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FAQ FOR NRIs ON DEPOSITORY ACCOUNT

Non- Resident Indian [NRI] means a ‘person resident outside India’ who is a citizen of India or is a ‘person of Indian origin’.

Under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 [FEMA], a person who is NOT a ‘person resident in India’, as defined under Section 2 (v) of the Act is considered as a ‘person resident outside India’. The most important change in definition [since FERA 1973] is that the citizenship of a person no longer has a bearing in determination of residential status.

  1. ‘Person of Indian Origin’ (PIO) means a citizen of any country other than Bangladesh or Pakistan, if
    1. he at any time held Indian passport; or
    2. he or either of his parents or any of his grandparents was a citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955; or
    3. the person is a spouse of an Indian citizen or a person referred to in sub-clause [a] or [b].

Investment by PIO in Indian Securities is treated the same as the investment by non-resident Indians and requires same approvals and enjoys the same exemptions.

‘Overseas Corporate Body’ means a company, partnership firm, society and other corporate body owned directly or indirectly to the extent of at least sixty percent by Non-Resident Indians and includes overseas trust in which not less than sixty percent beneficial interest is held by Non-Resident Indians directly or indirectly but irrevocably.

OCBs were debarred from Portfolio Investment Scheme w.e.f November 29, 2001. OCBs have been banned as a class of investor w.e.f September 16, 2003. However, they have been permitted to continue to hold the securities acquired by them prior to these dates. Accordingly OCBs may open a demat account, however it can be only for the purpose of dematerializing the existing holdings.

NRI/PIO can open a demat account with any Depository Participant [DP] of NSDL. The NRI/PIO needs to mention the type [‘NRI’ as compared to ‘Resident’] and the sub-type [‘Repatriable’ or ‘Non-Repatriable’] in the account opening form collected from the DP.

No permission is required from RBI to open a demat account. However, credits and debits from demat account may require general or specific permissions as the case may be, from designated authorised dealers.

No. Securities received against investments under ‘Foreign Direct Investment scheme (FDI)’, ‘Portfolio Investment scheme (PIS)’ and ‘Scheme for Investment’ on non – repatriation basis have to be credited into separate demat accounts. Investment under PIS could be on repatriation or non – repatriation basis. Investment under FDI scheme is on repatriation basis.

No special permission is required. Holding securities in demat only constitutes change in form and does not need any special permission. However, only those physical securities which already have the status as NR – Repatriable / NR- Non-Repatriable can be dematerialised in the corresponding Depository Accounts.

No. An NRI must open separate demat accounts for holding ‘repatriable’ and 'non-repatriable’ securities.

As per section 6(5) of FEMA, NRI can continue to hold the securities which he/she had purchased as a resident Indian, even after he/she has become a non resident Indian, on a non-repatriable basis.

Yes. It is the responsibility of the NRI to inform the change of status to the designated authorised dealer branch, through which the investor had made the investments in Portfolio Investment Scheme and the DP with whom he/she has opened the demat account. Subsequently, a new demat account in the resident status will have to be opened, securities should be transferred from the NRI demat account to resident account and then close the NRI demat account.

NRIs are permitted to make direct investments in shares/ debentures of Indian companies/ units of mutual fund. They are also permitted to make portfolio investments i.e. purchase of share / debentures of Indian Companies through stock exchange. These facilities are granted both on repatriation and non-repatriation basis.

Yes. The issuing company is required to issue shares to NRI on the basis of specific or general permission from GoI/RBI. Therefore, individual NRI need not obtain any permission.

No.

Under this scheme, NRIs are permitted to acquire shares/debentures of Indian companies or units of domestic Mutual Funds through the stock exchange(s) in India.

Investment can be made both on repatriation or non-repatriation basis. For making investment on repatriation basis, it will be necessary to make payments by way of inward remittance or by debit to the NRE / FCNR account of the NRI / PIO. Investment on non-repatriation basis can also be made by way of inward remittance or by debit to the NRE / FCNR / NRO accounts.

The sale proceeds of the repatriable investments can be credited to the NRE / NRO accounts of the NRI / PIO at the option of the investor, whereas the sale proceeds of non-repatriable investment can be credited only to NRO accounts.

