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Capital Account Services – Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Foreign Direct Investment or FDI means investment through equity instruments by a person resident outside India in an unlisted Indian company, or in ten per cent or more of the post issue paid-up equity capital on a fully diluted basis of a listed Indian company. Foreign investment means any investment made by a person resident outside India on a repatriable basis in equity instruments of an Indian company or to the capital of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). When capital is not readily available within the country, FDI becomes a critical and quick source of funds for companies and businesses.

To integrate the reporting structures of various types of foreign investments in India, RBI introduced Foreign Investment Reporting and Management System (FIRMS), an online platform for reporting foreign investments in India in Single Master Form (SMF).

What’s more? ICICI Bank has a dedicated team in place to cater to Capital Account Transactions. Our proficient team offers a plethora of services for easy and smooth end-to-end processing of your FDI transactions. We take care of all your pre and post transaction hassles while you sit back and watch your funds getting credited.

Automatic Route is an entry route for FDI wherein investments made by a person resident outside India does not require prior Reserve Bank or Government approval.

Government Route is an entry route for FDI wherein investments made by a person resident outside India require prior Government approval. The foreign investment received under this route shall comply with the conditions stipulated by the Government in the approval form. An application can be made on the Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal (FIFP), which is a new online portal to facilitate FDI approvals for investors. This portal is administered by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.


Prominent features

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  • Get your FDI settled seamlessly from 29+ currencies
  • A team of Bank’s trained professionals to take care of your pre and post transaction related requirements
  • Flawless and simplified regulatory reporting
  • Team of experienced professionals to guide you with procedure and documentation
  • Effective co-ordination with foreign banks to quickly obtain 6-pointer KYC
  • Regular interaction with RBI.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between Single Master Form (SMF) and Entity Master?

SMF is the master form on which the reporting for the Foreign Investment, Forms (Foreign Currency – Gross Provisional Return (FC-GPR), Foreign Currency – Transfer of Shares (FC-TRS), Limited Liability Partnership – I (LLP-I), Limited Liability Partnership – II (LLP-II), Convertible Notes (CN), Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP), Depository Receipts (DRR), Downstream Investment (DI), Investment Vehicle (InVi)) can be done. At the same time, Entity Master is the form where the details of the company and foreign investment pattern are recorded.

Who is the Business User?

Business User (BU) is the applicant who would be reporting the transaction on behalf of the company in SMF at Foreign Investment Reporting and Management System (FIRMS) portal. BU can do the filing for different entities, but the registration for login credentials should be done separately for each entity.

Who is an Entity User?

Entity User is the person who is authorised by the company and is solely responsible for entering/updating the Foreign Investment details of the entity on Entity Master.

What are the documents to be attached at the time of Entity User and Business User registration?

Type of registrationDocuments required
Entity User
  • The authorisation letter as per the Entity Master User Manual. (
  • PAN Card of the Entity User
  • Company declaration by mentioning the reasons for not being able to complete the entity user registration process during the initial window from Jun 28 to Jul 20, 2018
Business User

What is the process for rectifying/modifying the Entity Master details?

To modify the existing details on Entity Master, a request has to be made by sending an e-mail to and by attaching a scan copy of the request letter from an authorised representative of the company. The e-mail should contain necessary details of the company and the changes needed in the below format:

  • User ID:
  • Company Identification Number (CIN)/ Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Number: 
  • Registered e-mail ID:
  • Issue description (reasons for the change):
  • Changes needed to be done:
Sr. No. Data field to be updated Old value (existing) New value (to be updated)

Who should be contacted for technical issues on the portal?

Technical issues like not receiving Login IDs, user credentials not working, etc. can be resolved by sending a request e-mail to through registered e-mail ID.

Which Indian Financial System Code (IFSC) of the Bank to be selected at the time of registering for Business User?

Authorised Dealer (AD) Banks would have only chosen branches which handle the registrations and the forms reported on FIRMS portal. So, while selecting the IFSC, it is needed to ensure that the reporting is made to the concerned branch of the AD Bank. The IFSC to be entered by the users who choose ICICI Bank as their AD Bank is ICIC0000393.

