Can Foreigners Buy Property in Mumbai?
Recently, there has been a heightened interest among Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in purchasing real estate properties in India. The value of the Indian rupee in the global market is a significant factor in driving this trend, as NRIs are attracted to investing in India’s real estate market. Additionally, some NRIs seek to acquire a home in India due to their emotional connection to their home country. However, there are some guidelines that they need to adhere to while looking planning to buy the best property in Mumbai.
Procedure for NRI (Non-Resident Indian) and OCI (Overseas Citizen of India)
When NRIs purchase properties in India, they must adhere to the regulations outlined by the Indian constitution and the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). As per FEMA guidelines, NRIs are permitted to own both residential and commercial properties in India, with no limits on the number of properties they can possess. However, the regulations prohibit NRIs from buying agricultural land, farms, or plantations, except when they are inherited or gifted.
If an NRI purchases an under-construction property, they must provide a Power of Attorney (POA) from the developer to facilitate documentation and streamline the process. The POA can be used to execute any contract, lease, mortgage, or sale agreement. Additionally, as per FEMA guidelines, NRIs can sell commercial, residential, agricultural properties, plantations, or inherited agricultural lands to Indian residents.
Furthermore, there are specific Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines regarding the repatriation of funds when selling a property in India. As per the guidelines, the repatriation of funds must be in foreign currency from an NRE (Non-Resident Rupee) account, and the amount cannot exceed the purchase price paid through banking channels. NRIs are also restricted from repatriating funds from the sale of more than two properties.
To purchase an Indian property using funds sourced from outside the country, NRIs or OCIs must establish an NRI account. This term encompasses three types of bank accounts: NRE (Rupee Repatriable), FCNR (Dollar, Pound, Euro, Yen, Canadian Dollar & Australian Dollar), and NRO (Rupee Non-Repatriable).
Procedure for Foreign Nationals
Individuals who are foreign nationals and reside outside of India are not eligible to purchase properties in India. However, foreign citizens who reside within India can purchase property without requiring approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), though they should confirm whether any permissions are necessary before acquiring a house in India. Residents of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal, or Bhutan who are living in India can only buy immovable property in India with special permission from the RBI and the government of India.
As per the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), foreign nationals must satisfy two conditions to be considered residents of India and buy property in India. Firstly, they must reside in India for more than five months (182 days) during the financial year. They can stay in India continuously for 182 days as an employer, doing business, enjoying vacation, or for any other purpose to demonstrate their intention to reside in India.
Note: We highly advise foreign prospective buyers to obtain Indian residency and engage the services of an impartial lawyer before embarking on a property search. In the event that the property purchase is found to be unlawful, regardless of the buyer’s intentions, any payment made towards the Indian property will be forfeited.
In conclusion, NRIs and foreign nationals interested in buying the best property in Mumbai should take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and legal transaction. It is advisable to secure Indian residency, engage an independent lawyer, and open an NRI account if using funds from outside the country. Any purchase made in good faith may still be deemed illegal, resulting in the forfeiture of payments made towards the property. Therefore, it is essential to understand the legal requirements and seek professional guidance before making any property investments in India.