The sale of shares will be subject to payment of applicable taxes.

The application is to be submitted to a designated branch of an authorised dealer in India in the prescribed form. No permission is required from RBI.

Reserve Bank has authorised a few branches of each authorised dealer to conduct the business under Portfolio Investment Scheme on behalf of NRIs. These branches are the main branches of major commercial banks. NRIs will have to route their applications through any of the designated authorised dealer branches who have authorisation from Reserve Bank.

No. NRI can select only one authorised dealer for the purpose of investment under Portfolio Investment Scheme and route the transactions through the branch designated by the authorised dealer.

  • NRIs / PIOs can purchase / sell shares / convertible debentures of Indian companies on Stock Exchanges under the Portfolio Investment Scheme. The rules relating to this scheme are as given below
    • Shares purchased under PIS on Stock Exchange shall be sold on stock exchanges only. Prior approval of RBI is required if such shares are proposed to be transferred either by way of gift or under private arrangement to a non-resident/resident.
    • These trades can be done only through a registered broker on a recognised stock exchange
    • NRI shall designate a branch of an authorised dealer and route all his/her transactions through this branch of the authorised dealer.
    • NRI takes delivery of the shares purchased and gives delivery of shares sold.
    • NRI shall abide by the directions given by RBI/SEBI or such authority if the transaction results in the breach of ceilings stipulated for NRI holding in the company/scheme.

The sale of shares will be subject to payment of applicable taxes.

An NRI or a PIO can purchase shares up to 5% of the paid up capital of an Indian company. All NRIs / PIOs (also the OCBs who had purchased shares under the earlier scheme) taken together cannot purchase more than 10% of the paid up value of the company. (This limit can be increased by an Indian company to 24% by passing a General Body resolution).

The table given below summarizes the permissions required for the off-market transfer

From To Transaction Permissions Required
NRI NRI Sale or Gift General permission, no specific permission to be taken*
NRI Resident Indian Gift Prior approval of RBI required.
NRI Resident Indian Sale under private arrangement General permission already available.
Resident Indian NRI Gift Prior approval of RBI/FIPB should be obtained.
Resident Indian NRI Sale under private arrangement General permission is already available provided the shares being transferred are not of the companies engaged in financial service sectors, such transfer does not attract SEBI takeover code and the activity of the company should be eligible for FDI.

* provided that the person to whom the shares are being transferred has obtained prior permission of Central Government to acquire the shares, if he has previous venture or tie up in India through investment in shares or debentures or a technical collaboration or a trade mark agreement or investment by whatever name called in the same field or allied filed in which the Indian company whose shares are being transferred is engaged.

An individual NRI cannot purchase under PIS shares exceeding 5% of the paid up capital of a company. The onus of monitoring this limit is that of the designated authorised dealer. Shares purchased under PIS scheme can be sold only through a stock exchange. See the rules explained under Q.No. 19. No permission is required from RBI to purchase or sell under Portfolio Investment Scheme.

Yes.

  • The following bank accounts may be given
    • For non-repatriable - NRO [dividend/interest is repatriable]
    • For repatriable - NRE

The above details recorded by the DP in the demat account may be used by the Issuer to directly credit dividend or interest.

(Dividend/interest received on Investments made on repatriation and non - repatriation basis under Portfolio Investment Scheme is not an eligible credit to NRE (PIS) Account and NRO (PIS) Account respectively).

 
  • NRIs may read Master Circular number RBI/2004-05/4 dated July 01, 2004 relating to remittance facilities for NRIs/PIOs/Foreign nationals.
  • RBI notification No: 20 dated 3rd May, 2000.
  • FAQs hosted on RBI internet site www.rbi.org.in under the head "Chapter III - Investments in Securities /shares and company deposits.
  • AP Dir Series Circular No. 16 dated October 4, 2004

This FAQ is prepared based on NSDL’s (National Securities Depository Limited’s) understanding of FEMA regulations. While utmost care has been exercised while developing the FAQs, National Securities Depository Ltd. does not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the information and disclaims all liabilities, losses and damages arising out of the use of this information. The readers are requested to keep abreast of the changes taking place in the underlying provisions of RBI.