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NRI & FAQs

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

Yes. However, Reserve Bank has granted general permission to foreign citizens of Indian origin, whether resident in India or abroad, to purchase immovable property in India for their bona fide residential purpose. They are, therefore, not required to obtain separate permission of Reserve Bank.

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

No

In what manner the purchase consideration for the residential immovable property should be paid by foreign citizens of Indian origin 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 NTE/FCNR accounts maintained with banks in India.

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.

They are required to file a declaration in form IPI 7 with the Central Office of Reserve Bank at Mumbai within a period of 90 days from the date of purchase of immovable property or final payment of purchase consideration alongwith a certified copy of the document evidencing the transaction and bank certificate regarding the consideration paid.

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 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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

Yes

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

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?

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?

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 non-resident Indian nationals for acquisition of houses/flats for self-occupation subject to certain conditions.

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

Authorised dealers have been granted permission to grant loans up to non-resident Indian nationals for acquisition of house/flat for self-occupation on their return to India subject to certain conditions. Repayment of the loan should be made within a period not exceeding 15 years out of inward remittance through banking channels or out of funds held in the investments' NRE/FCNR accounts.

Can Indian companies grant loans to their NRI staff?

Reserve Bank permits Indian firms/companies to grant housing loans to their employees deputed abroad and holding Indian passport subject to certain conditions.

How many residential / commercial properties can NRI purchase under the general permission?

There are no restrictions on the number of residential / commercial properties that can be purchased.

Can the branch / liaison office of a foreign company purchase immovable property in India?

A foreign company which has established a Branch Office or other place of business in India, in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Management (Establishment in India of Branch or Office or other Place of Business) Regulations, 2000, can acquire any immovable property in India, which is necessary for or incidental to carrying on such activity. The payment for acquiring such a property should be made by way of foreign inward remittance through the proper banking channels. A declaration in form IPI should be filed with the Reserve Bank within ninety days from the date of acquiring the property. Such a property can also be mortgaged with an Authorised Dealer as a security for the purpose of borrowings. On winding up of the business, the sale proceeds of such property can be repatriated only with the prior approval of the Reserve Bank. Further, acquisition of immovable property by entities incorporated in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal and Bhutan and who have set up Branch Offices in India and would require prior approval of the Reserve Bank.

However, if the foreign company has established a Liaison Office in India, it cannot acquire immovable property. In such cases, Liaison Offices can acquire property by way of lease not exceeding 5 years.

How can an NRI make payment for purchase of residential / commercial property in India?

Payment can be made by NRI out of:

• Funds remitted to India through normal banking channels or
• Funds held in NRE / FCNR (B) / NRO account maintained in India

Can a person who had bought immovable property, when he was a resident, continue to hold such property even after becoming an NRI/PIO? In which account can the sale proceeds of such immovable property be credited?

Yes, a person who had bought the residential / commercial property / agricultural land/ plantation property / farm house in India when he was a resident, continue to hold the immovable property without the approval of the Reserve Bank even after becoming an NRI/PIO. The sale proceeds may be credited to NRO account of the NRI /PIO.