R2I (Return-to-India) facilities on overseas assets for Indians going back to India
Here are some key highlights of the Indian facilities related to overseas assets and financial situations for Indians returning to India:
Retaining assets abroad:
- Effective 17th July, 1992, the Indian 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.
- They are not required to obtain any permission from Reserve Bank for holding these assets.
- They would enjoy complete freedom for utilization of these assets as well as income earned or sale proceeds received subsequently.
- They can repatriate these assets to India and hold them separately in India with authorized dealers under the Resident Foreign Currency Accounts Scheme.
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.
- No permission from Reserve Bank is required for opening such accounts with authorized dealers.
- RFC accounts can be maintained in any convertible currency.
- 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/travelers 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. $ 5,000 (some online publications mention this amount as U.S. $2,500, you should verify the latest amount) or its equivalent.
- The entire income from such assets or sale proceeds of such assets repatriated to India can be credited to RFC accounts.
- 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. This facility is no longer available, and has been replaced by the RFC accounts facility.
- 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.
- Funds in RFC accounts can be withdrawn freely for local payments in rupees.
- A Returning Indian desiring to go abroad again for employment, business or vocation can transfer his funds in RFC account to NRE/FCNR account.
- Persons who have returned to India after a short assignment of less than one year may apply to 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.
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