Are Returning Indians permitted to retain their assets abroad even after return to India?
Effective 17th July,1992, the Central Government has granted exemption from the surrender requirement to persons who return to India after a continuous stay abroad of one year and above in respect of funds/assets acquired by them abroad otherwise than in contravention of FERA 1973 or out of foreign exchange earned through employment, business or vocation outside India taken up or commenced while they were resident outside India. persons satisfying the conditions of general exemption can retain their foreign currency accounts within bank abroad and/or hold,transfer or dispose of their other foreign currency assets such as shares,securities or investments in business, etc. and immovable properties.
Are they required to obtain any permission from Reserve Bank for holding these assets?
Do they enjoy any freedom in regard to utilisation of these overseas assets?
Yes. They would enjoy complete freedom for utilisation of these assets as well as income earned or sale proceeds received subsequently.
Can they bring back the overseas assets to India and hold them with separate identity?
Yes. They can repatriate these assets to India and hold them separately in India with authorised dealers under the Resident Foreign Currency Accounts Scheme (See Below).
Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) Accounts Scheme Assets
What is the Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) Account Scheme?
This is a Scheme approved by Reserve Bank permitting persons of Indian nationality or origin, who have returned to India on or after 18th April 1992 for permanent settlement (Returning Indians), after being resident outside India for a continuous period of not less than one year, to open foreign currency accounts with banks in India for holding funds brought by them to India. Persons who have returned to India before 18th April 1992 can also open RFC account if (a) they are holding foreign currency assets abroad with Reserve Bank's permission or (b) they are in receipt of pension or other monetary benefits from their erstwhile employers abroad.
Is any permission from Reserve Bank required for opening such accounts with authorised dealers?
In which currencies can RFC accounts be maintained?
RFC accounts can be maintained in any convertible currency.
What funds can be credited to RFC accounts of Returning Indians?
The entire amount of foreign exchange brought to India at the time of their return to India for permanent settlement as well as the balances standing to the credit of their NRE and FCNR accounts at the time of return can be credited to RFC accounts. However, the foreign exchange brought to India in the form of foreign currency notes/bank notes/travellers cheques should have been declared to Customs at the time of arrival on the Currency Declaration Form( CDF) if it exceeded U.S. $ 10,000 or its equivalent. In the case of foreign currency/bank notes, such a declaration on form CDF is compulsory if the amount exceeds U.S. $ 2,500 or its equivalent.
Can income received from their overseas assets in the form of dividends etc. or sale proceeds of such assets be credited to RFC accounts?
Yes. The entire income from such assets or sale proceeds of such assets repatriated to India can be credited to RFC accounts.
Can pension received by the account holder from abroad be credited to his RFC account?
Yes. The entire amount of pension received from abroad can be credited to his RFC account.
NRIs returning to India for permanent settlement were granted RIFEE facility. Is this facility still available?
No. RIFEE facility has been replaced by the RFC accounts facility.
Can funds in RFC accounts be remitted abroad?
Yes. Funds in RFC accounts can be remitted abroad for any bona fide purpose of the account holder or his dependents including exchange required for travel and other personal purposes and investments.
Can funds in RFC accounts be utilised for local payments?
Yes. Funds in RFC accounts can be withdrawn freely for local payments in rupees.
Can a Returning Indian desiring to go abroad again for employment ,business or vocation transfer his funds in RFC account to NRE/FCNR account?
Can persons who have returned to India after a short assignment of less than one year open RFC accounts?
Their applications for opening such accounts would be considered by Reserve Bank. Persons who have gone abroad for studies, training ,etc. are, however, not eligible for this facility.
Import of Gold by NRI's
Can NRIs bring gold into India?
Yes. NRIs can bring into India gold upto 10,000 grams as part of their baggage once in six months provided they have stayed abroad for a continuous period of six months.
In what form can the gold be brought into India?
The gold may be brought into India in any form, including ornaments (other ornaments studded with stones and pearls).
Are NRIs required to pay customs duty on the gold brought by them into India?
Yes. They are required to pay customs duty in any convertible foreign currency at a rate equivalent to Rs.220/- per 10 grams of gold.
How often can a NRI bring gold into India?
A NRI can bring gold into India once in six months.
Is it necessary that the NRI should have stayed abroad at least for a minimum period of six months prior to his return to India for being eligible to bring gold?
Import of Silver by NRI's
Yes. NRIs can bring to India silver upto 100 kilograms as part of their personal baggage.
What is the rate of duty payment on such import?
The rate of duty on import of silver is Rs. 500 per kilogram which is payable in foreign currency.
Can NRI's bring both gold and silver?
Can NRIs sell gold/silver imported by them to residents?
Yes. Gold/silver so brought by NRIs can be sold to residents against payment in rupees. Reserve Bank has granted general permission to persons resident in India to make payment to NRIs in Indian rupees by means of a crossed cheque in India and that such rupees are credited to Ordinary Non-resident Rupee (NRO) account of the NRI seller.
Source: Reserve Bank of India