Can I apply for Business User login credentials for filing Form Invi without making entity master registration?

In the case of reporting for Invi, Business User registration can be made directly and the entity master registration is not required.

Do I need to submit Advance Remittance Form (ARF) before filing FC-GPR on SMF?

Upon SMF implementation, the two-step reporting procedure of FDI i.e. submission of ARF and FC-GPR separately has been merged into a single revised FC-GPR. So, FC-GPR can be filed directly on SMF without any submission of ARF.

What is the time period for filing of Forms in SMF as per regulatory guidelines?

Type of filingTime period*
 FC-GPR Within thirty days from the date of issue of equity instruments
FC-TRS Within sixty days from the date of transfer of equity instruments or receipt/remittance of funds whichever is earlier
LLP-I Within thirty days from the date of receipt of amount of consideration
LLP-II Within sixty days from the date of receipt/remittance of funds
CN Within thirty days of issuance/transfer of CN
ESOP Within thirty days from the date of issue of ESOPs
DRR Within thirty days of the close of the issue/programme
DI Within thirty days from the date of allotment of equity instruments
InVi Within thirty days from the date of issue of units to the foreign investors

*The time period is as per Foreign Exchange Management (Mode of Payment and Reporting of Non-Debt Instruments) Regulations, 2019.

Can I do the refiling on SMF for the forms submitted earlier on ebiz portal?

In cases where the filing had been initiated on ebiz portal, the errors related to the same filing has to be addressed and the related documents are to be submitted the RBI Regional office through AD Bank.

Can I file a single FC-GPR-SMF for multiple investors?

The reporting for the issue of shares to multiple investors can be done on single FC-GPR-SMF form if the date and nature of the issue are the same for all the investors.

How can I resubmit the form rejected on SMF?

The forms rejected on SMF cannot be resubmitted. The fresh form has to be filled again by considering the errors raised during the previous rejection.

What is the permissible limit for excess/shortfall of the funds due to exchange rate fluctuations?

In case excess/shortfall of the funds is due to foreign exchange fluctuations, the permissible amount of deviation is 0.5% of the total amount of consideration and up to a maximum value of INR 10,000.

What is the difference between LLP-I and LLP-II filing?

LLP-I filing is done at the time of reporting the capital contribution made by a person resident outside India, while LLP-II filing is to be made for reporting the disinvestment/transfer of capital contribution from a person resident outside India to a person resident in India and vice versa.

What is the procedure for filing in SMF in cases where the foreign direct investment will be changed to indirect foreign investment and vice versa?

Foreign Direct Investment to Indirect Foreign Investment: FC-TRS form has to be filed first for the reduction in FDI, and subsequently DI reporting has to be done for the increase in Indirect Foreign Investment.

Indirect Foreign Investment to Foreign Direct Investment: Firstly, the entity master has to be updated with the changes in investment pattern and then FC-TRS form has to be filed.

What are the types of transaction for which form FC-TRS needs to be filed?

(a) Form FCTRS shall be filed for transfer of equity instruments as per the rules, between:

i. person resident outside India holding equity instruments in an Indian company on a repatriable basis and person resident outside India holding equity instruments on a non-repatriable basis; and

ii. person resident outside India holding equity instruments in an Indian company on a repatriable basis and a person resident in India.

Transfer of equity instruments in accordance with the rules by way of sale between a person resident outside India holding equity instruments on a non-repatriable basis and person resident in India is not required to be reported in Form FC-TRS.

(b) Transfer of equity instruments on a recognised stock exchange by a person resident outside India shall be reported by such person in Form FC-TRS.

(c) Transfer of equity instruments prescribed in Rule 9(6) of the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-Debt Instrument) Rules, 2019, shall be reported in Form FC-TRS on receipt of every tranche of payment. The onus of reporting shall be on the resident transferor/transferee.

(d) Transfer of 'participating interest/rights' in oil fields shall be reported in Form FC-TRS.

(e) Form FC-TRS is required to be filed by the Indian company buying back shares in a scheme of merger/ de-merger/ amalgamation of Indian companies approved by National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)/ competent authority.

