An NRI is a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India or is a person of Indian origin. 
Under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), generally a person is resident outside India if the person is in India for less than 182 days during the course of the preceding year and also includes any person who stays abroad for :

  • Employment, or
  • Carrying on any business or vocation, or
  • Any other purpose, indicating an intention to stay outside India for an uncertain period.
  • Education *

* Provided the student has stayed overseas for more than 182 days in the preceding Financial Year.

You are deemed to be  a person of Indian origin if you are a foreign citizen (other than of Pakistan & Bangladesh), and if:

  • You have at any time held an Indian Passport or
  • You or either of your parents or any of your grand parents were citizens of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act 1955.
  • You are the spouse of an Indian citizen or of a person of Indian origin (other than of Pakistan and Bangladesh).

If you are an NRI, the following investment opportunities are open to you:

  • Maintenance of bank accounts in India.
  • Investment in securities/shares of, and deposits with, Indian firms/companies.
  • Investment in immovable property in India.
  • Investment in Mutual Funds in India

As an NRI, you can open the following types of accounts:

  • Non-Resident External (NRE)
    This account is maintained in Indian Rupees. Here you can open Saving, Current, Fixed AND recurring Deposit accounts.
  • Non-Resident Ordinary (NRO)
    This account is also maintained in Indian rupees. Here you can open Saving, Current, Recurring and Fixed Deposit accounts.
  • Foreign Currency Non-Resident (FCNR)
    Under this Plan, you can open Fixed Deposit accounts in USD ,GBP, EURO, JPY, AUD & CAD.
Yes, you can remit funds for opening the account in any convertible currency. However, in the case of NRO / NRE, the remitted funds will be converted into Indian Rupees at the spot exchange rate. These accounts will be maintained in Rupees.
In the case of FCNR accounts, you can remit the funds in any convertible currency. These accounts will be maintained in the currency of your choice i.e. USD, GBP, EURO, JPY, AUD and CAD.
Travellers Cheques and Currency Notes can be used to credit/open the account. NRIs bringing Foreign Currency Notes & Travellers Cheques will have to submit a Currency Declaration Form (CDF) to the customs authorities on arrival in India if the foreign currency notes exceed USD 5,000/- or combined value of Travellers Cheques and notes exceed USD 10,000/-. You must produce the CDF for endorsement by the bank when you submit the money for opening/credit to an account.
  • A Power of Attorney is given only for operating the account & not for opening the account. Further, the operations are restricted only for making legitimate local payments.
  • The Power of Attorney Holder can make payments for the purpose of making investments on behalf of the NRI.
  • Power of Attorney holder is not ordinarily allowed to repatriate the funds abroad, make payments or gifts on behalf of the non-resident account holder, or transfer funds from the account to another NRE account. However, resident power of attorney holder may be allowed to remit, through normal banking channels, funds out of the balances in NRE account to the non-resident account holder.
  • Power of Attorney Holders cannot credit proceeds of foreign currency notes / bank notes & travelers cheques to the NRE Accounts.
NRE /FCNR accounts are tax-exempted. However, similar concession is not available on NRO accounts.
Yes. You can avail of loans against your NRO/NRE/FCNR Deposits. The loan/overdraft can be used for personal purposes or for carrying on Business activities other than 1) Relending 2) Agricultural/Plantation activities 3) Real Estate Business.
  • Returning Indians can avail of the following facilities:
    Maintenance of assets abroad: An NRI, who has stayed abroad continuously for at least one year, is permitted to maintain his investments in bank deposits, shares, securities, business and immovable properties abroad.
  • Eligibility to open a Resident Foreign Currency Account (RFC): NRIs returning permanently, after a continuous stay of minimum one year abroad, can open Resident Foreign Currency Accounts with banks in India.
Yes. However, the company offering shares for subscription must seek RBI permission to allot shares through a private arrangement to the NRI.
Non-resident Indian citizens can freely purchase and sell residential and commercial properties in India.
Yes, an NRI can invest in Mutual Funds. However in the case of Money Market Mutual Funds, the investments will be on a non-repatriable basis.