Is it possible for NRIs to purchase agricultural land in India? Once for all, laying the debate to rest!

The ability of non-resident Indians (NRIs) to engage in agricultural land is a hot topic of discussion. Are these plots available for purchase? Here’s to putting an end to the squabble once and for all!

Is it possible for NRIs to purchase agricultural land? This is without a doubt a million-dollar question that everyone has been debating for years! Although NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) are large investors in residential and commercial real estate, farmland remains a challenge. So let’s be explicit solely on a single point: NRIs cannot buy agricultural property, farmhouses, or plantations in India, according to FEMA and the Foreign Exchange Management (Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property in India) laws.

The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) of 1999 is the governing legal framework for NRI transactions, remittances, international trade, and the promotion and expansion of India’s foreign exchange market. During 2018, it was made clear that NRIs are not permitted to purchase land and associated properties in this group. However, there is still a way out: NRIs can apply for special permission from the RBI (Reserve Bank of India), which will be issued just after different factors are considered. Agricultural land can only be transferred to Indian residents, however revenue from the use or transfer of inherited property in the country (in the event of NRIs’ acquired assets) will be taxable here too.

This takes us to our second point: NRIs can inherit agricultural land from Indian residents, but they cannot acquire it. NRIs, on the other hand, are free to invest in residential and business across India. Individuals interested in purchasing agricultural land must apply to RBI for approval (which is rarely given). What do they imply so where do they pertain?

Applicants must contact to the RBI’s Chief General Manager and mail their comments to the address provided:

The President and Chief Executive Officer,

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

Central Office, Exchange Control Department, Foreign Investment Division (III), Mumbai-400 001.

What the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had to say about the situation

The Reserve Bank of India recently said that OCIs and NRIs will not require prior approval to purchase or transfer immovable property in India. Plantations, agricultural land, and farmhouses would be the only exceptions. Following several inquiries addressed to RBI offices around the country, this was released as an official RBI explanation. Following a Supreme Court decision on FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act), several OCIs (Overseas Citizens of India) contacted the RBI with questions about buying real estate in India.

The RBI has reaffirmed both OCIs and NRIs will be legally governed in this regard under the principles of the 1999 FEMA, and that they will not require prior approval to purchase commercial and residential properties in the country.

Its entire selling and gifting component

NRIs, on the other hand, may sell or give away inherited property without sending money out of the nation. Hardly any Resident Indians may purchase inherited plantations, agricultural property, or farmhouses from OCIs or NRIs. Some who purchased agricultural plots with the RBI’s special permission must perform proper sale procedures. The sale proceeds must be deposited into the NRI seller’s NRO account. The max number that can be remitted from this NRO account is $1 million. Including all outbound payments, including Forms 15CB and 15CA, the repatriation procedure is the same. Additional papers that must be provided include the legal heir certificate, will, death certificate, and selling agreements.

Agricultural properties may be inherited by NRIs and OCIs from a Resident Indian. Depending just on RBI’s special approval as well as other unique requirements, individuals may also inherit from other NRIs. Residents Indians may give OCIs or NRIs agricultural assets as presents, but they cannot accept the same from other NRIs in this class. In this category, NRIs may only give properties to Indian residents. NRIs may get agricultural properties from resident Indians, and vice versa. The gifting of these properties amongst NRIs, on the other hand, is prohibited by law.

What to Look for

If you’re an NRI, buying a home is always a little more complicated. Prior completing your transaction, seek legal advice and counsel from a reputable real estate platform. NRIs are only permitted to purchase property in the name of their spouse, descendent, longitudinal ascendant, or brother/sister.

As a result, according to the Benami Act, buying property under someone else’s name is always prohibited. Regardless matter how appealing a property may appear, it is usually preferable to avoid such transactions.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are for informational purposes only based on industry reports and related news stories. PropertyPistol does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information and shall not be held responsible for any action taken based on the published information.


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  1. Great insights, thank you sharing clarity on the topic and settling the debate once and for all. It is going to be really helpful for NRIs who were thinking of purchasing agricultural land in India. Keep posting more such insightful article in the future addressing important issue.

  2. An nri purchased agriculture land in2013 in karnataka from resident Indian which was jointly registerd with a GPA holder,now nri wants to sell the same to a resident indian along with joint holder through GPA given by nri.can a resident indian buy that property
    Please help with comments

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