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Should NRIs opt for repatriable or non-repatriable investments in India?

Repatriable accounts let NRIs transfer funds overseas. Learn more about the different types of NRI accounts.


The term “repatriable” describes the ability to transfer liquid monetary assets from a foreign state back to an investor’s home country . Non-resident Indians (NRIs) who reside abroad are required to keep an NRO or NRE account open in order to do financial business in India. NRIs are allowed to make both repatriable and non-repatriable investments in India under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) of the RBI. 

Repatriating funds to their home account in India might be difficult for NRIs who have earned money overseas at times. With that being said, let’s look at what repatriation is for NRIs and discuss how it varies from non-repatriable investments.

What is repatriable?

Repatriable means something that can be returned to its original place, and repatriation is the act of doing that. In this context, repatriable investments are those monetary assets that can be easily converted into money, like bonds, stocks, etc., that you have in another country and can be brought back to your home country legally. 

For example, if you are an Indian citizen residing in the United States and you have a bank account there, you may take money out of it and then deposit it into your Indian bank account. Alternatively, you may convert your US dollars into Indian rupees as well. This indicates that the funds you have in the United States are financial assets that may be repatriated.

Repatriation laws are the regulations that control when and how you may repatriate your financial assets to your home country. The repatriation laws of that nation may influence the choice to trade or invest with a certain country . Repatriation rules also impact whether or not you need to register your repatriated assets to the authorities, as well as the amount of tax you have to pay on them. These laws can also encourage or discourage investments across borders. 

Countries with low taxes and few limits on repatriation, for instance, draw in more investors eager to capitalise on the advantageous situation. 

Also read: Foreign portfolio investments – Overview, types and benefits

Repatriable investments for NRIs

The NRO (Non-Resident Ordinary) account and the NRE (Non-Resident External) account are the two kinds of accounts that NRIs must keep up to date in order to repatriate money. To facilitate the repatriation of money, you may also maintain an FCNR (Foreign Currency Non-Resident) account.

The primary account that an NRI uses in India is an NRO account. It is preferred for NRIs who hold interests or revenue streams in India, such as rent, insurance premiums, loan EMIs, and others

NRIs and OCIs (Overseas Citizens of India) may engage in financial instruments of Indian organisations on a repatriation or non-repatriation basis under the Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident Outside India (TISPRO) Regulations. 

However, under the RBI’s PIS (Portfolio Investment Scheme), NRIs are permitted to trade on a recognised Indian stock market on a repatriable basis. 

This scheme allows NRIs to buy and sell stocks of Indian organisations by directing such purchases and sales through their NRI savings accounts.    

Different kinds of repatriable NRI accounts in India

To take advantage of financial perks back home, if you are an Indian native residing overseas, you must create an NRI bank account. These are the NRI accounts in India that allow you to have your money repatriated back to your home country. 

NRO (Non-resident ordinary) 

The most basic kind of account available to NRIs in India is an NRO account. These accounts are intended for those who are foreign nationals with a source of income from investments, rental income, commercial activities, etc., in India. All of your revenue may be easily deposited into an NRO account in Indian rupees. It is possible to repatriate up to $1 million USD in a single fiscal year using these accounts.

NRE (Non-resident external) 

You may transfer your overseas income in Indian rupees (INR) to an Indian bank account by using an NRE account. These accounts are seen to be the best for transferring money to India since the money may be freely and completely repatriated. An NRE account permits full repatriation of money from India into the nation where you now live and provides a great deal of liquidity. 

FCNR (Foreign currency non-resident) 

It is possible to deposit your foreign currency income into an FCNR account. You may earn tax-free interest and protect yourself from currency volatility by using these accounts. Additionally, these accounts provide complete money repatriation to your home country. 

Also read: Everything you need to know about stock market portfolios

Non-repatriable investments for NRIs

When NRIs invest in India using their money that is in India or their income that comes from India, they are called non-repatriable investments. They may use their NRO account to invest in a variety of Indian asset types. For non-repatriable investments, NRIs may use income from sources such as rent, pensions, dividends, etc,. that are from India. 

There are limitations on transferring profits from sales or investments made on a non-repatriable basis, in contrast to repatriable investment, where NRIs are free to move money from India to abroad. To trade or invest in Indian equities on a non-repatriable basis, NRIs are not required to get RBI clearance. To begin trading, they only need to connect their NRO bank account to their trading and demat accounts.

Repatriable vs non-repatriable investments

Here is a table illustrating the differences between repatriable and non-repatriable investments for NRIs.

Repatriable investmentsNon-repatriable investments
Investments made by NRIs using funds in their NRE bank account or foreign currencyInvestments made by NRIs using funds in their NRO bank account or income sourced in India
Financial transactions are governed by the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)Investments are handled similarly to domestic investments made by Indian residents.
Funds can be moved back to the non-resident individual’s home nation after being converted to foreign currencyOnly usage of the funds inside India is permitted; they cannot be sent back to the NRI’s home country
Investments can be made through PISInvestments can be made without PIS

Also read: What is return on sales and why is it important?


NRIs may decide what is best for them based on the differences between the two types of investments: repatriable or non-repatriable. While it is important to open an NRI account to take financial advantage in your home country, it is also crucial to go through the FEMA rules and regulations of your bank. This will help them choose the right type of investment.

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