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Demat account for NRIs

NRIs wanting to have a demat account in India have an array of choices, subject to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and Reserve Bank of India regulations. However, it is recommended that you exercise due diligence and choose one which is transparent and easy to operate.

NRIs can invest in Initial Public Offers (IPOs) on a repatriable basis by using NRE demat and funds in their Non-Resident External (NRE) bank account. If you prefer a non-repatriable (as in you cannot take the money out of the country) then a Non-Resident Ordinary Rupee (NRO) account and NRO demat can be used.

To open a demat account in India, an NRI will need to fill up the relevant application form. Other documents include a passport size photograph, copy of your passport, a copy of your PAN Card, a copy of your visa, overseas address proof, like utility bills, a sale deed or rental/lease agreement, FEMA declaration, and a cancelled cheque of your NRE/NRO account. All these documents should be attested by the Indian mission (embassy or High Commission) of the country where the NRI resides. Once your account is set up, you can use the demat account through what is known as the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PINS) Under this RBI scheme, 'Non Resident Indians (NRI's)' and 'Person of Indian Origin (PIOs)' can purchase and sell shares and convertible debentures of Indian Companies on a recognised stock exchange in India by routing all such purchase/ sale transactions through their account held with a designated Bank Branch, which maintains a record of all investments done under the PINS (PINS portfolio).

Non PINS investments include subscriptions to primary market offerings (IPOs), investments made when resident in India, and investments in Mutual funds.
If you already had a demat account before you moved abroad, you can easily open a new account. All shares previously owned will be transferred to the new NRO holding account.
A Repatriable Demat Account (which allows funds to be taken abroad) needs to be linked to a separate NRE Bank account. Funds brought in from abroad are permitted in such an account, and investments from such funds can be repatriated. These investments are maintained in a Repatriable Demat account.
A Non-repatriable Demat Account, which does not allow funds to be moved abroad, must be kept separate from repatriable funds and linked to a separate NRO Bank account. Investments made from such funds cannot be repatriated, and are maintained in a Non-Repatriable Demat account. Remember that funds transferred from an NRE account to an NRO account loses its repatriability, and cannot be transferred back to an NRE account.


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