Who is an NRI?
Under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act of 1973, Non-Resident Indians are:
- Indian citizens who stay abroad for employment or carrying on business or vocation outside India or for any other purpose in circumstances indicating an indefinite period of stay abroad; OR
- Government servants who are posted abroad on duty with the Indian missions and similar other agencies set up abroad by the Government of India where the officials draw their salaries out of Government resources; OR
- Government servants deputed abroad on assignments with foreign Governments or regional/international agencies like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Health Organization (WHO), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) OR
- Officials of the State Government and Public Sector Undertakings deputed abroad on temporary assignments or posted to their branches or offices abroad.
Who is a foreign citizen of Indian Origin or Person of Indian Origin (PIO)?
A foreign citizen is deemed to be of Indian Origin if:
- She/he held an Indian Passport at any time or
- She/he or her/his father or paternal grandfather was a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955. However this does not apply to citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka or Nepal.
To whom General permission is available regarding the purchase of immovable property in India?
General Permission is available to a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India (NRI) and who is a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to purchase only a residential/commercial property in India
Is there any requirement to file the documents with Reserve bank of India?
NRI/PIO who has purchased residential/commercial property under general permission is not required to file any documents with the RBI.
Can a foreign national of non-Indian origin resident outside India acquire any immovable property in India by way of purchase?
No, a foreign national of non-Indian origin resident outside India cannot acquire any immovable property in India by way of purchase.
In what manner the purchase consideration for the immovable property should be paid under the general permission?
The purchase consideration should be met either out of inward remittances in foreign exchange through normal banking channels or out of funds from any nonresident accounts maintained with banks in India.
Is there any restriction on the number of residential properties that may be purchased by an NRI?
There are no restrictions on the number of residential properties that may be bought by an NRI. However, repatriation is allowed only in respect of two such properties.
What are the guidelines for acquisition of agricultural land / plantation property / farmhouse by NRIs and foreign citizens of Indian origin?
All requests for acquisition of agricultural land / plantation property / farm house by any person resident outside India may be made to The Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, Central Office, Exchange Control Department, Foreign Investment Division (III), Mumbai 400 001.
Can such property be sold without the permission of Reserve Bank?
Yes. Reserve Bank has granted general permission for sale of such property. However, where another foreign citizen of Indian origin purchases the property, funds towards the purchase consideration should either be remitted to India or paid out of balances in non-resident accounts maintained with banks in India.
Can sale proceeds of such property if and when sold be remitted out of India?
In the event of sale of immovable property other than agricultural land/farm house/plantation property in India by a NRI or PIO, the authorized dealer may allow repatriation of the sale proceeds outside India, provided all the following conditions are satisfied:
- NRIs/PIOs can effect remittance of sale proceeds of immovable property in India irrespective of the period for which the property was held. The sale proceeds allowed to be repatriated should, however, not exceed the foreign exchange brought in to acquire the said property.
- In case of residential property, the repatriation of sale proceeds is restricted to not more than two such properties, if the property was purchased from funds held in NRE Account.
- The amount sought to be repatriated abroad should not exceed the amount paid for acquisition of the immovable property in the foreign exchange received through normal banking channels or out of funds held in FCNR or NRE Account. In case of investment out of NRE Account the amount to be calculated as foreign currency is equivalent value as on the date of payment for acquisition of the said property.
Can NRI's/PIO's rent out the properties (residential/commercial) if not required for immediate use?
Yes. NRI/PIOs can freely rent out their immovable property, whether purchase through application of forex or otherwise, without seeking any permission from the RBI. The rental income being a current account transaction is repatriable outside India, only if proper tax is paid or provided for.
Does RBI have any guidelines for loans to NRI's/PIO's?
Yes. There are guidelines issued by the by the Reserve Bank of India for grant of Housing Loans to NRIs.
The guidelines are:
- The loan amount shall not exceed 80% of the cost of the dwelling unit.
Latest salary certificate (in English) specifying the following:
- Name (as it appears in the passport)
- Date of joining
- Passport Number
- Perquisites and salary
- Photocopy of labor card/identity card
- Photocopy of valid resident visa stamped on the passport
- Photocopy of monthly statement of local bank account for the last 4 months
- Property related documents