Common questions & general guidelines

Q1. Who is a NRI?

Non Resident Indian (NRI) is a citizen of India, who stays abroad for employment/carrying on business or vocation outside India or stays abroad under circumstances indicating an intention for an uncertain duration of stay abroad is a non-resident. Non-resident foreign citizens of Indian Origin are treated at par with Non Resident Indian (NRIs).

Q2. Who is a PIO?

Person of Indian Origin (PIO) (not being a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or Afghanistan or China or Iran or Nepal or Bhutan), who:
(a) At any time, held Indian passport, or
(b) Who or either of whose father or whose grandfather was a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955)

Q3. Who is OCI?

(a) Any person of full age and capacity:

(i) Who is a citizen of another country, but was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after, the commencement of the constitution, or
(ii) Who is a citizen of another country, but was eligible to become a citizen of India at the time of the commencement of the constitution, or
(iii) Who is a citizen of another country, but belongs to a territory that became part of India after the 15th Day of August, 1947.
(iv) Who is a child of such a citizen, or

(b) A person, who is minor child of a person mentioned in clause (a)
Provided that no person, who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh shall be eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India.

Q4. Do non-resident Indian citizens/ foreign citizens of Indian origin require permission of Reserve Bank to acquire residential property in India?

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 permission of Reserve Bank.

Q5. 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 NRE/FCNR accounts maintained with banks in India.

Q6. Are there any 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.

Q7. Can such property be sold without the permission of Reserve Bank?

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.

Q8. 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.

Q9. 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.

Q10. What are the documents required for buying property?

Pan card (Permanent account number)
OCI/PIO card (In case of OCI/PIO)
Passport (In case of NRI)
Passport size photographs
Address proof
(a) Who can purchase immovable property in India?
Under the general permission granted by RBI, the following categories can freely purchase immovable property in India:

(a) Non-Resident Indian (NRI)- that is a citizen of India residing outside India

(b) 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

(i) at any time, held Indian passport or

(ii) who or either of whose father or whose 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. OCI can purchase immovable property in India except agricultural land / plantation property / farmhouse.

(b) Can a NRI/PIO acquire agricultural land/plantation property/farm house in India?

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.