As an NRI there are a few additional requirements in the form of documentation that a citizen has to comply with while investing in India. As any other citizen, documents such as a PAN card, ID Proof and Address Proof (the passport will suffice to be the single document for both), a KYC certificate (Know-Your-Client Certificate) for Mutual Fund investment above Rs.50,000/- and Passport size Photographs are required.
Apart from this an NRE (Non-Resident External Account – Dollar Account), and / or an NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary Account – Rupee Account) is/are required. The difference between these accounts is that the investments made and the returns got from those investments, using the NRE account can be repatriated to other countries.
Investment in Mutual Funds
NRIs can directly invest in any mutual fund from their NRE/NRO account. For investment above Rs.50,000/- the KYC documentation is required. Investment can be in any mode – only once, regular (monthly (SIP), quarterly, etc). The NRI investment returns in Mutual funds can fully be repatriated.
To make the investment the KYC forms given at any of the “Service Points” listed on the AMFI website. This will take about 4 days. A letter is sent back to the address for communication stating that the investor is verified. A copy of this letter has to be attached will all the mutual fund investment / withdrawals above Rs.50,000/-.
The investments will require forms to be signed but can be downloaded from any of the respective Asset Management Company (Mutual Fund) websites. So the NRI could sign, fill and have the forms sent directly to the Mutual Fund Company or to a relative / friend / financial advisor who could then give it to the Fund Office.
Investment in Shares
NRIs can invest in shares using a Demat (Dematerialised Format) account. However RBI approval has to be got for each transaction.
This is a cumbersome process unless the investment is large (>Rs.1 crore) and/or to acquire significant stock holding in a company.
The better way is thus to use the mutual fund route for exposure to the stock market.
Investment in Real Estate
Investment in land and buildings (housing and commercial) can be done by NRIs with the same rules as for the Resident Indians. However since buying land is a long drawn process, giving a Power of Attorney to a close relative (normally the parents) for executing the purchase / sale process may be advisable.
One limitation to the investment in real estate is that only the original money invested in the land can be repatriated even if invested from the NRE account.
For example if Rs.50,00,000/- was invested in a house and it was sold after 4 years for Rs.1 crore, the capital gain of Rs.50 lakhs will need to be taxed and reinvested in India itself. Only the initial investment of Rs.50 lakhs can be taken back out of the country by the NRI (if the investment was made from the NRE account).
Investment in Gold and Jewellery
Here again the investment is as per the norms for normal resident Indians.
A point to note for even the resident Indians is that gains made from buying and selling gold and gold jewellery is subject to capital gains tax.
So keep the receipts safely while making gold purchases.
Becoming a Partner in a Business
Here again approval from RBI has to be sought as becoming a partner is akin to buying shares in the business.
Bank Fixed Deposits
An NRI can invest in all the bank deposits. The interest is taxable and is generally subject to TDS unless a request from for not deducting tax at source is submitted.
Most or all of the postal deposits are out of bounds for the NRI. They cannot invest in the National Savings scheme, Kisan Vikas Patra, Monthly Income Scheme nor the Public Provident Fund.
Typically these schemes are coming under the Small Savings Schemes and the NRIs are expected to save BIG!!!!.
However schemes that were started before one becomes an NRI can be continued till the end of the scheme. They cannot be renewed at the end of the term if the NRI status continues at that time.
Source: Economic Times