Thinking of Investing outside India? It is easier than you think

Life is simple and easy who know and live it fully this way. Similarly, investment OUTSIDE INDIA is simple, easy and hassle free for those who know how to do it the RIGHT WAY.

Investors are always seeking new avenues for making their money work harder for them and continually explore opportunities within as well as outside India. Many investors are seen to exercise limited options either because of their lack of awareness or they are not updated about the pitara of avenues available to them. This Article is about making you aware of how you can invest outside India. INVESTING ABROAD IS EASY. It is explained in detail in the following paragraphs and beginning with a brief on the foreign exchange.

The Foreign Exchange transactions in India are regulated by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and governed by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. Over the passage of time and opening up of India economy, the RBI has gradually shifted its focus from regulating the Foreign Exchange to the Management of Foreign Exchange. The RBI in calibrated manner has been making it more and more easy and convenient to undertake International Transactions.

As a measure towards fuller account convertibility, RBI had announced a Liberalised Remittance Scheme (“LRS”/ “the Scheme”) in February 2004 as a step towards further simplification and liberalisation of the foreign exchange facilities available to resident individuals. Under the Scheme every resident is allowed to make remittance of USD 250,000 every year. The remittance can be made for all the permissible Current Account Transactions and Capital Account Transactions.

It can be said that Residents are free to invest abroad up to the limit specified by RBI. Right now this limit is USD 250,000.

The following table shows how RBI has raised the investment limits over the past decade

Date Feb 04, 2004 Dec 20, 2006 May 08, 2007 Sep 26, 2007 Aug 14, 2013 Jun 03, 2014 May 26, 2015
LRS limit (in USD) 25,000 50,000 1,00,000 2,00,000 75,000 1,25,000 2,50,000

The Process of making investment outside India is quite simple.

  1. Go to your bank and furnish an application cum declaration in the prescribed form A2. (Request the Bank to give you form A2).
  2. Fill in the details and provide all supporting documents (including your PAN)
  3. Submit your application

Who can apply?

  • The Scheme is available to all resident individuals
  • Scheme is also available to minors. In case of remitter being a minor, the Form A2 must be countersigned by the minor’s natural guardian.
  • Each family member can invest upto USD 250,000 outside India every year. So, if you have a family of 4, you can invest upto USD 10,00,000 every year.

Investing Outside India

Where can you invest?

You can invest in virtually anything. This could be buying an immovable property, buying a stock, Employees Stock options (ESOP) etc. These investments could be in any of the permissible Current and Capital account transactions.

Following is list of illustrative transactions for which a person resident in India can withdraw foreign exchange:

  1. You are free to acquire and hold shares or debt instruments or any other asset outside India without prior approval of the Reserve Bank.
  2. You can acquire immovable property outside India.
  3. You can purchase objects of art subject to the provisions of other applicable laws such as the extant Foreign Trade Policy of the Government of India.
  4. You can remit funds for acquisition of ESOPs.
  5. You can invest in units of Mutual Funds, Venture Capital Funds, unrated debt securities, promissory notes, etc., under this Scheme. Further, you can invest in such securities out of the bank account opened abroad under the Scheme.
  6. You can repay the loan availed by you while you were a non-resident.
  7. The Scheme can be used for outward remittance in the form of a DD either in your own name or in the name of beneficiary with whom you intend to put through the permissible transactions at the time of private visit abroad, against self-declaration.
  8. You can set up Joint Ventures (JV)/Wholly Owned Subsidiaries (WOS) outside India

What are current and capital account transactions?

The current account transactions are the transactions which are other than the capital account transactions and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing such transactions. The current account transactions include:

(i)      Payments due in connection with foreign trade, other current business, services, and short-term banking and credit facilities in the ordinary course of business,

(ii)     Payments due as interest on loans and as net income from investments,

(iii)    Remittances for living expenses of parents, spouse and children residing abroad, and

(iv)   Expenses in connection with foreign travel, education and medical care of parents, spouse and children

The capital Account transaction are the transaction which alters the assets or liabilities, including contingent liabilities, outside India of persons resident in India or assets or liabilities in India of persons resident outside India;

Things to keep in mind…

  • Ensure that the amount which have been remitted by you from all sources during the financial year does not increase the prescribed limit and remit the funds outside India. (Declaration as mentioned above is to the effect that the funds belong to you and that it will not be used for any purpose which is prohibited) .
  • It is good to remit through the Bank with which you have maintained the bank account for a minimum period of one year prior to the remittance or the process of remittance will be increased to the extent that the Bank will carry out more stringent due diligence on the operations and maintenance of the account maintained by you.
  • The banker will comply the “Know Your Customer” guidelines and shall ensure that the Anti-Money Laundering Rules in force have been complied with while allowing the transactions.
  • An investment can be made to the upper limit of USD 250,000 which can be made every financial year of April to March.
  • You can retain, reinvest the income earned on the investments.
  • This limit of USD 250,000 is subject to change by RBI.

So, if you are planning to make an investment outside India don’t hesitate. Now is the best time and it’s easy.  Avail this facility given by RBI to resident individuals to invest outside India. Let the whole world be your playground. Go Global, grow faster and diversify your risks.

We have a Sanskrit phrase called “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” in Hindu texts which means “the world is one family”.

Happy investing. If you have any queries and want someone to facilitate you in the process, you may get in touch with me at sudha@taxpertpro.com

Watch this space for more articles from CA. Sudha G. Bhushan.

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