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Definition of an NRI:

An Indian Citizen who stays abroad for employment/ carrying on business or vacation outside India or stays abroad under circumstances indicating an intention for an uncertain duration of stay abroad is a non-resident. (Persons posted in U.N. organizations and officials deputed abroad by Central/ State Government and Public Sector Undertakings on temporary assignments are also treated as non-resident) Non-resident foreign citizens of Indian Origin are treated on par with non-resident Indian citizens.
For Investment in immovable properties:

A foreign citizen (other than a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Sri lanka or Nepal), is deemed to be of Indian origin if,

He held an Indian passport at any time, OR
He or his father or paternal grand-father was a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act,1955 ( 57 of 1955).

Additional DetailsAcquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property in India by a person resident outside India.

These FAQ’s have been prepared in order to address various issues relating to acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India by a person resident outside India under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. These FAQs seek to cover the broad spectrum of issues relating to acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India by a non-resident Indian (NRI) or a foreign national of Indian origin (PIO) or a foreign national of non-Indian origin as also by a person resident in India who is not a citizen of India
Question & Answer

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?
While purchasing real estate most developers demand a Power of Attorney in their favor, is there a way to avoid it?
What are the options available for obtaining guarantors while applying for a HDFC/LIC loan ?
Can Indian companies grant loans to their NRI staff?
Can authorized dealer grant loans to NRIs for acquisition of a flat/house for residential purposes?
Can NRIs obtain loans for acquisition of a house/flat for residential purpose from financial institutions providing housing finance?
Can the properties (residential/commercial) be given on rent if not required for immediate use?
Can sale proceeds of such property be remitted out of India?
Can they dispose of such properties ?
Can foreign citizens of Indian origin acquire commercial properties in India?
Can foreign citizens of Indian origin acquire or dispose of residential property by way of gift?
What is the procedure for seeking such repatriation?
Are any conditions required to be fulfilled if repatriation of sale proceeds is desired?
Can sale proceeds of such property if and when sold be remitted out of India?
Can such property be sold without the permission of Reserve Bank?
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.?
In what manner the purchase consideration for the residential immovable property should be paid by foreign citizens of Indian origin under the general permission?
Do foreign citizens of Indian origin require permission of Reserve Bank to buy immovable property in India for their residential use?
Under the extant foreign exchange regulations to whom is general permission available for purchase immovable property in India?

Acquisition of immovable property in India by way of purchase by a person resident outside India

Can a person resident outside India (i.e. a NRI or a PIO or a foreign national of non-Indian origin) acquire agricultural land/plantation property/farm house in India by way of purchase?
Can a foreign national of non-Indian origin acquire residential property on a lease in India?
Can a foreign national of non-Indian origin resident outside India acquire any immovable property in India by way of purchase?
Can a name of a foreign national of non-Indian origin be added as a second holder to a residential/commercial property purchased by NRI/PIO?
Is there any restriction on number of residential/commercial property that NRI/PIO can purchase under the general permission available?
Is NRI/PIO who has purchased residential/commercial property under general permission required to file any documents with Reserve Bank of India?
Who is a Person of Indian Origin (PIO)?
Under the extant foreign exchange regulations to whom is general permission available for purchase immovable property in India?
Can a person resident outside India (i.e. NRI or PIO or foreign national of non-Indian origin) hold any immovable property in India acquired by way of inheritance from a person resident outside India?
Can NRI/PIO acquire residential/commercial property by way of gift under the general permission available?

Transfer of immovable property in India by way of sale by a person resident outside India

Can a foreign national of non-Indian origin resident outside India transfer by way of sale agricultural land/plantation property/farm house acquired by him in India?
Under general permission available to whom can NRI/PIO transfer by way of sale his agricultural land/plantation property/farm house in India?
Can a foreign national of non-Indian origin whether resident in India or outside India transfer by way of sale residential/property in India acquired with the specific permission of Reserve Bank to a person resident in India or outside India?
Can a PIO transfer by way of sale his residential/commercial property to a NRI or a PIO?
Under general permission available to whom can a PIO transfer his residential/commercial property by way of sale?
Under general permission available to whom can NRI transfer by way of sale his residential/commercial property?