NRI OCI Property Buying India – Tax & FEMA Rules


  • For NRIs, PIOs, OCIs, India is always a preferred destination for buying an immovable property.
  • NRI’s purposes of buying a property in India are many. Some are: to settle in India after returning back to India, to settle their children in India, to buy a house for their parents or family members in India, Investment in India to fetch a good yield, to set up a business etc.
  • Otherwise also, many Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs), Person of Indian Origins (PIOs), Foreign Citizens, due to their personal attachment to India, keep an interest to purchase a property in India.
  • There are various provisions and regulations, which need to be taken care before/during buying/purchasing an immovable property in India by NRIs.
Income Tax Act
  • Under Income Tax Act 1961, as per the TDS provisions, buyer NRI/OCI needs to comply TDS provisions i.e. deduction of TDS before completing purchase transaction of property.
  • TDS rates vary as per the residential status of the seller of property. TDS rates are different for Resident Seller and Non-Resident Seller. Non-Resident Seller may be NRI, OCI, Other Foreign Citizen or entity.
  • If Seller of property is Resident then TDS is applicable @1% if property purchase amount exceed Rs 50 Lakh.
  • If Seller of property is Non-Resident then provisions of section 195 applies. As per section 195, TDS is always deducted @ maximum rate. Hence, TDS is applicable @20% (> 2 year holding period) or @30% (depending on the period of holding of property by the Seller). Surcharge (@10% or @15%) may also applicable if property purchase amount exceeds Rs 50 Lakh or 1 Crore respectively. Cess @4% is also applicable.
  • In relation to Non-Resident Seller, due to high rate of TDS applicability, an application can be filed with the jurisdictional assessing officer for TDS Exemption Certificate (TEC) or Lower Rate TDS Certificate u/s 197/195.
  • Under the provisions of section 56(2) of the Income Tax Act, the NRI buyer (of property) need to ensure that the registration of property is not less than the Stamp Duty Value of the property as per the Stamp Valuation Authority Rules. Else, it will lead to a taxable income in the hands of buyer as gift income.
  • On deduction of TDS, the buyer NRI need to file a TDS return in relation to TDS deducted on purchase of property. This TDS return shall be filed in Form 26QB (in case of resident seller) or 27Q (in case of Non-Resident seller).
Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) – RBI Regulations
  • Under FEMA, an NRI/OCI/Foreign Citizen need to be very cautious before buying an immovable property in India. They must consult some expert in this regard.
  • Presently, as per recent changes, effective October 17, 2019, the law making powers have been taken away by Central Government from RBI. Now, Chapter IX (Rule 24 to Rule 33) of Foreign Exchange Management (Non-Debt Instruments) Rules, 2019 deals with the immovable property purchase, sale, gift, inheritance, remittance related regulations in India by a Person Resident Outside India (i.e. NRI, OCI, Foreign Citizen, Foreign Entity). RBI will be regulating and monitoring the law itself and/or through Authorized Dealer Bank.
  • Under general permission, NRIs (Indian Citizen living & working abroad) and OCIs (Foreign Citizen of Indian origin having OCI card) can buy an immovable property in India.
  • Under new law, in  Rules 2019, PIO is not allowed to acquire property in India. PIO need to seek RBI approval first before buying an immovable property in India. Alternatively, PIO need to apply for a OCI card first to keep himself in the general permission category. However, PIO can hold that property which is acquired by them under erstwhile law when they were allowed to acquire it.
  • Buying property for Real Estate business activity is not allowed to anyone including NRI/OCI etc. However, to earn lease rent income, under non-repatriation umbrella, business activity can be done with an entity in India.
  • To buy an agriculture land, plantation property or farm house in India, prior approval needs to be taken from RBI. There are various kind of restrictions under the Foreign Exchange Laws of India in relation to acquisition, holding, sale, gift of Agriculture/Plantation/Farmhouse Property in India.
  • NRIs/OCIs can buy an immovable property in India out of their foreign funds, NRE account or NRO account.
  • Multiple & Frequent purchase/sale of immovable property in India will lead to RBI Regulations violation under Real Estate Business Activity category.
  • Citizens of India 11 neighbour countries (i.e. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, China, Hong Kong, Macau, DPR of Korea etc) are not allowed to buy an immovable property in India. They need to take RBI approval for purchase of immovable property in India.
  • Foreign citizens, ordinarily residing in India, can be categorized as Person Resident In India. Hence, if so happens, FEMA Rules are not applicable on those foreign citizens.
  • Non-resident spouse (who is Non-NRI, Non-OCI), who is spouse of NRI/OCI can acquire one property in India if marriage has completed 2 years.
  • Long Term Visa Holder, from minority communities in Pakistan Bangladesh and Afghanistan, can acquire one property for residence and one for self employment as per conditions.
S Lohia & Associates – Services & Credentials – Wrt NRI/OCIs/PIOs/Expats Buying Immovable Property In India
  • S Lohia & Associates Expert Team is all the time available to advise various provisions in relation to Buying/purchasing and immovable property by NRIs, OCIs, Expats in India.
  • One Window service in relation to various regulations & services of Non-Resident Indians, Overseas Citizens of India, PIOs, Expats, Foreign Citizens to assist them in acquiring an immovable property in India.
  • Experience of handling NRIs/OCIs/Expats of various countries across the world in relation to their property purchase transactions in India.
  • Best Methodologies, Processes & Technologies To provide NRIs/Foreign Citizens convenient & effective services for their property transactions in India.
  • Provides various support and value added services in relation to property acquisition, sale and management 
  • Representative Services and other value services to make the NRIs/Foreign Citizens property purchase transaction effective & convenient.
  • Having offices/access to across the India.
  • In house team of valuers, lawyers for assisting NRIs/Foreign Citizens in relation to various legal and other requirements.
  • Experience in dealing with authorities including RBI Authorities, Income Tax Authorities.
Usefulness Of Above Information

Above information can be helpful to NRIs, Expatriates, Foreign Citizens, OCIs, PIOs  etc in relation to their doubts about Property Transactions in India such as:

  • I am a Foreign Citizen. I need to know what are the provisions applicable for property purchase transaction in India?
  • As an NRI, what I need to know in relation to my intentions to buy an immovable property in India?
  • I am an NRI. I want to know salient features and regulations in relation to buying an immovable property in India?
  • TDS provisions in relation to purchase of an immovable property by NRIs, Foreign Citizens in India?
  • What are the RBI Regulations in relation to purchase of an immovable property by NRIs or Foreign Citizens in India?
  • TDS rates appliable in relation to purchase of immovable property in India by NRIs/PIOs?
  • How much time it takes to get a TDS Exemption Certificate from Income Tax Department in relation to TDS on purchase/sale of immovable property by NRIs /PIOs in India? How to submit TDS Exemption Certificate application online?
  • I am PIO and OCI. I need a Chartered Accountant in Delhi in relation to purchase of an immovable property?
  • Looking for CA services in relation to advisory and compliance wrt purchase of property in India?
  • Chartered Accountant in Delhi India For NRI/OCI Immovable Property Transaction?
  • NRI Income Tax Services in India for NRI TDS compliance?
  • CA in Delhi India for Power of Attorney, Property Registration Services for NRIs?
  • NRI property purchase/buying/selling transaction Tax implications, FEMA implication in India?
  • How buyers can deduct TDS u/s 195 or 194IA if they are buying property from NRI?
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