Can OCI Cardholder sell property in India without RBI permission

*Can an OCI Cardholder sell a property in India?* this question was repeatedly asked by many of my NRI/OCI friends over the last year. This question arose based on Supreme Court judgment which mentioned that OCI’s require RBI approval for sale of property in India.

Based on this I wrote an article on our website stating that no permission is required from RBI (link to read here on 10th March 2021.

My views expressed in the above article are proven to be right by the clarification issued by RBI on 29th December 2021. Here is the press release content –  (extract)

“Clarification on Acquisition/Transfer of Immovable Property in India by Overseas Citizen of India (OCIs)
A large number of queries have been received at various Offices of the Reserve Bank, based on newspaper reports on a Supreme Court Judgement, on whether prior approval of RBI is required for acquisition/transfer of immovable property in India by as Overseas Citizen of India OCIs.

It is hereby clarified that the concerned Supreme Court Judgement dated February 26, 2021 in Civil Appeal 9546 of 2010 was related to provisions of FERA, 1973, which has been repealed under Section 49 of FEMA, 1999. At present, NRIs/OCIs are governed by provisions of FEMA 1999 and do not require prior approval of RBI for acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India, other than agricultural land/ farmhouse/ plantation property, as per the terms and conditions laid down in Chapter IX of the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) Rules, 2019, dated October 17, 2019 (as amended from time to time), issued under Section 46 of FEMA 1999.

(Yogesh Dayal)
Press Release: 2021-2022/1439 Chief General Manager dated 29th December 2021″


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About B E Kumar Prasad

B E Kumar Prasad
He is a Practicing Chartered Accountant in Bengaluru, India. He has 28+ years of experience in income tax, business setup, and NRI matters. He is also an Insolvency Professional, Registered Valuer (F&SA) and Social Auditor.Prasad welcomes your comments and questions. Please email him at

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2 years ago

An OCI who due to job requirements is staying in India. He intends to buy agricultural land in his ancestral village ..obtaining RBI approval etc., takes time and the seller may not wait..In such circumstances can he buy it first and then apply for post-facto regularisation from RBI

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