Overseas
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the emigration rules for Indian nationals? Which categories of persons do not require emigration checks?

Indian Nationals intending to go overseas for the purpose of employment need to undergo an emigration check done by the Protector of Emigrants (POEs). For a list of persons/categories of workers in whose case emigration check is not required visit the website of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (External website that opens in a new window).

Can NRIs and PIOs open an account with Indian banks?

Yes, NRIs can maintain both Rupee and foreign currency accounts in India. RBI has authorised certain banks for Foreign Currency accounts for the NRIs.

Is registration of NRI marriages compulsory in India?

Keeping in view the frequent reports regarding failed and fraudulent marriages between overseas Indian grooms and Indian girls, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has recommended that NRIs registration of marriages be made mandatory. However, the Government has not passed any rule in this regard as of now.

What is the percentage of seats reserved for NRIs and PIOs in the Indian educational institutes and universities?

1/3 of the 15 per cent supernumerary seats in educational institutions (except medical) are reserved for children of NRIs in the Gulf and South East Asia.

Is there a limit to the number of investments for acquiring commercial properties in India?

No, there is no limit to the investments that NRIs can make in immovable commercial properties in India.

How can an NRI or PIO adopt a child in India?

NRIs and PIOs need to contact the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) (External website that opens in a new window) for child adoption in India. CARA is an autonomous Body under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India.

What is meant by OCB?

Overseas Corporate Body (OCB) means a company, partnership firm, society and other corporate body owned directly or indirectly to the extent of at least sixty per cent by Non-Resident Indians and includes overseas trust in which not less than sixty percent beneficial interest is held by Non-resident Indians directly or indirectly but irrevocably, which was in existence as on September 16, 2003 and was eligible to undertake transactions pursuant to the general permission granted under Foreign Exchange Management Regulations.

What are the investment options for NRIs in India?

NRIs can invest in India as under:

  • Investment under Automatic Route with repatriation benefits
  • Investment with Government approval
  • Other investments with repatriation benefits
  • Investments up to 100% equity without repatriation benefits
  • Other investments by NRIs/OCBs without repatriation benefits.

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has designed a Ready Reckoner (External website that opens in a new window) to provide information on various investment opportunities open to Indian Diaspora at a glance.

Can NRIs invest in shares, debentures and units of mutual funds in India?

Yes, NRIs can invest in government and UTI bonds, debentures, shares and securities as per the rules laid down by FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) (External website that opens in a new window).

Can NRIs and PIOs acquire any immovable property in India by the way of inheritance?

Yes, foreign citizens of Indian origin can acquire immovable property (IP) in India by the way of inheritance. However, citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal and Bhutan (whether resident in India or not) are prohibited from acquiring or transferring any IP in India without prior approval of the RBI.

Can a person of Indian origin, resident outside India gift properties acquired earlier in terms of the provisions of FEMA?

Yes. A person of Indian origin resident outside India may transfer residential or commercial property in India by way of gift to a person resident in India or to a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India or to a person of Indian origin resident outside India.

Whom can NRIs and PIOs contact if they face any problem in India?

In case of any complaint, NRIs /PIOs can meet the Protector of Emigrants (PDE) on Tuesdays and Fridays between 11.30 A.M. to 12.30 P.M without any prior appointment. Complaints can also be registered online at indianemigration[at]nic[dot]in.

What are the financial services provided by the Government of India to NRIs and PIOs?

Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (Govt. of India) and UTI Bank have recently joined hands to provide web enabled PRAVASI BHARATIYA SEVA (Financial Services for Overseas Indians (External website that opens in a new window)) on the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

This site enables the Overseas Indians to send money to their family in India from overseas and to update themselves on the investment opportunities, tax issues and real estate market scenarios in India.

Where can an NRI/PIO open a demat account? Does an NRI need to seek permission from the RBI for the same?

