial investment in your NPS account. 
  5. Once you complete this registration process successfully, the PRAN card will be sent to you at the address you provided. 

Apply for PRAN Online

In case you are more comfortable with online application procedures and appreciate the speed and accessibility they offer, there’s good news. You can also obtain your PRAN card online using your Aadhaar or Permanent Account Number (PAN). Here are the steps you need to take, depending on the option you choose. 

  • Option 1: PRAN Application with PAN

To apply for your PRAN online and download your ePRAN card using your Permanent Account Number (PAN), here’s what you need to do. 

  1. Head to the official NSDL website and click on the National Pension System link. 
  2. A new pop-up window will appear, where you need to click on the ‘Registration’ option. 
  3. Then, select the option to register with your PAN and choose the appropriate details in the other fields available, like the applicant type, status, account type etc. 
  4. Enter your PAN and click on the button to verify CKYC details. 
  5. You must then enter your date of birth and the OTP sent to your registered mobile number to proceed. 
  6. Fill in all the mandatory information required, upload the documents needed and your signature as required. 
  7. Once these formalities are complete, you will be redirected to a payment portal to contribute to your NPS account.  

This method of applying for an NPS account and obtaining a PRAN number is only possible if you have an account in an NPS-authorised bank. Additionally, the name, date of birth, and address you provide should match the details in the bank records. Any mismatch could lead to your NPS and PRAN number application being rejected. 

  • Option 2: PRAN Application with Aadhaar

If you wish to apply for PRAN online using your Aadhaar instead, here is a quick guide on how to proceed. 

  1. Visit the official website of the NSDL and click on the link for the National Pension System. 
  2. In the new pop-up window, click on the ‘Registration’ option. 
  3. On the new page, opt to register with Aadhaar and select the appropriate options for other fields like the applicant type, status, account type etc. 
  4. Enter your Aadhaar number, and the Aadhaar OTP is sent to your registered mobile number. 
  5. Your personal details, demographic information and photograph will automatically be updated based on the information in the Aadhaar database. 
  6. Enter any other details required, like those pertaining to your account and NPS investment. 
  7. Upload your signature in the format and file size permitted. 
  8. You will then be redirected to the payment gateway to make the first contribution to your NPS account. 

With your account activated, you will also be assigned a PRAN number and can activate your PRAN card.

What Are the Documents Necessary for the PRAN Application?

Whether you choose to apply for your PRAN number online or offline, you need to submit the documents required for the process. They include: 

  • The duly filled application form
  • A physical or scanned copy of your Aadhaar card
  • A physical or scanned copy of your PAN card
  • A copy of your bank passbook or bank statement 
  • Physical or scanned copies of your signature 
  • Passport size photographs 

How To Activate Your PRAN Card?

Once you obtain your PRAN number, you need to activate your PRAN card. You can do this using the eSign option. The steps outlined below will give you more clarity on how to proceed. 

  1. Log into the eNPS NSDL website and select the ‘eSign’ option on the ‘eSign/Print and Courier’ page. 
  2. You will then be directed to a new page, where an OTP will be generated to activate your PRAN number and card
  3. Enter the OTP received on your registered mobile number. 
  4. After the OTP is authenticated, you will receive a message confirming that your registration form has been eSigned. This means you do not need to send a physical copy of your registration form to the CRA to activate your PRAN number.

Please note that the eSign facility may come with a nominal charge. 


With this, you can know about the PRAN number and PRAN card. If you have already subscribed to the NPS, you will have a PRAN number assigned to you. Ensure you have the number handy, and apply for your PRAN card.  


Can NRIs apply for a PRAN?

Yes, NRIs can also subscribe to the National Pension Scheme, so they can (and should) also apply for a PRAN number. If you are an NRI, you can easily apply for your PRAN by providing the details of your NRE/NRO account and a scanned copy of your passport.

How to check my PRAN card status?

If you have opted to receive your PRAN card as a physical document, you can track the status online on the official NSDL website.

How do I print my PRAN card?

You can log into your NPS account and print your PRAN card using the ‘Print & Courier’ option available on the ‘eSign/Print & Courier’ page. Alternatively, you can also download your ePRAN card and print it using the ‘Print ePRAN’ option.

Can I have more than one PRAN?

Each NPS subscriber can only have one PRAN because it is a unique 12-digit number assigned when an NPS Tier I account is opened.

Is a PRAN card mandatory?

Yes, a PRAN is issued to each NPS subscriber when they open their Tier I NPS account. A mandatory PRAN card is also dispatched to the subscriber’s address.