Guidelines for NRI's
India touted to be the next super economy, NRI investments are set to flourish, as they can make the most of this opportunity and expect exceptional returns over the years.
PURCHASE OF IMMOVABLE PROPERTY IN INDIA BY NON-RESIDENT INDIVIDUALS
First things first, it is important to understand two important terms that frequently pop up on the data below.
NRI: This refers to any person who is a citizen of India but resides outside the country
PIO (Person of Indian Origins): This term refers to any resident outside of India who is not a citizen of Pakistan/Bangladesh/Iran/Nepal/Bhutan/China/Afghanistan/Sri Lanka but fulfil the following conditions
- They have at any time held an Indian Passport
- Whose Father/Mother/Grandmother/Grandfather was a citizen of India either by the Citizenship Act or through the Constitution
Disclaimer: Below FAQs are our attempt at answering common queries arising during due process in a way that is understandable to our clients. However, for conducting a transaction, The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), and the regulations made or directions issued thereunder may be referred to. The relevant principal regulations are the Foreign Exchange Management (Acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India) Regulations, 2000 issued vide Notification No. FEMA 21/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000. The directions issued are consolidated in Part II of the Master Direction No 12 on Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. Amendments, if any, to the principal regulations are appended.
1. What are the accepted modes of payment for property acquired in India?
Payment for an immovable property has to be received in India and is subject to payment of all taxes and other duties/levies in India. The payment should be received in the form of funds remitted to India through banking channels or through funds held in NRE/FCNR(B)/NRO accounts of the NRIs/PIOs. Payments should not be made through travellers’ cheque and foreign currency notes. NRIs/PIOs can avail housing loan in Rupees from an authorized dealer or housing finance institution in India subject to conditions.
2. Can foreign embassies / diplomats / consulate generals acquire property in India?
Foreign Embassy/Diplomat/Consulate General, can purchase/sell immovable property (other than agricultural land/plantation property/farmhouse) in India provided –
3. How can Non-Resident Indians (NRI's) / Persons of Indian Origin (PIOS) acquire immovable property in India?
- Purchase (other than agricultural land/farmhouse/plantation, etc) from Resident/NRI Resident/NRI
- Acquire as gift (other than agricultural land/farmhouse/plantation, etc) from Resident/NRI/PIO/Resident/NRI/PIO
- Acquire (any IP) as inheritance from (a) Any person who has acquired it under laws in force (b) under section 6(5) iii of FEMA
- Sell (other than agricultural land/farmhouse/plantation etc) to Resident/NRI/PIO Resident
- Sell (agricultural land) to Resident Resident who is a citizen of India
- Gift (other than agricultural land) to Resident/NRI/PIO Resident/NRI/PIO
- Gift (agricultural land) to Resident Resident who is a citizen of India
- Gift residential/commercial property to Resident/NRI/PIO Resident/NRI/PIO
4. Can foreign nationals acquire property in India?
Citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal, Bhutan, Macau or Hong Kong, irrespective of their residential status, cannot, without prior permission of the Reserve Bank, acquire or transfer immovable property in India, other than on lease, for no more than five years.
5. What is the meaning of transfer?
As per section 2(ze) of FEMA transfer means, sale, purchase, exchange, mortgage, pledge, gift, a loan, or any other form of transfer of right, title, possession, or lien.
AMENDMENTS TO THE PRINCIPAL REGULATIONS
Notification No. FEMA 65/2002-RB dated June 29, 2002
Notification No. FEMA 93/2003-RB dated June 9, 2003
Notification No. FEMA 146/2006-RB dated February 10, 2006
Notification No. FEMA 186/2009-RB dated February 3, 2009
Notification No. FEMA 200/2009-RB dated October 5, 2009
Notification No. FEMA 321/2014-RB dated September 26, 2014
Notification No. FEMA 335/2015-RB dated February 4, 2015
6. Can a non-resident repatriate the sale proceeds of immovable property in India?
A person who has acquired the property U/s 6(5) of FEMA or his successor cannot repatriate the sale proceeds of such property without RBI approval. However, repatriation up to USD 1 million per financial year is allowed, along with other assets under (Foreign Exchange Management (Remittance of Assets) Regulations, 2016) for NRIs/PIOs and a foreign citizen (except Nepal/Bhutan/PIO) who has (a) inherited from a person referred to in section 6(5) of FEMA, or (b) retired from employment in India or (c) is a non-resident widow/widower and has inherited assets from her/his deceased spouse who was an Indian national resident in India. NRIs/PIOs can remit the sale proceeds of immovable property (other than agricultural land/farmhouse/plantation property) in India subject to the following conditions: