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NRI Guidelines

NRIs and persons of Indians origin (PIOs) have been granted the permission to make repatriation of sale proceeds of immovable properties bought in India through inward remittances. However, the amount should not be more than the foreign exchange in to hold the property. The facility is made available to those NRIs and PIOs who have already paid the amount to get acquisition of immovable properties in India.

All you wanted to know about RBI guidelines for Immovable Property in India

Immovable Property Acquisition by NRIs and PIOs

Immovable Property Acquisition by Foreign Nationals of Non-Indian Origin

Q1.Do non-resident Indian citizens require permission of Reserve Bank to acquire residential/commercial properly in India?

Q2.Do foreign citizens of Indian origin require permission of Reserve Bank to purchase immovable property in India for their residential use?

Q3.In what manner the purchase consideration for the residential immovable property should be paid by foreign citizens of Indian origin under the general permission?

Q4.What are the formalities required to be completed by foreign citizens of Indian origin for purchasing residential immovable property in India under the general permission?

Q5.Can such property be sold without the permission of Reserve Bank?

Q6.Can sale proceeds of such property if and when sold be remitted out of India?

Q7.Are any conditions required to be fulfilled if repatriation of sale proceeds is desired?

Q8.What is the procedure for seeking such repatriation?

Q9.Can foreign citizens of Indian origin acquire or dispose of residential property by way of gift?

Q10.Can foreign citizens of Indian origin acquire commercial properties in India?

Q11.Can they dispose of such properties?

Q12.Can sale proceeds of such property be remitted out of India?

Q13.Can the properties (residential/commercial) be given on rent if not required for immediate use?

Q14.Can NRIs obtain loans for acquisition of a house/flat for residential purpose from financial institutions providing housing finance?

Q15.Can authorized dealer grant loans to NRIs for acquisition of a flat/house for residential purposes?

Q16.Can Indian companies grant loans to their NRI staff?

Q17.What are the options available for obtaining guarantors while applying for a HDFC/LIC loan?

Q18.While purchasing real estate most developers demand a Power of Attorney in their favor, is there a way to avoid it?

Q19.Where can one find regulations/directions issued by Reserve Bank for acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India by a person resident outside India?

Q20.Are NRIs permitted to maintain accounts in rupees and in foreign currency?

Q21.What are the different types of rupee accounts permitted to be maintained?

 