The form FC-TRS shall be filed within sixty days of transfer of equity instruments or receipt/ remittance of funds whichever is earlier.


What are the transactions for which form LLP II needs to be filed?

Form LLP II: The transfer/disinvestment of capital contribution or profit share between a resident and non-resident or vice versa shall be filed in Form LLP (II) within sixty days from the date of receipt/remittance of funds. The responsibility of reporting shall be on the resident transferor/transferee.

Whose responsibility is to file Form FC-TRS?

The onus of reporting shall be on the resident transferor/transferee or the person resident outside India holding equity instruments on a non-repatriable basis, as the case may be.


Are LLPs receiving foreign investment allowed to make downstream investment in other limited liability company or LLP?

Yes, LLPs receiving foreign investment are allowed to make downstream investment in other limited liability company or LLP in those sectors where 100% FDI is permitted through automatic route.

An Indian company is undergoing voluntary liquidation and sending surplus funds (profit/surplus money) abroad to shareholders as per share holding percentage. Is FC-TRS filing required?

No, as per Foreign Exchange Management (Remittance of Assets) regulations, 2016 governing remittance of assets, filing of FC-TRS is not allowed as there is no transfer of shares.

What are convertible notes?

A convertible note is an instrument issued by a startup company evidencing receipt of money initially as debt, which is repayable at the option of the holder or which is convertible into such number of equity shares of such startup company, within a period not exceeding five years from the date of issue of the convertible note, upon occurrence of specified events as per the other terms and conditions agreed to and indicated in the instrument.



A Person Resident Outside India (PROI) is exercising an option which was issued to him/her when he/she was a person resident in India. Will it be on repatriation or non-repatriation basis?

The option exercised by such a PROI which was issued to him/her when he/she was a resident in India will be on non-repatriation basis.

When is Form Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) to be filed and by whom?

Form ESOP is to be filed at the time of issue of ESOP within 30 days from the issue date, and the Indian Company will file it.

Is there any other filing also required at the time of issue of ESOP?

There is only Form ESOP to be filed at the time of issue of ESOP. However, at the time of exercise of ESOP, Form FC-GPR and if the ESOPs are linked to American Depository Receipt/ Global Depository Receipt (ADR/GDR), Form DRR is to be filed upon exercise of such ESOPs.

What is Form DRR?

Form Depository Receipts (DRR) is filed whenever there is issue or transfer of DRR issued by a foreign depository in a permissible jurisdiction on the back of eligible securities issued or transferred to that foreign depository and deposited with a domestic custodian (custodian of securities registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in accordance with the SEBI (Custodian of Securities) Regulations, 1996) and includes GDR as defined in the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013) subject to the terms and conditions specified in Schedule IX as per Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) Rules, 2019.



Who files Form DRR?

The domestic custodian shall report the issue/ transfer of sponsored/ unsponsored Depository Receipts as per DR Scheme 2014 in Form DRR within 30 days of close of the issue/programme.

Will DRR having underlying instruments like debt be considered in the sectoral cap?

It will not be considered in the sectoral cap.

Amount raised as in a Depository Receipt (DR) issue has not been repatriated in India in one go and is kept abroad. Is Form DRR reporting required whenever such amount is repatriated in subsequent tranches?

In such cases wherever the amount is being repatriated in subsequent tranches, for every subsequent tranche Form DRR shall be filed within 30 days from the date of remittance as a subsequent Form DRR to the Form DRR as filed at the time of issue of DRs as follows:

  • Step 1: Using the left navigation button, select File Return and then Single Master Form.
  • Step 2: Select return type as Form DRR. If the reference number of the earlier filed
  • Form DRR is known, enter the same in the field Return Reference Number and click on search return. Or else, enter the from date and search return. Select the initial filed Form DRR and open the same upon clicking on the reference number.
  • Step 3: At the top right, select the button "ADD subsequent return". Enter the amount repatriated in the current tranche in INR and no other field needs to be entered. The values in Total amount repatriated in India and the amount kept abroad are updated accordingly. Check the details under the tab "Tranche details".
  • Step 4. Check the declaration and attach the Foreign Invert Remittance Certificate (FIRC) for the amount repatriated in the "Other attachments" and click on "Submit" button at top right.



