Foreign Directors/Partners

In India, Foreign Direct Investment is allowed subject to government approval; appointment of a Foreign Director or Partner is lawful here. Any company type, except One Person Company, and Limited Liability Partnerships can appoint a Foreign National or Non-Resident Indians as their Director and Partner. As per the Companies Act, the only criteria to be qualified is, the Board or Constitution of the Company or Partnership should have at least one Resident Indian Citizen as its Member or Partner.

A foreign national can be nominated and appointed to the positions of Women Director, Independent Director, Small Director, Additional Director, Alternative and Nominee Director in Indian Companies by complying with the Companies Act, 2013.

Requirements to qualify as Director in Indian Company

  1. Director Identification Number to be obtained prior to such appointment
  2. Digital Signature Certificate to be obtained
  3. A declaration to be made by the proposed foreign Director that he is not disqualified from becoming a Director under the Companies Act, 2013
  4. The proposed Foreign National Director or NRI have to provide a written consent to act as director in Form DIR-2 and that to be filed with the Registrar within 30 days of his appointment. After this process only, he can act a Director of the Company

Application for DIN

A foreign national or an NRI shall make an application in online for obtaining DIN in electronic. He can process his application by e-filing Form DIR-3 to the Central Government along with fees of Rs.500 in MCA (Ministry of Corporate Affairs) website. The Central Government allots the DIN to the applicant within one month from the receipt of the application

The Form DIR-3 can be downloaded from the portal from the following link

The Form DIR-3 has to be filled and signed by the applicant using his/her own Digital Signature Certificate and shall be submitted electronically.

Documents Required

Soft Copy of the following documents are required along with the application:

Photograph:-The Photograph to be applied should have the following requirements

  1. Size of photo: 5 x 5 cm, 3.5 x 4.5 cm, 3.5 x 3.5 cm
  2. Colour of background: white or off-white.
  3. The model has to look towards the camera. Tilted head is not allowed.
  4. Profile or three-quarter photo is not allowed.

A Valid Passport as Identity Proof;

A foreign national applying for DIN to become a director in an Indian company requires details and attested copy of a valid passport

Residents Address Proof

The above documents are required to be certified by the Indian Embassy or apostilled by the notary in the home country of the applicant. As in the case of foreign national applying for DIN, a certified copy of his Form DIR-3 should be attached with application. All supporting documents including photograph should be certified by the Indian Embassy or a notary in the home country of the applicant.

As per the provisions of the ACT, the application can also be certified by the Key Managerial Person or a Company Secretary of the company registered in India, in which applicant is a director.  

Any practicing professionals in India can exercise his powers to attest the documents if a foreign director has a valid multiple entry Indian visas or Person of Indian Origin card or Overseas Citizen of India card.

The Form DIR-3 shall be digitally verified by any Practicing Professionals and the Key Managerial Personnel of the company where the applicant is proposed to be a director. The term Practicing professionals are referred to chartered accountant in practice or a company secretary in practice or a cost accountant in practice

Immediately after submitting the DIN application online, a provisional DIN is generated automatically, and the DIN can be obtained after evaluation and approval by the concerned departments. The DIN so obtained by the applicant shall be valid till the lifetime of the applicant.

A Permanent Account Number (PAN) from the Indian Income Tax department is not compulsory required for a Foreign National or a Non-Resident India. However, it is advisable for foreign citizens investing in India to get PAN. The process to get PAN is very simple, and the following documents are required:-

Identity Proof

Any of the followings can be submitted as Address proof

  1. Copy of Passport,
  2. National ID where he is a National  and that attested by Indian Embassy / Consulate / High Commission /Apostille,
  3.  Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card : -  A foreign nation of Indian Origin can produce POI issued by Government of India
  4. Copy of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card issued by Government of India

Proof of Address Document

Any of the followings can be submitted as Address proof

  1.  Copy of Passport
  2. Other National ID attested by Indian Embassy / Consulate /High Commission /Apostille
  3. Bank account statement in country of residence, duly attested by Indian Embassy /High Commission / Consulate / Apostille in the country where applicant is located
  4. Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card issued by Government of India or
  5. NRE bank account statement
  6. Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card issued by Government of India

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