About FCRA Registration for NGO

  • FCRA stands for the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, which is a law enacted by the Government of India to regulate foreign donations to non-profit organizations in India.
  • FCRA registration is mandatory for non-profit organizations that receive foreign contributions or donations.
  • FCRA registration is important for NGOs because it enables them to receive foreign contributions legally and utilize them for their social or charitable activities.
  • Without FCRA registration, non-profit organizations are prohibited from receiving foreign donations, and any such donations received can be seized by the government, leading to a significant financial and reputational loss for the organization.
  • FCRA registration also ensures transparency and accountability in the use of foreign donations, as the government monitors the receipt and utilization of such funds by the registered organizations.
  • The FCRA registration process involves stringent scrutiny and verification of the organization’s legal and financial status, as well as its social or charitable objectives, to ensure that the foreign contributions are utilized only for the stated purposes and not for any illegal or nefarious activities.
  • In summary, FCRA registration is crucial for non-profit organizations in India that rely on foreign donations to fund their social or charitable activities.
  • It enables them to receive foreign contributions legally and ensures transparency and accountability in the use of such funds.
  • After the amendment in 2005 in the Companies Act the requirement of minimum paid-up capital has been removed. Private companies can now have a minimum paid-up capital of any amount.


    Document Requirement for FCRA Registration for NGO

    The following documents are required for FCRA registration of non-profit organizations in India:

    1. Registration certificates of the organization must be registered under any of the following Acts: Societies Registration Act, 1860; Indian Trusts Act, 1882; or Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. A copy of the registration certificate must be submitted.
    2. Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Articles of Association (AOA): A copy of the MOA and AOA of the organization must be submitted.
    3. Audited financial statements: Audited financial statements of the organization for the last three years must be submitted.
    4. Bank account details: A copy of the bank account details of the organization, including the account number and bank statement for the last six months, must be submitted.
    5. Activity report: A detailed report on the organization’s activities, including the nature of its social or charitable objectives and the projects undertaken, must be submitted.
    6. List of governing body members: A list of the governing body members of the organization, along with their names, addresses, and contact details, must be submitted.
    7. Details of foreign contributions: If the organization has received any foreign contributions in the past, a detailed statement showing the source, amount, and purpose of the contributions must be submitted.
    8. FCRA declaration: The organization must submit a declaration stating that it has not been blacklisted or debarred from receiving foreign contributions by any agency of the government of India.
    9. Copies of registration certificates: Copies of registration certificates under any other Acts or laws that the organization may have, such as PAN, TAN, etc., must be submitted.


    Process of FCRA Registration for NGO

    The process of getting FCRA Registration involves the following steps:

    • Preparation of documents: The first step is to prepare all the necessary documents, as outlined in the previous answer. This includes obtaining a registration certificate under any of the Acts mentioned, such as the Societies Registration Act or the Companies Act, and preparing financial statements, activity reports, and other required documents.
    • Online application: The application for FCRA registration must be made online on the FCRA website (for online.nic.in). The applicant must create a login ID and password and apply along with the required documents.
    • Payment of fees: The applicant must pay the prescribed fees for FCRA registration, which can be done online through the FCRA website.
    • Verification: Once the application and documents are submitted, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will verify the information provided and may seek additional documents or clarification if required. The verification process can take several months, and the applicant may need to follow up with the MHA to expedite the process.
    • Grant of registration: If the MHA is satisfied with the application and documents, it will grant FCRA registration to the organization. The registration is valid for five years and must be renewed thereafter.

