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FCRA Registration – Eligibility & Application Procedure in India

In the present scenario, the world is more focused towards social and environmental causes. Businesses themselves, apart from their regular objective of profit-making, are actively involved in activities that promote social, economic, cultural and environmental growth and prosperity.

The world today is so well connected and so well linked that accessibility to any part of the world is easy. Transactions between people, places and countries take place on a day to day basis. As a result, the flow of foreign currency into and out of each country is now completely natural and an absolute commonality.

The volume at which these transactions are carried on is at a pretty high level, and as a result, it is almost not possible to keep track of the inflow and outflow of foreign currency in a regular manner. This brought about the need for the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010.


The Objective of FCRA 2010

The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 was enacted with a view to:-

  • Regulate the acceptance and utilization of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individual associations or companies.
  • Prohibit the acceptance and utilization of foreign hospitality or foreign contribution for any activities unfavourable to national interest and for matters related to therewith or incidental thereto.

Eligibility Criteria

Normal Registration

In order to be eligible for the normal registration, there are a few prerequisites:-

  • The applicant must be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 or registered as Section 8 Company as per the Companies Act, 2013 or any such Act as may be required.
  • Must have made reasonable contributions by undertaking activities in its chosen field for the benefit of society.
  • Must have spent a minimum of Rs. 10,00,000 in the last 3 years towards achieving its objectives (Excludes administrative expenditure).
  • Must submit the copies of the financial statements of the last 3 years that are duly audited by qualified Chartered Accountants.
  • If a newly registered entity likes to get foreign contributions, then an approval for a specific purpose, specific activity, and from a specific source can be made to the Ministry of Home Affairs via the Prior Permission (PP) method.

Prior Permission Registration

The Prior Permission route is ideally suited for those organizations which are newly registered and would like to receive foreign contributions. This is granted for receipt of a specific amount from a specific donor for carrying out specific activities/projects. The association must:-

  • Be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 or registered as Section 8 Company as per the Companies Act, 2013 or any such Act as may be required.
  • Submit a specific commitment letter from the donor to the Ministry of Home Affairs which indicates:-
    • Amount of contribution given
    • Purpose for which it is proposed to be given
  • Where the Indian recipient organization and foreign donor organization have common members, the following conditions need to be met:
    • The Chief Functionary of the Indian organization can’t be part of the donor organization.
    • At least 51% of the members/office-bearers of the governing body of the Indian recipient organization should not be employees/members of the foreign donor organization.
    • Where the foreign donor is an individual:
      • He cannot be the Chief Functionary of the Indian organization.
      • At least 51% office bearers/members of the governing body of the recipient organization should not be the family members and close relatives of the donor.

Application Procedure

In order to apply for registration under FCRA, the steps are as follows:-

  • The first step is the one where the online portal of FCRA needs to be accessed.
  • Form FC – 3A (Application for FCRA Registration) or Form FC – 3B (Application for FCRA Prior Permission) is to be clicked on, as the case may be.
  • The webpage will next present the user with an option to apply online.
  • Once the “Apply Online” option is selected, the next step is to create a username and password by clicking on “Sign Up”.
  • Once a username and a password have been created, and the message regarding the same is displayed on the screen, the applicant may log in to the account.
  • Once logged in, the “I am applying for” will have a dropdown list from which FCRA Registration has to be chosen. “Apply Online” is to be selected next, following which “Proceed Registration” has to be selected.
  • Next, in the title bar, the FC-3 menu is to be clicked on to start the new registration procedure.
  • This gives way to the association form where the relevant details have to be entered by the applicant along with the attachments containing the following documents:- – Darpan ID (not mandatory) – Association Address – Registration Number – Registration Date – Nature of the Association – Main object of the Association Once these details are filled in along with the attachments, the submit button is selected.
  • The Executive Committee option has to be selected next from the menu bar. The details will be filled in the Executive Committee form.
  • The option “Add details of Key Functionary” enables the applicant to add/delete/edit the details entered in the Executive Committee.
  • Once all the Executive Committee details are entered in, the “Save” button must be clicked on.
  • Further, bank details will have to be provided, including bank name, account number, IFSC code and address of the bank.
  • Once the bank details are entered in, all the required documents are to be uploaded in PDF format.
  • The place and date need to be entered in next after which the final submission button may be selected.
  • The final step is to make the online payment by clicking on that particular button. Once the payment is made and the form is submitted, no changes can be made to the said form.

Once the FCRA registration is granted, the validity is for a five year period. Nevertheless, it is to be noted that an application for the renewal of the FCRA registration has to be made 6 months prior to the date of expiry.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Private Limited Company

    By virtue of section 2(68) of the Companies Act, 2013, Private Limited Company is a type of company which offers limited liability with certain restrictions defined in regulations:

    • restricts the right to transfer shares
    • Limits the numbers of its members to 200
    • Prohibits any invitation to the public to subscribe for any shares in, are debentures of the company(No Public Trading of Shares)
    • Prohibits any invitation or acceptance of deposits from persons other than its member
    • The word ‘Private Limited’ must be added at the end of its name
  2. One Person Company

    One Person Company popularly known as OPC introduced in India under the Companies Act, 2013. The concept of OPC is a fusion of sole proprietorship and private company which intends to permit single economic entrepreneurship to take the advantages of a corporate form of organisation.

  3. Limited Liability Partnership

    Limited Liability Partnership is a corporate entity registered under Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008. It is a form of partnership firm that enjoys limited liability. It is a hybrid form of a partnership that includes the features of a company. Compliances for a company are applicable to LLP.

No, the whole incorporation process is online. You can send the scanned copy of all the required incorporation documents via e-mail. All the forms and documents are filed electronically and even signed digitally.

The company name should be selected with utmost care. The rules for selecting a company are:

  • The name should be ended with the words “Private Limited” in case of private company, “OPC” in case of one person company and “LLP” in case of limited liability partnership which is mandated by law.
  • The name must be unique.
  • Follow the naming guidelines for better chances of approval.
  • The name should be suggestive of the main objectives to be taken by the business entity.
  1. Private Limited Company
    • Appointment of auditor
    • Statutory audit of accounts
    • Filing of annual return
    • Filing of financial statements
    • Holding Annual General Meeting (AGM)
    • Prepare directors’ report
    • Filing of income tax return
  2. One Person Company
    • Appointment of statutory auditor
    • Holding Board Meetings (BM)
    • Filing of financial statements
    • Filing of annual return
  3. Limited Liability Partnership
    • Filing of financial statements
    • Filing of annual return
    • Filing of income tax return
    • Appointment of auditor
    • Filing of LLP annual return

You don’t need a proper office to incorporate a business entity. You can register your residential address as a registered place of your business with MCA for which some address proof along with the NOC (No Objection Certificate) has to be filed with the prescribed form.

NRIs only allowed to incorporate limited business entities in India including private limited company and limited liability partnership. Also, there is no requirement to obtain the prior approval from the government or RBI. But, in order to register a private company or an LLP at least one director/partner must be a resident of India. However, the private limited company is ideal for NRIs.

In order to execute the idea into a long-term business, choosing the right form of business is important. For start-ups, Private Limited Company is the best option for the following reasons:

  • Limited legal compliances
  • No minimum capital contribution
  • Need only 2 directors and shareholders (both can be the same person)
  • Funding can be raised
  • Limited liability of the members

As per the relevant Act, there is no minimum requirement for Paid-up Share capital or contribution to incorporate a private company, one person company or limited liability partnership. However, each shareholder/partner should subscribe to a minimum one share of Rs.10 face value.

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