A Comprehensive Guide to RBI Guidelines for NRI Buying Property in India

Get to Know about RBI Guidelines for NRI Buying Property in India
min read

Navigating the real estate market in India as a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) requires a thorough understanding of the specific regulatory frameworks established by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The process can be complex, given the intricate rules and regulations that govern property ownership by NRIs. For NRIs, comprehending these regulatory nuances is crucial for securing a valuable asset and optimizing their investment strategy in alignment with Indian regulations. 

In this blog, we aim to dive deep into the RBI guidelines for NRIs purchasing property in India. We provide detailed insights into the dos and don'ts, necessary documentation, and key legal considerations. 

Eligibility Criteria for NRIs

Property Types Eligible for Purchase:

  • NRIs can buy residential and commercial properties.
  • Restrictions apply to agricultural land, plantation properties, and farmhouses.

Joint Ownership Restrictions:

  • NRIs cannot purchase real estate in India jointly with non-NRIs unless the property is inherited.

Financing Options:

  • NRIs can secure financing from Indian financial institutions or housing finance companies regulated by the National Housing Bank.
  • Adherence to RBI guidelines is necessary for compliance when securing home loans.

Types of Properties NRIs Can Buy

Permissible Property Types for NRIs:

  • Residential properties: Includes apartments, houses, etc., for personal use or rental income.
  • Commercial properties: Includes shops, offices, and warehouses, suitable for business operations.


  • NRIs are prohibited from buying agricultural land, plantation property, and farmhouses as per RBI guidelines.

Ownership Options:

  • Properties can be co-owned with other NRIs or Indian citizens.

Legal Considerations:

  • Ensure properties comply with local building codes and possess clear titles to avoid legal complications.

Funding Options for NRI Property Purchase

NRI Home Loans:

  • Many banks and financial institutions offer home loans specifically tailored for NRIs.
  • These loans typically cover only a part of the property’s cost, requiring additional personal or external funds to complete the purchase.

Personal Foreign Assets and Income:

  • Using personal savings or earnings from abroad can simplify the buying process and avoid loan-related complexities.

Co-financing Options:

  • NRIs can pool resources with family members or trusted partners to jointly finance the property, making the purchase more manageable and providing shared ownership benefits.

Repatriation Rules for NRIs

When considering purchasing property in India, it is crucial to understand the NRI repatriation rules and be aware of the regulations controlling the repatriation of funds back to your home country. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set guidelines establishing how NRIs can repatriate the proceeds from the sale of immovable property in India:

  • NRIs can repatriate proceeds from selling up to two residential properties in India.
  • Properties must have been purchased using foreign exchange to qualify for repatriation.
  • There is a cap of $1 million per fiscal year on the total amount that can be repatriated.
  • Special rules apply if the property was acquired as a gift or inheritance.
  • Necessary documentation must be provided, including a tax clearance certificate from a chartered accountant.

Compliance and Documentation Requirements

Required Documentation for Sale:

  • Sale deed, encumbrance certificate, tax receipts, and PAN card details.

Tax Compliance:

  • Obtain a certificate from a chartered accountant confirming that taxes on the property sale proceeds have been paid.

Forms for Tax Department:

  • Prior to repatriation, submit Forms 15CB (Certificate of an accountant) and 15CA (Tax declaration) to the Income Tax Department.

Record Keeping:

  • To ensure compliance, maintain detailed records of property purchase, sale agreements, and related bank transactions.

Professional Guidance:

  • Consider consulting with a professional to ensure that all documents are accurately prepared and submitted, facilitating the smooth repatriation of funds.


Now that you understand the RBI guidelines for NRI property purchases in India, you can make informed decisions. Remember to adhere to the eligibility criteria, explore the types of properties you can buy, consider funding options, and understand the rules for repatriation.

By following these guidelines and ensuring compliance with documentation requirements, you can confidently navigate the Indian real estate market as an NRI investor. Happy investing!


Q1. What legal eligibility criteria must NRIs meet to buy property in India?

To purchase property in India, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) must fulfill several legal eligibility criteria. They must hold a valid Indian passport, have a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card, and provide proof of their NRI status. They are required to adhere to specific documentation needs for property verification. These steps ensure that NRIs meet the legal eligibility requirements for investing in Indian real estate.

Q2. Can NRIs purchase any type of property in India, including agricultural land and plantations?

NRIs can buy residential and commercial properties in India but face restrictions regarding agricultural land, plantations, and farmhouses. This limitation is designed to regulate foreign investment in sensitive sectors and maintain agricultural and rural land primarily for residents.

Q3. What financial transactions are involved in buying property in India as an NRI?

The financial transactions involved in buying property as an NRI include currency exchange to facilitate the purchase, securing loans or mortgage financing, and managing any rental income from the property. NRIs need to navigate these financial transactions carefully, considering the legal and regulatory requirements, including repatriation of funds and compliance with tax laws.

Q4. Are there specific RBI guidelines NRIs need to follow when investing in Indian real estate?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has specific guidelines for NRIs investing in real estate under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). These guidelines cover property purchase and sale, sale proceeds repatriation, and other investment-related transactions. NRIs need to follow these guidelines to ensure their investments are legally sound and compliant.

Q5. What steps should NRIs take to ensure their property transactions in India are legally compliant?

To ensure their property transactions in India are legally compliant, NRIs should conduct thorough due diligence, including property inspection, verification of title and ownership, understanding the documentation process, and managing financial transactions in accordance with Indian laws. Engaging a legal advisor or property specialist in India can help you navigate the complexities of the real estate market and legal system.

Q6. Can NRIs inherit property in India, and what are the guidelines for such inheritance?

NRIs can inherit residential and commercial properties in India. Indian laws and FEMA regulations govern the guidelines for such inheritance. Inherited properties may be subject to specific documentation and tax implications. NRIs should seek legal advice to ensure compliance and understand their rights and responsibilities in inheriting property.

Q7. What are the common pitfalls NRIs should avoid when buying property in India?

NRIs should be cautious of several common pitfalls when investing in Indian real estate, including inadequate research on the property market, neglecting legal and regulatory compliance, overlooking tax implications, and failing to manage financial transactions effectively. Additionally, not engaging professional advisors for legal, financial, and property matters can lead to challenges in securing a profitable and legally compliant investment. 

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