FDI in sectors/activities to the extent permitted under automatic route does not require any prior approval either by the Government or RBI. The investors are only required to notify the Regional office concerned of RBI within 30 days of receipt of inward remittances and file the required documents with that office within 30 days of issue-or shares to foreign investors.
A branch office is not allowed to carry out manufacturing, processing activities directly/indirectly. A Branch Office is also not allowed to undertake Retail Trading activities of any nature in India. Branch Offices have to submit Activity Certificate from a Chartered Accountant on an annual basis to the Central Office of FED. For annual remittance of profit Branch Office may submit required documents to an authorised dealer.
However, if the above criteria are not met, or if the parent entity is established in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran or China, such applications have to be forwarded to Central Office of the Foreign Exchange Department of the Reserve Bank of India at Mumbai for approval.
A Liaison office can carry on only liaison activities, i.e. it can act as a channel of communication between Head Office abroad and parties in India. It is not allowed to undertake any business activity in India and cannot earn any income in India. Expenses of such offices are to be met entirely through inward remittances of foreign exchange from the Head Office abroad. The role of such offices is, therefore, limited to collecting information about possible market opportunities and providing information about the company and its products to the prospective Indian customers.
The companies desirous of opening a liaison office in India may make an application in form FNC-l along with the documents mentioned therein to Foreign Investment Division, Foreign Exchange Department, Reserve Bank of India, Central Office, Mumbai.