Do non-resident Indian citizens require permission of Reserve Bank to acquire residential/commercial properly in India?
Ans:
Regulations regarding acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India by a person resident outside India has been notified vide RBI Notification No. FEMA 21/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000 as amended vide Notification No. FEMA 64/2002-RB dated June 29, 2002 and Notification No. FEMA 65/2002-RB dated June 29, 2002 and relevant directions issued in the form of A.P. (DIR Series) Circulars. These are available on RBI website: www.fema.rbi.org.in.
Do foreign citizens of Indian origin require permission of Reserve Bank to purchase immovable property in India for their residential use?
Ans :
General Permission is available to purchase only a residential/commercial property in India to a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India (NRI) and who is a Person of Indian Origin (PIO).
In what manner the purchase consideration for the residential immovable property should be paid by foreign citizens of Indian origin under the general permission?
Ans:
For the purpose of acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India, a PIO means an individual (not being a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or Afghanistan or China or Iran or Nepal or Bhutan), who (i) at any time, held Indian passport; or (ii) who or either of whose father or grandfather was a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955).
What are the formalities required to be completed by foreign citizens of Indian origin for purchasing residential immovable property in India under the general permission?
Ans:
NRI/PIO who has purchased residential/commercial property under general permission is not required to file any documents with the RBI.
Can such property be sold without the permission of Reserve Bank?
Ans:
Yes. Reserve Bank has granted general permission for sale of such property. However, where the property is purchased by another foreign citizen of Indian origin, funds towards the purchase consideration should either be remitted to India or paid out of balances in NRE/FCNR accounts.
Can sale proceeds of such property if and when sold be remitted out of India?
Ans:
In respect of residential properties purchased on or after 26th May, 1993, Reserve Bank considers applications for repatriation of sale proceeds up to the consideration amount remitted in foreign exchange for the acquisition of the property for two such properties. The balance amount of sale proceeds if any or sale proceeds in respect of properties purchased prior to 26th May, 1993, will have to be credited to the ordinary non-resident rupee account of the owner of the property.
Are any conditions required to be fulfilled if repatriation of sale proceeds is desired?
Ans:
Applications for repatriation of sale proceeds are considered provided the sale takes place after three years from the date of final purchase deed or from the date of payment of final installment of consideration amount, whichever is later.
What is the procedure for seeking such repatriation?
Ans:
Applications for necessary permission for remittance of sale proceeds should be made in form IPI 8 to the Central Office of Reserve Bank at Mumbai within 90 days of the sale of the property.
Can foreign citizens of Indian origin acquire or dispose of residential property by way of gift?
Ans:
Yes. Reserve Bank has granted general permission to foreign citizens of Indian origin to acquire or dispose of properties up to two houses by way of gift from or to a relative who may be an Indian citizen or a person of Indian origin whether resident in India or not, provided gift tax has been paid.
Can foreign citizens of Indian origin acquire commercial properties in India?
Ans:
Yes. Under the general permission granted by Reserve Bank properties other than agricultural land/farm house/plantation property can be acquired by foreign citizens of Indian origin provided the purchase consideration is met either out of inward remittances in foreign exchange through normal banking channels or out of funds from the purchasers' NRE/FCNR accounts maintained with banks in India and a declaration is submitted to the Central Office of Reserve Bank in form IPI 7 within a period of 90 days from the date of purchase of the property/final payment of purchase consideration.
Can they dispose of such properties?
Ans:
Yes.
Can sale proceeds of such property be remitted out of India?
Ans:
Yes. Repatriation of original investment in respect of properties purchased by foreign citizens of Indian origin on or after 26th May 1993 will be allowed to be remitted up to the consideration amount originally remitted from abroad provided the property is sold after a period of three years from the date of the final purchase deed or from the date of payment of final installment of consideration amount, whichever is later. Applications for the purpose are required to be made to the Central Office of Reserve Bank within 90 days of the sale of property in form IPI 8.
Can the properties (residential/commercial) be given on rent if not required for immediate use?
Ans:
Yes. Reserve Bank has granted general permission for letting out of any immovable property in India. The rental income or proceeds of any investment of such income has to be credited to NRO account.
Can NRIs obtain loans for acquisition of a house/flat for residential purpose from financial institutions providing housing finance?
Ans:
Reserve Bank has granted general permission to certain financial institutions providing housing finance e.g. HDFC,LIC Housing Finance Ltd. etc to grant housing loans to NRIs for acquisition of houses/flats for self-occupation subject to certain conditions.
Can authorized dealer grant loans to NRIs for acquisition of a flat/house for residential purposes?
Ans:
Regulations regarding acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India by a person resident outside India has been notified vide RBI Notification No. FEMA 21/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000 as amended vide Notification No. FEMA 64/2002-RB dated June 29, 2002 and Notification No. FEMA 65/2002-RB dated June 29, 2002 and relevant directions issued in the form of A.P. (DIR Series) Circulars. These are available on RBI website: www.fema.rbi.org.in.
Can Indian companies grant loans to their NRI staff?
Ans:
Reserve Bank permits Indian firms/companies to grant housing loans to their employees deputed abroad and holding Indian passport subject to certain conditions.
What are the options available for obtaining guarantors while applying for a HDFC/LIC loan?
Ans:
One will need a guarantor for a loan mainly for collateral security. The guarantor will have to demonstrate appropriate net worth to cover for the loan. Usually one can have a guarantor in any city where the loan issuer has a branch. Talk to loan issuers they will work something out for NRIs and foreign banks.
While purchasing real estate most developers demand a Power of Attorney in their favor, is there a way to avoid it?
Ans:
One can choose not to grant the Power of Attorney (POA) to the developers. However this will mandate the mailing of all documents to your foreign residence and associated time delays. A good compromise is to grant the POA to the builder only for specific necessary items.
Where can one find regulations/directions issued by Reserve Bank for acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India by a person resident outside India?
Ans:
Regulations regarding acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India by a person resident outside India has been notified vide RBI Notification No. FEMA 21/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000 as amended vide Notification No. FEMA 64/2002-RB dated June 29, 2002 and Notification No. FEMA 65/2002-RB dated June 29, 2002 and relevant directions issued in the form of A.P. (DIR Series) Circulars. These are available on RBI website: www.fema.rbi.org.in
Are NRIs permitted to maintain accounts in rupees and in foreign currency?
Ans:
Yes. Accounts can be maintained by NRIs in rupees as well as in foreign currency. Accounts in foreign currencies can, however, can be maintained with authorities' dealers only.
What are the different types of rupee accounts permitted to be maintained?
Ans:
Three types of accounts viz. Non resident (External) Rupee Accounts (NRE account), Ordinary Non-Resident Rupee Account (NRO A/c) and Non-Resident (Non- repatriable) Rupee Deposit accounts (NRNR) are permitted to be maintained.

