FCRA Registration for Foreign Donations - Fees ,Eligibility and Documents

Updated on November 26, 2022 05:57:29 PM

FCRA registration is a permit issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to monitor the foreign donations received by Non-Profit Organisations in India. If you are a registered NGO, a Charitable Trust or a Section 8 Company and wish to receive foreign donations, you must register under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

Registration under FCRA helps charitable trusts and NGOs to get funds from foreign sources in their FCRA account. Non-Profit organizations in India that are providing necessary support to specific groups of people on a large scale are eligible to receive donations from the Foreign Funding Agencies.

Read on to learn everything about the FCRA, foreign contributions, and getting your organization registered under FCRA.

FCRA Certificate Sample

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What is FCRA?

FCRA stands for Foreign Contributions Regulation Act. It is a law that regulates the acceptance of foreign contributions. The law requires organizations in India to register with the state department before receiving any funds from sources outside the country.

Foreign Contribution Regulations Act was formed in 1976 with the objective of regulating the flow of foreign donations toward NGOs and Charitable Organisations in India.

Origin of the FCRA

When the Emergency was declared in 1976, there were many fears of other countries interfering in India's affairs by pumping money into the country through separate organizations. These worries are actually older than one might think; they had been discussed in Parliament as early as 1969.

In order to consolidate these rules (regarding the use of foreign funds) and prohibit their usage for activities deemed other than that of national interest. Implementation of this Act granted more control and scrutiny to the government over the transactions of NGOs from foreign sources.

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Eligibility criteria for FCRA registration?

In order to register under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), the Association must fulfill the following criteria:

  1. The FCRA registration guidelines require that the Association should be a non-profit organization and must be registered under one of the Indian societies laws:
    • The Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860 or
    • The Indian Trusts Act, 1882 or
    • Section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956
  2. The Association should have been founded with a commitment to social improvement in India and must have completed three years of operation before applying for FCRA registration.
  3. To be eligible for FCRA registration, the Organisation must have spent at least Rs. 15 Lakh on its core operations for the benefit of society during the course of the last three financial years.
  4. Statements of Income & Expenditure duly audited by chartered accountants are to be submitted to substantiate that it meets these financial parameters.
  5. The Organisation must have utilized at least 80% of the foreign contribution on its core activities. Not more than 20% of the funds can be utilized for administrative expenses. For all administrative expenses beyond 20%, central government clearance is required.
  6. FCRA registration is compulsory for NGOs that receive foreign donations of more than Rs. 15 lakhs per year.
  7. NGOs that want to receive foreign donations of more than Rs. 1 crore per year must obtain prior permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
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Documents required for FCRA registration

The following documents are required To register your NGO under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA),

Normal FCRA Registration

  • Registration Certificate of Association
  • Memorandum of Association/ Trust Deed
  • The audited statement of accounts for the last three years
  • Activity Report for the last 3 years.
  • NGO Darpan ID from the NITI Aayog portal
  • Adhaar Card of all the office bearers

Prior Permission FCRA Registration

  • Registration Certificate of Association
  • Memorandum of Association/Trust Deed
  • Darpan ID from the NITI Aayog portal
  • Adhaar Card of all the office bearers
  • Commitment letter from the donor organization and agreement
  • Project report for which FC will be received
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Mandatory Requirements for FCRA Registration

Darpan ID

Darpan ID is now mandatory to be filled in the FC-3 Forms during FCRA registration. You can obtain a Darpan ID from the NITI Aayog portal.

FCRA Bank Account

You must have an FCRA account opened in the SBI New Delhi Main Branch, in which you will receive donations from foreign sources.

Adhaar Card

Adhaar card of key officials is mandatory for FCRA application. A passport or OCI is required in case the member is a foreigner operating the Organisation in India.

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FCRA Online Registration Process

fcra online registration process

The FCRA registration process is a complex one and requires the applicant to be well informed about the Complete procedure. The steps involved in this process are as follows:-

Visit FCRA Portal

The first step is to access the online portal of FCRA by the Ministry of Home affairs. Visit the official FCRA website to access the FCRA registration portal.

Create a Login ID

Create a login ID and password. You will need to log on to the FCRA online portal by using the ID and password. Once you log in, click on the new registration or prior permission registration or FCRA renewal.

Fill out the FC-3 Form

Fill out the desired FC-3 form as per your requirements for FCRA registration. Different forms for FCRA are listed in the Table Below:

Type of FCRA Registration Application Form
FCRA Registration FC-3A
Prior Permission FC-3B
FCRA Renewal FC-3C
FCRA Annual Return Filing FC-4

Upload Required Documents

Upload the required documents for FCRA registration in a prescribed format. Make sure that the documents uploaded are as per the required size provided on the MHA portal. The incorrect format can lead to the cancellation of the application.

Payment

Finally, you need to pay the required fees for FCRA registration online. The government fees vary accordingly with the type of FCRA registration you are applying for.

Once everything is in order, you'll be registered under FCRA and can start receiving foreign donations.

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FRCA Registration fees

The government fees for FCRA prior permission is ₹5000 while the Government fees for Fresh FCRA registration is ₹10000. Apart from that, the NGO needs to pay a professional fee of ₹15000 for registering their Trust, society or section 8 Company under FCRA.