NRI/PIO can open a demat account with any Depository Participant [DP] of NSDL. The NRI/PIO needs to mention the type ['NRI' as compared to 'Resident'] and the sub-type ['Repatriable' or 'Non-Repatriable'] in the account opening form collected from the DP. No permission is required from RBI to open a demat account. However, credits and debits from demat account may require general or specific permissions as the case may be, from designated authorised dealers.

When does a Non-resident Indian become a resident of India?

A Non-Resident Indian will be treated as a person resident in India if he returns to or stays in India, for:

  • Taking up employment in India, or
  • Carrying on a business or vocation in India, or
  • Any other purpose for an uncertain period

If NRI/PIO desires to make investments under different schemes, can he hold all such securities in a single demat account?

No. Securities received against investments under 'Foreign Direct Investment scheme (FDI)', 'Portfolio Investment scheme (PIS)' and 'Scheme for Investment' on non - repatriation basis have to be credited into separate demat accounts. Investment under PIS could be on repatriation or non – repatriation basis. Investment under FDI scheme is on repatriation basis.

Can NRIs avail loans against their bank accounts in India? If yes, then for what purposes?

There are certain banks authorised by the Reserve Bank of India that are permitted to grant loans to NRIs holding NRE, NRO and FCNR accounts in India against their security of term deposits.

NRIs can avail loans for the acquisition of flat/house in India against NRE or FCNR fixed deposits on repatriable basis, provided the amount to be repatriated is governed by Foreign Exchange Management Regulation (Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property in India).

Do NRIs require the prior approval of RBI for maintaining bank accounts in India?

NRIs can open and maintain bank accounts in India without the prior permission RBI.

Which all banks are authorised by the RBI for opening accounts for NRIs?

For the list of authorised dealers that can open accounts in the name of NRIs in India refer to RBI Rules (External website that opens in a new window).

Are OCBs allowed to make investments under the Portfolio Investment Scheme for NRIs?

RBI has banned OCBs (Overseas Corporate Bodies) from investing under the Portfolio Scheme that is solely for the benefit of NRIs. In fact, the category of OCB has been abolished on a whole and they can';t invest in India in any manner. However, OCBs can continue to sell and hold shares purchased before 29th November 2001.

What is the fee for applying for PIO card and OCI card?

Fees to be paid along with PIO and OCI card application are Rs.1,150 and Rs.12,650 respectively.

The amount is to be paid through a Demand Draft addressed in favour of "Pay and Account Officer (Secretariat), Ministry of Home Affairs" payable at New Delhi.

What are the abbreviations and terms commonly used in relation to Indian Diaspora?

Cited below is a list of abbreviations with their full forms that will reduce confusion regarding specific terms used in relation to Indian Diaspora.

  • ECR- Emigration Check Required
  • FEMA- Foreign Exchange Management Act
  • FIPB- Foreign Investment Promotion Board
  • KIP- Know India Programme
  • MEA- Ministry of External Affairs
  • MHA- Ministry of Home Affairs
  • MOIA- Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
  • NRI- Non-resident Indian
  • OCB- Overseas Corporate Body
  • OCI- Overseas Citizenship of India
  • PBD- Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
  • PIO- Persons of Indian Origin
  • JCI- Joint Commission International

Can an NRI or foreigner drive a vehicle in India on the basis of European license or driving license issued by any foreign country?

He can not. However if he has obtained an International Driving Permit (IDP) from his own country and his country is a signatory to the 1949 Geneva Convention he can drive in India the specified category of vehicle till the IDP is valid. Please refer to the procedure of obtaining an India Driving Licence.

What is the validity of International Driving Permit (IDP) issued in India?

The validity of IDP is one year from the date of its issue or the validity of the domestic license whichever is earlier. Please refer to the procedure of obtaining an International Driving Licence in India.

Can International Driving Permit (IDP) be issued to an NRI/foreigner?

No IDP in India can be issued to NRI/foreigner. Only Indian citizens are eligible for IDP. Please refer to the procedure of obtaining an International Driving Licence in India.

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Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on:23-04-2012