Q.1 Who is a non-resident Indian (NRI)?
Ans. An Indian Citizen who stays abroad for employment/carrying on business or vocation outside India or stays abroad under circumstances indicating an intention for an uncertain duration of stay abroad is a non-resident. (Persons posted in U.N. organisations and officials deputed abroad by Central/State Governments and Public Sector undertakings on temporary assignments are also treated as non-residents). Non-resident foreign citizens of Indian Origin are treated on par with non-resident Indian citizens (NRIs) for the purpose of certain facilities.
Q.2 Who is a person of Indian Origin?
Ans. A. For the purposes of availing of the facilities of opening and maintenance of bank accounts and investments in shares/securities in India
A foreign citizen (other than a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh) is deemed to be of Indian origin, if,
(i) he, at any time, held an Indian passport, or
(ii) he or either of his parents or any of his grand parents was citizen of India by virtue of the Constitution of India or Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955).
Note: A spouse (not being a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh) of an Indian citizen or of a person of Indian origin is also treated as a person of Indian origin for the above purposes provided the bank accounts are opened or investments in shares/securities in India are made by such persons only jointly with their NRI spouses.
B. For investments in immovable properties
A foreign citizen (other than a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, or Nepal), is deemed to be of Indian origin if,
(i) he held an Indian passport at any time, or
(ii) he or his father or paternal grand-father was a citizen of India by virtue of the (Constitution of India or the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955).
Q. 3 What is an OCB?
Ans. Overseas Corporate Bodies (OCBs) are bodies predominantly owned by individuals of Indian nationality or origin resident outside India and include overseas companies, partnership firms, societies and other corporate bodies which are owned, directly or indirectly, to the extent of atleast 60% by individuals of Indian nationality or origin resident outside India as also overseas trusts in which atleast 60% of the beneficial interest is irrevocably held by such persons. Such ownership interest should be actually held by them and not in the capacity as nominees. The various facilities granted to NRIs are also available with certain exceptions to OCBs so long as the ownership/beneficial interest held in them by NRIs continues to be atleast 60%.
Q.4 Are OCBs required to produce any certificate regarding ownership/beneficial interest in them by NRIs?
Ans. Yes. In order to establish that the ownership/beneficial interest in any OCB held by NRIs is not less than 60%, the concerned body/trust is required to initially furnish a certificate from an overseas auditor/chartered accountant/certified public accountant in form OAC where the ownership/beneficial interest is directly held by NRIs, and in form OAC 1 where it is held indirectly by NRIs and further that such ownership interest is actually held by them and not in the capacity as nominees. Thereafter a simple certificate signed by the Managing Director or Chief Executive Officers of the OCB on the lines indicated above may be submitted.
Note: In the case of closely held OCBs (i.e. where shareholders belong to the same family or are closely related to each other, certificate in form OAC/OAC1 may be submitted in the first instance along with documentary evidence to the effect that the shareholders belong to the same family or are closely related to each other. Annual submission of OAC/OAC1 thereafter is not necessary and it will suffice if a certificate signed by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the OCB is submitted stating that there is no change in the shareholding pattern since submission of the last certificate.
Q.5 What are the various facilities available to NRIs/OCBs?
Ans. NRIs/OCBs are granted the following facilities :
1. Maintenance of bank accounts in India.
2. Investments in securities/shares of, and deposits with, Indian firms/companies.
3. Investments in immovable properties in India.