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NRI-Helpdesk

Acquisition of Immovable Property in India

Q.1 Who can purchase immovable property in India?

A.1 Under the general permission available, the following categories can freely purchase immovable property in India:
i) Non-Resident Indian (NRI)- that is a citizen of India resident outside India
ii)  Person of Indian Origin (PIO)- that is an individual (not being a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or Afghanistan or China or Iran or Nepal or Bhutan), who

1. at any time, held Indian passport, or 
2. 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).

The general permission, however, covers only purchase of residential and commercial property and not for purchase of agricultural land / plantation property / farm house in India. 

Q.2.  Whether NRI/PIO can acquire agricultural land/ plantation property / farm house in India?

A.2. No. Since general permission is not available to NRI/PIO to acquire agricultural land/ plantation property / farm house in India, such proposals will require specific approval of Reserve Bank and the proposals are considered in consultation with the Government of India.

Q.3. Do any documents need to be filed with Reserve Bank of India after purchase?

A.3. No.  An NRI / PIO who has purchased residential / commercial property under general permission, is not required to file any documents with the Reserve Bank.

Q.4. How many residential / commercial properties can NRI / PIO purchase under the general permission?

A.4. There are no restrictions on the number of residential / commercial properties that can be purchased.

Q.5. Can a foreign national of non-Indian origin be a second holder to immovable property purchased by NRI / PIO?

A.5. No.

Q.6. Can a foreign national of non-Indian origin resident outside India purchase immovable property in India?

A.6. No. A foreign national of non-Indian origin, resident outside India cannot purchase any immovable property in India. But, he/she may take residential accommodation on lease provided the period of lease does not exceed five years. In such cases, there is no requirement of taking any permission of or reporting to Reserve Bank 

Q.7 Can a foreign national who is a person resident in India purchase immovable property in India?

A.7. Yes, but the  person concerned would have to obtain  the approvals, and fulfil the requirements if any, prescribed by other authorities, such as the concerned State Government, etc  However, a foreign national resident in India who is  a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal and Bhutan would require prior approval of Reserve Bank. Such requests are considered by Reserve Bank in consultation with the Government of India.

Q.8 Can an office of a foreign company purchase immovable property in India?

A.8. A foreign company which has established a Branch Office or other place of business in India, in accordance with FERA / FEMA regulations, 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 proper banking channel. A declaration in form IPI should be filed with 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 other borrowings.

 

On winding up of the business, the sale proceeds of such property can be repatriated only with the prior approval of Reserve Bank. Further, acquisition of immovable property by entities who had set up Branch Offices in India and incorporated in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal and Bhutan would require prior approval of Reserve Bank to acquire such immovable property. However, if the foreign company has  established a Liaison Office, it can not acquire immovable property . In such cases, Liaison Offices, can take property by way of lease not exceeding 5 years. 

Q.9 Whether immovable property in India can be acquired by way of gift ?

A.9. (a)  Yes, NRIs and  PIOs can freely acquire immovable property by way of gift either  from

i) a person resident in India or
ii) an NRI  or
iii) a PIO.

However, the property can only be commercial or residential. Agricultural land / plantation property / farm house in India cannot be acquired by way of gift.
(b) A foreign national of non-Indian origin resident outside India cannot acquire any immovable  property in India through gift.

Q.10.  Whether a non-resident can inherit immovable property in India?

A.10. Yes, a person resident outside India i.e.

i) an NRI
ii) a PIO and
iii) a foreign national of non-Indian origin can inherit and hold immovable property in India from a person who was resident in India. However, a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal and Bhutan should seek specific approval of Reserve Bank.

 
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