The government fees for FCRA Registration are as follows:

FEES(₹) FCRA REGISTRATION(₹) FCRA PRIOR PERMISSION(₹)
Government Fees 10,000 5,000
Professional Fees 15,000 15,000
Total 25,000 20,000
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Annual Return Filing under FCRA

If you are a registered NGO or trust that receives foreign donations, you are required to file an annual return with the Ministry of Home Affairs. You must also file a quarterly return if your total receipts from foreign sources exceed Rs. 1 crore in a financial year.

A return must be submitted for each fiscal year (April 1st - March 31st) within nine months after the end of the year or by December 31st. A Chartered Accountant's certified balance sheet and statement of receipts and payments must be included with the return, which must be filed using the standard Form FC-4.

The FCRA online portal offers a hassle-free way to file your returns. The portal is user-friendly and easy to navigate. You can also pay your FCRA fees online through the portal.

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FCRA Bank Account

The FCRA Bank Account is a separate account mandatory for all foreign contributions received by organizations under the FCRA.

All foreign contributions can only be received in an account opened at State Bank of India, New Delhi Main Branch. It takes 7 days from the application date to get your FCRA account opened.

Any existing organization certified under FCRA is not allowed to receive foreign donations in any other account. However, the fresh applicants must open the FCRA account after the issuance of the FCRA certificate by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The FCRA Account opened in SBI, New Delhi Main Branch can only be used for collecting foreign contributions, and you can't deposit or receive any funds other than foreign donations in the FCRA bank account.

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Benefits of registering under FCRA

Receive Foreign Donation

FCRA registration helps an association to receive foreign donations for definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programs without any government restrictions.

Provides Transparency

It also seeks to promote greater transparency in the manner in which foreign funds are raised and spent by NGOs and other trusts involved in a social cause.

Legal Protection

The government provides significant support to the organizations registered under FCRA. With tax exemption on income, capital gains and donations.

Helps Social workers

The FCRA registration helps social workers to identify the source of money received by their clients and analyze it properly. It provides freedom to the organizations working for the welfare of society.

Prevents misuse of Funds

FCRA registration helps the government to prevent the misuse of foreign donations. This also helps them identify the true nature of the donation received by the organization and how it is used for its intended purpose.

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Easy FCRA registration with Professional Utilities

The complexities in the FCRA registration process and document uploading may seem daunting, and it is advised to seek an FCRA expert like Professional Utilities. Here you can Register your Ngo under FCRA effortlessly.

The process of obtaining an FCRA certificate is rather easy when you are backed by Professional Utilities. All you need to do is to follow these 3 simple steps:

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  • documents required icon
  • get fcra registered icon

Step 1:
Get in touch via call or contact form

Step 2:
Provide necessary documents

Step 3:
Get your FCRA registered in 25-30 days

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FCRA validity and renewal

The FCRA registration is valid for five years and has to be renewed every year to continue receiving foreign contributions.

All NGOs and Trusts receiving foreign contributions are required to get their FCRA registration renewed every five years. Renewal of FCRA registration ensures that all NGOs and trusts comply with Indian laws in order to receive foreign funds.

If you do not renew your registration, you will not be able to receive any more foreign donations. Furthermore, if you are found to be in violation of the FCRA, your registration may be canceled, and you may face penalties.

According to the FCRA Amendment 2020, The government may enquire about the working of NGOs to make sure that the Organisation is fulfilling the conditions.

Documents required for FCRA renewal

  • Registration Certificate of Association
  • Memorandum of Association/Trust Deed
  • FCRA registration Certificate issued by MHA
  • Adhaar Card of all the office bearers
  • Darpan ID from the NITI Aayog portal

FCRA Renewal Fees

The Government fees for FCRA Renewal is ₹5000, which must be paid by the Non-profit organization before the due date of FCRA certificate validity to continue receiving and utilizing funds from foreign sources. The professional fees for FCRA registration is ₹15000 per certificate.

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Disclaimer: Materials provided herein are only for informational purposes. No lawyer-client relationship is created when you visit or use the site or its materials. Information on this site does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such or used instead of an attorney licensed in your state.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is FCRA registration?

FCRA registration is permission that allows a charitable trust, section 8 company or an NGO to receive donations from foreign countries.

Do I need FCRA registration to receive foreign donations?

Yes, it is mandatory to have FCRA registration for your Ngo or trust to be able to receive foreign donations. Otherwise, you may face multiple government restrictions while receiving money from foreign sources.

What are the consequences of not having FCRA registration?

It is a punishable offense to receive foreign donations without being registered under FCRA. You may be charged a fine or imprisonment of upto three years or both if you are found violating any of the laws under the Foreign Contribution Registration Act.

How long does it take to get FCRA registration?

It takes 4 months to get an FCRA Registration Certificate.

Do I need to renew my FCRA registration?

FCRA registration is valid for 5 years, and it must be renewed after the completion of 5 years from the date of registration. A Ngo can't receive any foreign donations without a valid FCRA certificate.

Is FCRA Registration required if a Ngo is receiving donations from NRI?

Yes. Donations from NRIs are considered a foreign contribution, and It is mandatory to register under FCRA if a Ngo is receiving foreign contributions.

Can a Private Limited company or a Partnership firm get FCRA registration?

A private Limited Company or a partnership firm can apply for FCRA registration if they are willing to receive foreign donations or planning to do some charitable work in the future.