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OCI card becomes compulsory

prasad1

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India Post
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OCI card becomes compulsory


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by India Post News Weekly 0 Comments

Rajesh Dhruva
A relaxed holiday in home sweet home in the country of origin is cherished by every Indian abroad. A few weeks back home in India also provide a great connecting opportunity to bring together families across the seas.
Well, from time immemorial, non-resident Indians (NRIs) being Indian citizens as also foreign citizens of Indian origin residing abroad did not require any additional documents other than proof of their residence abroad for purchase or sale of properties or investing in businesses .

As such, Indian citizens and foreign citizens of Indian origin were required to provide copies of their passports, business or permanent residency visas, proof of overseas residence by way of utility bills, and driving license only. Also, since the last few years, with the incorporation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Common Reporting Standards (CRSs), foreign tax identification number became an additional necessity but otherwise Indian citizens and foreign citizens of Indian origin continued to be treated at par.

But on November 7, 2017, a major change was introduced as provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) have made it compulsory for foreign citizens of Indian origin to hold an OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card to actively participate in business by way of partnership firm, proprietorship firm or limited liability partnership (LLP) and also for passive investments under portfolio investment schemes (PIS) on repatriation basis.

So, now a foreign citizen of Indian origin is required to be an OCI cardholder if he wishes to undertake active business as proprietor or partner in an Indian partnership firm, proprietorship firm or LLP.

Another far reaching change was introduced in March 2018 when these requirements for OCI card were extended to purchase, sale or transfer of immovable property in India by foreign citizens of Indian origin residing abroad. As such, if a foreign citizen of Indian origin residing abroad wishes to purchase a property or sell or transfer by way of gift or exchange even a pre-owned existing immovable property, he or she will have to hold an OCI card since otherwise it will be in contravention of the provisions of FEMA law.

These requirements for holding OCI card by a foreign citizen of Indian origin for undertaking business in India through a partnership firm, proprietorship firm or LLP have been introduced vide Notification No. FEMA 20(R)/ 017-RB November 07, 2017 whereas OCI card requirements for transfer of immovable property by foreign citizen of Indian origin were introduced vide Notification No. FEMA 21(R) / 2018-B of March 26, 2018.
 

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