registration of foreign NGO

I have 2 queries. 1) Is it mandatory for a Foreign NGO to register in India? It is legally mandatory or can we operate without Registration? 2) In order to employ a full time individual to work in this organization, do we have to get the Organization registered? Is it possible to employ individuals on a full time basis without registration as well?

Asked on November 17, 2016 in NGO.
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It is advisable that you create an Indian arm of the organisation. Foreign NGOs by themselves cannot directly work in India. They might come under FCRA scrutiny. The same reasoning would apply to employing individuals as well.

There are two modes of obtaining permission to accept foreign contribution according to FCRA, 2010:

i. Registration

ii. Prior Permission


For grant of registration under FCRA, 2010, the association should:

(i) be registered under an existing statute like the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 or section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 (Now Section 8 of Companies Act, 2013) etc;

(ii) Normally be in existence for at least three years and has undertaken reasonable activity in its chosen field for the benefit of the society for which the foreign contribution is proposed to be utilised. For this purpose, the association should have spent at least Rs.10,00,000/- over the last three years on its aims and objects, excluding administrative expenditure. Statements of Income & Expenditure, duly audited by Chartered Accountant, for last three years are to be submitted to substantiate that it meets the financial parameter.


Acoording to FCRA:

"Organizations having foreign nationals, other than of Indian origin, as members of their executive committees or governing bodies are generally NOT permitted to receive foreign contribution. However, foreigners may be allowed to be associated with such associations in an ex-officio capacity, representing multilateral bodies, foreign contribution from whom is exempted from the purview of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, or in a purely honorary capacity depending upon the person’s stature in his/her field of activity.

Subject to relaxation given on a case to case basis, foreign nationals fulfilling the following conditions may be appointed as Executive Committee members, after obtaining prior approval of the Central Government:

i. the foreigner is married to an Indian citizen;

ii. the foreigner has been living and working in India for at least five years;

iii. the foreigner has made available his/her specialized knowledge, especially in the medical and health related fields on a voluntary basis in India, in the past;

iv. the foreigner is part of the Board of Trustees/Executive Committee in terms of the provisions in an inter-governmental agreement;

v. the foreigner is part of the Board of Trustee/Executive Committee, in an ex-officio capacity representing a multilateral body which is exempted from the definition of foreign source.

The need for such an appointment should, however, be adequately justified."

Answered on November 18, 2016.
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