Give2Asia conducts due diligence on all new prospective grantees. In India, the due diligence includes a special prerequisite required by Indian law.
UPDATE: For more recent news on FCRA, please read our 2020 update on How India’s updated FCRA law affects donors and charities
For a charitable group in India to receive funds from an overseas source, the government of India requires that the charitable group has registration that complies with the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Without FCRA approval, grantee organizations in India may not legally receive foreign contributions from Give2Asia or any donor outside of India. There are two types of FCRA authorization:
- Prior Permission
Registration under FCRA gives Indian charitable organizations the authorization to receive donations from foreign sources. Organizations are eligible for registration under FCRA if they have been in existence for at least three years. As per the new FCRA regulations (2010), organizations must renew their FCRA every five years.
A charitable group must apply online for FCRA by submitting Form FC-3, and then sending in a hard copy of the application along with other required documents within 30 days. The fee to apply for the registration is Rs. 2,000 (approximately $45). An acceptance or rejection of the application is made within 90 to 120 days after the application is made.
If an organization has been in existence for less than three years, they must receive “Prior Permission” to accept foreign contributions. Prior Permission is given to charitable groups by the FCRA department in order for groups to accept foreign contribution on a case-by-case basis. This permission should be obtained before accepting any contribution, and is applicable to a specific project and specific amount. This means the charitable group cannot use it for a different project or for additional funding for the same project. The charitable group cannot receive amounts more than the one specified in the Prior Permission. Groups can have two or more projects running side-by-side under Prior Permission. If a project is to be funded jointly by two or more donors, the charitable group can apply for a single Prior Permission that incorporates funding from all donors for the project.
A charitable group must apply online for Prior Permission by submitting Form FC-4, and then sending in a hard copy of the application along with other required documents. A fee of Rs. 1,000 (approximately $22.50) is required with the application. An acceptance or rejection of the application is made within 90 to 120 days after the application is made.
Organizations that do not have FCRA authorization may not legally receive any donation that originally came from a foreign source without obtaining Prior Permission. For example, an organization that has FCRA registration may not grant some of the foreign contribution to another organization that does not have FCRA. Any organization that wishes to receive foreign contributions, even if the funds pass through another organization, must apply for and receive either Prior Permission or Registration under FCRA.
More information, forms, documents checklist, and FAQ can be found at:
LEGAL ADVICE RECOMMENDED
This document does not provide donors or grantee organizations with legal advice. This information has been compiled from various third-party sources, which Give2Asia has gathered as part of its grantmaking to India. We recommend that you seek professional legal advice on issues related to FCRA registration and on legal issues related to transferring assets to charitable groups in India.