Section 6 (3) (i) of FEMA,1999 deals about persons resident outside India acquiring immovable property in India.
Section 6(5) of FEMA 1999 says that’s a person resident outside India can hold, own, transfer immovable property situated in India.
Who are persons resident outside India?
Non- Resident Indians (NRIs) or
Foreign national of Indian Origin (PIO) or
Foreign national of non-Indian origin
NRI : An NRI is an Indian citizen residing outside India. PIO : A citizen of another country is a PIO (person of Indian origin) if he has held an Indian passport at any time or if he, his father or his grandfather has been a citizen of India.
Acquisition of immovable property in India by a person resident outside India i.e. by a NRI / PIO / foreign national of non-Indian origin through -
i) purchase ii) gift iii) inheritance
RBI does not permit acquisition of agricultural land, farm house and plantation property by any person resident outside India.
Any other immovable property can be acquired by an Indian citizen who is resident outside India, a person of Indian origin, foreign diplomats, foreign embassies, consulate generals and foreign corporate who have established branches, liaison offices or any place of business subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.
Foreign corporate can acquire immovable property provided the acquisition is for carrying on a permitted activity.
Acquisition by way of Purchase The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has permitted the following categories of NRIs/PIOs to acquire Immovable Property (other than agricultural land, plantation or farm-house property) by way of purchase, provided the payment is made out of Foreign Exchange Inward Remittance or any Non Resident Bank Account in India, i.e., (Non Resident External (NR(E)), Foreign Currency Non Resident Account (FCNR(B)) or Ordinary Non Resident Rupee Account a/c (NRO) in connection with acquisition of Immovable Property in India: i. A Non Resident who is a citizen of India. ii. A Non Resident who is a Person of Indian Origin (PIO). iii. A Non Resident who has established in India a branch office or other place of business (excluding a liaison) office. There are no restrictions on the number of residential/commercial properties that can be purchased.
Acquisition by way of Gift
General permission is granted to acquire any Immovable Property (other than agricultural land, plantation or farmhouse property) by way of gift from a person (donor) who is:
A Person Resident in India, or
A Person Resident outside India (NRI) who is an Indian citizen or foreign citizen of Indian origin.
Provided that applicable Gift Tax if any has been paid at the time the immovable property is being gifted.
Acquisition by way of Inheritance
General permission is granted for inheritance of Immovable Property including agricultural land, plantation or farm-house property from:
A Person Resident in India, or
A Person Resident outside India who may be an Indian citizen or Foreign Citizen of Indian Origin provided such person had acquired the said property in accordance with the provisions of Foreign Exchange Law in force at the time of acquisition, i.e., FERA, 1973 or FEMA 1999.
Hence, agricultural land, plantation or farmhouse property can be acquired by way of inheritance only.
Foreign Nationals of Non-Indian Origin Resident Outside India Resident in India Residential Status They do not meet the criterion of having resided in India for 182 days or more. They meet the criterion of having stayed in India for a period of 182 days of more. They may also be referred to as Persons Not Permanently Residents. Acquisition of property in India Cannot purchase any Immovable Property in India. Cannot be added as a second holder to a property purchased by an NRI/PIO. Can purchase Immovable Property after obtaining the necessary approvals and fulfillment of requirements, if any, prescribed by the concerned State Governments. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Conditions Can take up residential accommodation on lease, provided the period of the lease does not exceed five years. In such cases, there is no requirement of taking any approval from the Reserve Bank of India. Prior approval of RBI necessary for citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal and Bhutan, in addition to State-specific approvals. Such requests are considered by the Reserve Bank of India in consultation with the Central Government. Prior approval of RBI not necessary for citizens of countries other than those mentioned above.