The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), came in force with effect from June 1, 2000. Section 6 (3) (i) of the Act empowers the Reserve Bank to frame regulations to prohibit, restrict or regulate the acquisition or transfer of immovable property in India by certain persons mainly residents outside India. The restrictions under this clause are not applicable to a lease of immovable property for a period not exceeding five years.
The regulations made by the Reserve Bank are called Foreign Exchange management (Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable property in India) Regulations, 2000, and have been notified vide Notification FEMA No. 21/2000-RB of May 3, 2000
A synopsis of the said Regulations is as under:
In the event of sale of immovable property other than agricultural land/farm house/plantation property in India by a person resident outside India, who is a citizen of India, or a person of Indian origin, the authorized dealer may allow repatriation of the sale proceeds outside India, provided all the following conditions are satisfied:
Authorized Dealers have been permitted to allow the facility of repatriation of funds by NRIs/PIOs in their Non-Resident Ordinary Rupee (NRO) account upto US$ 100,000 per year representing sale proceeds of immovable property held by them for a period of not less than 10 years subject to payment of applicable taxes
* All requests for acquisition of agricultural land/plantation property/farm house by any person resident outside India or foreign nationals may be made to The Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, Central Office, Exchange Control Department, Foreign Investment Division (III), Mumbai 400 001
The NRIs/PIOs can freely rent out their immovable property in India without seeking any permission from the Reserve Bank. The rental income being a current account transaction is freely repatriable outside India.
A. For the purposes of transactions, i.e., transfer, sale, purchase etc., dealing with immovable property in India, a person of Indian origin is defined as under: An individual (not being a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or Afghanistan or China or Iran or Nepal or Bhutan), who:(i) at any time, held Indian passport; or
B. For further details please contact the nearest Regional Office of the Reserve Bank of India (Exchange Control Department)
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