“It has come to notice of the central government that foreign nationals are buying immovable property illegally in some parts of the country. Many organisations and social groups have also made representations to the central government expressing their serious concerns in this regard,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
In view of the above, the Ministry said “all, including the authorities concerned in the State Governments, are hereby advised to be extra vigilant in such matters and satisfy themselves about the eligibility under FEMA before registering sale or purchase of immovable property in India.”
It further said the enquiries may include both the intending buyers and sellers and the relevant travel documents and the nature of visa may also be verified before registering such sale/purchase.
“Where appropriate, the authorities may consider reviewing registration of sale/purchase already made to determine their compliance with legal requirements,” it said.
It has also been observed, the Ministry added, foreign nationals coming to India and staying beyond 182 days on a tourist or other visa meant for a certain period are illegally acquiring immovable property in India in violation of the extant rules and regulations under FEMA.
As per the extant law, a foreign national residing in India for more than 182 days during the course of the preceding financial year for taking up employment or carrying on business/vocation can acquire immovable property in India.
As per the Foreign Exchange Management Regulation, an Indian citizen resident outside India and a Person of Indian Origin resident outside India may acquire immovable property in India other than farm land, plantation or a farm house.
Also, a foreign company, which has established a branch office or other place of business in India under relevant provisions, can acquire immovable property which is necessary for or incidental to carrying on such activity.