Property Purchase Guide for NRI

General

Q1. Who is an NRI?

Ans.: Under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act of 1973, Non-Resident Indians are:

Indian citizens who stay abroad for employment or carrying on business or vocation outside India or for any other purpose in circumstances indicating an indefinite period of stay abroad;

OR

Government servants who are posted abroad on duty with the Indian missions and similar other agencies set up abroad by the Government of India where the officials draw their salaries out of Government resources;

OR

Government servants deputed abroad on assignments with foreign Governments or regional/international agencies like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Health Organisation (WHO), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

OR

Officials of the State Government and Public Sector Undertakings deputed abroad on temporary assignments or posted to their branches or offices abroad.

Q2. Who is a foreign citizen of Indian origin?

Ans.: A foreign citizen is deemed to be of Indian origin if:

  • he held an Indian Passport at any time or
  • he or his father or paternal grandfather was a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955. However this does not apply to citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka or Nepal.

Buying a Property

Q3. What should a consumer keep in mind while purchasing a housing flat?

Ans.: Some of the factors to consider while purchasing a flat are:

  • Locality i.e. transport, schools, hospitals, market, business district, entertainment centers, hotels, restaurants, pollution levels, etc.
  • Quoted area of the flat, i.e., carpet, built up area and super built up area 
  • Car parking space 
  • Quality of construction 
  • Reputation of the builder or seller 
  • Sufficient water and electric supply, other utilities 
  • Cost components: price, stamp duty, registration charges, transfer fees, monthly outgoings and society charges, costs of utilities 
  • Potential for resale or renting out of the property 
  • Any other distinguishing features or advantages of the property

Q4. Do NRIs require consent of the Reserve Bank to buy immovable property in India?

Ans.: No, NRI's do not require permission to buy any immovable property in India other than agricultural/plantation property or a farmhouse.

Q5. In what way should the purchase consideration for the immovable property be paid under the general permission?

Ans.: The purchase consideration should be met either out of inward remittances in foreign exchange through normal banking channels or out of funds from any non-resident accounts maintained with banks in India.

Q6. Is there any limit on the number of housing properties that may be purchased by an NRI?

Ans.: There are no limits on the number of residential properties that may be bought by an NRI. However, repatriation (the process of converting a foreign currency into the currency of one’s own country) is allowed only in respect of two such properties.

Selling a Property

Q7. Can a home/land be sold without the permission of Reserve Bank?

Ans.: Yes, the Reserve Bank has granted general permission for sale of property. However, where another foreign citizen of Indian origin purchases the property, funds towards the purchase consideration should either be remitted to India or paid out of balances in non-resident accounts maintained with banks in India.

Q8. Can sale proceeds of such property if and when sold be remitted out of India?

Ans.: In the event of sale of immovable property other than agricultural land/farm house/plantation property in India by a NRI or PIO, the authorized dealer may allow repatriation of the sale proceeds outside India, provided all the following conditions are satisfied:

The immovable property was acquired by the seller in accordance with the provisions of the Exchange Control Rules/Regulations/Law in force at the time of acquisition, or the provisions of the Regulations framed under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999;

NRIs/PIOs can effect remittance of sale proceeds of immovable property in India irrespective of the period for which the property was held. The sale proceeds allowed to be repatriated should, however, not exceed the foreign exchange brought in to acquire the said property.

In case of residential property, the repatriation of sale proceeds is restricted to not more than two such properties, if the property was purchased from funds held in NRE Account.

The amount sought to be repatriated abroad should not exceed the amount paid for acquisition of the immovable property in the foreign exchange received through normal banking channels or out of funds held in FCNR or NRE Account. In case of investment out of NRE Account the amount to be calculated as foreign currency is equivalent value as on the date of payment for acquisition of the said property.

Loan

Q9. Does RBI have any guidelines for loans to NRIs/PIOs?

Ans.: There are guidelines issued by the Reserve Bank of India for grant of housing loans to NRIs. The guidelines are:

  • The loan amount shall not exceed 85% of the cost of the housing unit. 
  • Own contribution, which is the cost of housing unit financed less the loan amount, can be met from direct remittances from abroad only through normal banking channels, your Non-Resident (External) [NR (E)] Account and /or Non-Resident (Ordinary) [NR (O)] account and /or Non-Resident Special Rupee account [NRSR] in India.
  • Reimbursement of the loan, comprising of the principal and interest including all the charges are to be remitted from abroad only through normal banking channels, your Non-Resident (External) [NR (E)] Account and /or Non-Resident (Ordinary) [NR (O)] account and /or Non-Resident Special Rupee account [NRSR] in India.

Q10. Can authorized dealers grant loans to NRIs for purchase of a flat/house for residential intention?

Ans.: Authorized dealers have been granted permission to grant loans to NRIs 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 investors' NRE/FCNR/NRO accounts.

Q11. Can authorized dealers grant housing loan to NRIs where he is a principal borrower with his resident close relative as a co-applicant / guarantor or where the land is owned jointly by such NRI borrower with his resident close relative?

Ans.: Yes. Such housing loans availed in rupees can also be repaid by the close relatives in India of the borrower.

Q12. What are the documents required along with the application?

Ans.: The following documents are normally required to be submitted along with the application:

  • Photocopy of the labor contract and English translation duly countersigned by your employer 
  • Latest salary certificate (in English) specifying the following: name (as it appears in the passport), date of joining, passport number, designation, perquisites and salary. 
  • Photocopy of labor card/identity card 
  • Photocopy of valid resident visa stamped on the passport 
  • Photocopy of monthly statement of local bank account for the last 4 months 
  • Property related documents
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