 

Immovable Property Acquisition by NRIs and PIOs

Acquisition by way of Purchase
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has permitted the following categories of NRIs/PIOs to acquire Immovable Property (other than agricultural land, plantation or farm-house property) by way of purchase, provided the payment is made out of Foreign Exchange Inward Remittance or any Non Resident Bank Account in India, i.e., (Non Resident External (NR(E)), Foreign Currency Non Resident Account (FCNR(B)) or Ordinary Non Resident Rupee Account a/c (NRO) in connection with acquisition of Immovable Property in India:

A Non Resident who has established in India a branch office or other place of business (excluding a liaison) office

 

  • A Non Resident who is a citizen of India
  • A Non Resident who is a Person of Indian Origin (PIO)

Acquisition by way of Gift
General permission is granted to acquire any Immovable Property (other than agricultural land, plantation or farmhouse property) by way of gift from a person (donor) who is:

  • A Person Resident in India, or
  • A Person Resident outside India (NRI) who is an Indian citizen or foreign citizen of Indian origin.
Provided that applicable Gift Tax if any has been paid at the time the immovable property is being gifted.

 

Acquisition by way of Inheritance
General permission is granted for inheritance of Immovable Property including agricultural land, plantation or farm-house property from:

  • A Person Resident in India, or
  • A Person Resident outside India who may be an Indian citizen or Foreign Citizen of Indian Origin provided such
person had acquired the said property in accordance with the provisions of Foreign Exchange Law in force at the time of acquisition, i.e., FERA, 1973 or FEMA 1999.
Hence, agricultural land, plantation or farmhouse property can be acquired by way of inheritance only.

 

Immovable Property Acquisition by Foreign Nationals of Non-Indian Origin
The residential status of a foreign national of non-Indian origin determines the ability to acquire immovable property in India. Thus, Foreign Nationals of non-Indian origin can be further divided into

  • Foreign Nationals of Non-Indian Origin, Resident Outside India
  • Foreign Nationals of Non-Indian Origin, Resident In India

 

Foreign Nationals of
Non-Indian Origin
Resident Outside India Resident in India
Residential Status They do not meet the criterion of having resided in India for 182 days or more. They meet the criterion of having stayed in India for a period of 182 days of more. They may also be referred to as Persons Not Permanently Residents.
 
Acquisition of property in India Cannot purchase any Immovable Property in India. Cannot be added as a second holder to a property purchased by an NRI/PIO. Can purchase Immovable Property after obtaining the necessary approvals and fulfillment of requirements, if any, prescribed by the concerned State Governments.
 
Reserve Bank of India(RBI) Conditions Can take up residential accommodation on lease, provided the period of the lease does not exceed five years. In such cases, there is no requirement of taking any approval from the Reserve Bank of India. Prior approval of RBI necessary for citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal and Bhutan, in addition to State-specific approvals. Such requests are considered by the Reserve Bank of India in consultation with the Central Government. Prior approval of RBI not necessary for citizens of countries other than those mentioned above.