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Raja Sundarraman (Advocate)     11 August 2008

Can a foriegner purchase land in India?

        Respected Learned Friends, I invite your valuable opinions as to  a foriegner purchase purchase land in India. Is the Right to propert enshrined in our Constitution made avilable to a citizens of a foriegn country who was formerly a citizen of India? 


 5 Replies

Jaydeep Kurup (ACS, LLB)     11 August 2008

No. A foreigner cannot purchase immoveable property in India unless such property is acquired by way of inheritance from a person resident in India.

However an NRI can purchase any immoveable proeprty in India other agricultural land / plantation property / farm house.

Pls refer lates RBI Master Circular on Foreign Investments in India released on 1.7.08 for any clarification.




Yes, as per the provisions of the FEMA, a foreigner can acquire immovable property in india with the permission of RBI.

In your case as the foreign is previously holding a indian citizenship, he will come under the perviw of persons of indian origin (PIO)

They can acquire the immovable property under two ways:

1. Under General Permission

2. With prior permission of RBI

1. They can acquire the immovable properties other than agricultural land/ form house/ plantation property from out of funds:

   a)received in india by way of inward remittance through banking channals from any place outside india

    b) held in any non-resident account maintained in accordance with the provisions of the act and the regulations made by the RBI under the act.

2. If thay want to invest in agricultural land etc, or from funds not covered above they have to take prior permission of RBI.

Even a pure foreiginer also can invest in immovable prooperties in india with the permission of RBI.

Read master carcular on investment, page no 40


Manish Singh (Advocate)     12 August 2008

Acquiring immovable property in India by persons resident outside India is regulated in terms of Section 6(3) (i) of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999 as well as by the regulations contained in Notification issued by RBI viz Notification No FEMA. 21/2000-RB dated May 3, 2000, as amended from time to time. The persons resident outside India are categorized as Non- Resident Indians (NRIs) or a foreign national of Indian Origin (PIO) or a foreign national of non-Indian origin. A person resident in India who is not a citizen of India is also covered by the relevant Notifications.

Statutorily, a person resident outside India can hold, own, transfer or invest in Indian currency, security or any immovable property situated in India if such currency, security or property was acquired, held or owned by such person when he was a resident in India or inherited from a person who was a resident in India.

The regulations permit a NRI or a PIO to acquire immovable property in India other than agricultural land or, plantation property or farm house. Further, foreign companies who have been permitted to open an office in India are also allowed to acquire any immovable property in India, which is necessary for or incidental to carrying on such activity. This stipulation is not available to entities which are permitted to open liaison offices in India.

The restrictions on acquiring immovable property in India by a person resident outside India would not apply where the immovable property is proposed to be acquired by way of a lease for a period not exceeding 5 years or where a person is deemed to be resident in India. In order to be deemed to be a person resident in India, from FEMA angle, the person would need to comply with the criterion for residency as defined in FEMA . However, citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal or Bhutan cannot acquire or transfer immovable property in India, (other than on lease, not exceeding five years) without prior permission of the Reserve Bank.

NRIs/PIO are allowed to repatriate an amount up to USD one million, per financial year (April-March), out of the balances held in the NRO account subject to tax compliance. This amount includes sale proceeds of assets acquired by way of inheritance or settlement.

You can contact at the followinf address for assistance:

Chief General Manager-in-Charge,

Foreign Exchange Department

Foreign Investment Division,

Reserve Bank of India,

Central Office

Mumbai- 400 001.


Shree. ( Advocate.)     12 August 2008


For a foreign national an individual or a company so many regulations to invest in India and to purchase property or to become share holders etc;you have to apply in a standard forms applications to submit to RBI: Refer RBI manual : After getting the permission only you are allowed to invest or purchase.

podicheti.srinivas (advocate/legal consultant)     12 August 2008

thank you all for the information.

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