Is entity master required for Form InVi?

Entity Master Update is not required for Form InVi.

Who files Form InVi?

An InVI to An Investment Vehicle which has issued its units to a person resident outside India shall file Form InVi with the Reserve Bank within 30 days from the date of issue of units.


What is Downstream Investment under FDI?

Downstream Investment is an indirect foreign investment, whereby an Indian company having FDI which is owned or controlled by foreign person/entities invests in the equity instruments of another Indian company.

What do you mean by "owned and controlled by non-resident entities"?

'Owned and Controlled' by 'non-resident entities' means

  • "Owned" by 'non-resident entities', if more than 50% of the equity interest in it is beneficially owned by non-residents
  • "Controlled" by 'non-resident entities', if non-residents have the power to appoint a majority of its directors.

When is Downstream Investment to be reported and by whom?

Indian Entity making DI shall submit Form DI within 30 days from the date of allotment of the equity instruments.

What are the conditions of DIs?

Downstream foreign investment is subject to the following conditions:

  • Indirect Foreign Investor must notify the Secretariat for Industrial Assistance, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) within 30 days of the DI, even if the equity instrument has not been allotted. The DI must be approved by the board and shareholder (where necessary) of the Investee Entity.
  • The investment must comply with entry route, sectoral caps, pricing guidelines prescribed by RBI and SEBI.
  • DI must be made through inward remittance of funds from abroad and not from funds borrowed from domestic markets. The DIs are made through internal accruals.

The onus of compliance with the above conditions is on the entity making the DI at each level, and the statutory auditor must provide a certificate to this effect.

Can person resident in India holding equity instruments or units of an Indian company (or NRI holding on non-repatriation basis) transfer the same to non-resident by way of gift?

Yes, resident has to obtain prior approval from the Reserve Bank subject to the following conditions:

(i) Gift <= 5% of paid-up capital/Debentures/Mutual Funds of Indian company

(ii) The donor and the donee shall be "relatives" within the meaning in Clause (77) of Section 2 of the Companies Act, 2013;

(iii) Value of all gifts of donor to be less than USD 50,000

(iv) Other conditions, as mentioned in Non-Debt Instruments Rules, 2019 Chapter III; Rule 9 Sub-rule (4)

Can non-resident holding equity instruments of an Indian company transfer the same to a resident by way of gift?

Yes, the transaction is allowed under Automatic Route.

FC-TRS to be filed by Resident party within 60 days from the date of transfer of equity instruments.

Can non-resident/ Foreign Portfolio Investor/Non-Resident Indian/Overseas Citizen of India (FPI/NRI/OCI) holding equity instruments of an Indian company transfer the same to non-resident by way of gift?

Yes, transaction is allowed under Automatic Route.

A prior Government approval shall be obtained for any transfer in case the company is engaged in a sector that requires Government approval.

What are the documents to be attached along with Form FC-TRS in case of gift?

(i) Consent letter: Consent letter between donor and donee for the transfer to be attached as other attachment.

(ii) Relevant regulatory approvals, wherever applicable.

(iii) Non-resident declaration.

(iv) Other documents as required by AD banks.

Can single Form FC-TRS to be filed in case of single donor and multiple donees or vice versa?

Transfer of shares from a single non-resident shareholder donor to multiple resident donees.

(i) The investee company may make filing in Form FC-TRS on behalf of all resident transferees or one resident shareholder may file the return on behalf of all the resident shareholders. 

(ii) Enter the non-resident details in the Seller section.

(iii) In the Buyer section, enter as multiple donees.

(iv) In the Particulars of transfer, enter the consolidated transfer details.

(vi) All other required documents may be entered as per the user manual for FIRMS.  

(vii) Applicant shall have to attach the list of donees as attachment under "other attachments".

This procedure is specific to only the instant case. If you happen to come across such a case, kindly mark an e-mail to RBI at  and get a written confirmation.