    Compliance to do After Obtaining FCRA Registration for NGO

    After obtaining FCRA registration, non-profit organizations in India are required to comply with the following regulations:

    • Maintaining separate bank account: The organization must maintain a separate bank account exclusively for foreign contributions received under FCRA.
    • Filing annual returns: The organization must file annual returns for each financial year, detailing the foreign contributions received and utilized. The returns must be filed electronically on the FCRA website within nine months of the end of the financial year.
    • Prior permission for receiving foreign contributions: If the organization intends to receive foreign contributions from a new source, it must obtain prior permission from the MHA. This includes providing details of the donor, the purpose of the contribution, and the proposed amount.
    • Use of foreign contributions: The foreign contributions received under FCRA can only be used for the specific purposes for which they were received. Any diversion of funds must be reported to the MHA.
    • Annual audit: The organization must conduct an annual audit of its foreign contribution receipts and utilization, and submit the audit report to the MHA along with the annual returns.
    • Renewal of registration: The FCRA registration is valid for five years and must be renewed thereafter. The renewal application must be submitted at least six months before the expiry of the current registration.
    • Compliance with other laws: The organization must comply with all other laws and regulations related to foreign contributions, such as the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Income Tax Act.

    Non-compliance with these regulations can result in the cancellation of FCRA Registration for NGO and other penalties. Therefore, non-profit organizations need to ensure that they comply with all the requirements and maintain proper records of foreign contributions received and utilized.

    Top 10 advantages of FCRA Registration

    Here are the top 10 advantages of FCRA Registration for charitable trusts and non-profit organizations in India:

    • Eligibility for foreign funding: FCRA Registration enables non-profit organizations to receive foreign funding from individuals, corporations, and other entities based outside of India.
    • Diversification of funding sources: FCRA Registration allows non-profit organizations to diversify their funding sources, reducing their reliance on domestic funding.
    • Increased financial resources: Foreign funding can provide non-profit organizations with additional financial resources to implement their programs and initiatives.
    • Enhanced capacity-building opportunities: With more financial resources, non-profit organizations can invest in capacity-building activities, such as staff training and infrastructure development, to improve their organizational effectiveness and impact.
    • Increased visibility and credibility: FCRA Registration can enhance the visibility and credibility of non-profit organizations, as foreign donors often prefer to fund organizations that are registered and regulated by the government.
    • Access to global best practices: With foreign funding, non-profit organizations can access global best practices and innovative solutions to address social issues in India.
    • International partnerships and collaborations: FCRA Registration can facilitate international partnerships and collaborations, enabling non-profit organizations to leverage the expertise and resources of foreign organizations and individuals.
    • Greater independence and autonomy: By diversifying their funding sources, non-profit organizations can reduce their dependence on government funding and exercise greater independence and autonomy in their operations.
    • Better tracking and reporting of foreign funding: FCRA Registration enables non-profit organizations to track and report their foreign funding more effectively, ensuring transparency and accountability in their operations.

    Fulfillment of legal and regulatory requirements: FCRA Registration for NGOs is a legal and regulatory requirement for non-profit organizations that wish to receive foreign funding in India. By obtaining FCRA Registration for NGOs, organizations can ensure compliance with the relevant laws and regulations, avoiding penalties and other legal issues

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    Frequently Asked Questions ?

    Ans. FCRA Registration is a registration process that allows non-profit organizations in India to receive foreign contributions from individuals, corporations, and other entities based outside of India.

    Ans. Any non-profit organization registered under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882; the Societies Registration Act, 1860; or the Companies Act, 2013, can apply for FCRA registration.

    Ans. The documents required for FCRA Registration include the organization’s registration certificate, memorandum of association, bylaws or rules and regulations, audited financial statements, and a declaration from the organization’s chief functionary.

    Ans. FCRA Registration is valid for a period of five years and must be renewed thereafter.

    Ans. No, it is illegal for an organization to receive foreign contributions without FCRA Registration. Non-compliance can result in penalties and other legal issues.

    Ans. After obtaining FCRA Registration, non-profit organizations are required to comply with regulations such as maintaining a separate bank account, filing annual returns, obtaining prior permission for receiving foreign contributions, using foreign contributions only for specific purposes, conducting an annual audit, and complying with other relevant laws and regulations.

    Ans. No, foreign contributions received under FCRA can only be used for specific purposes as mentioned in the registration certificate. Any diversion of funds must be reported to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

    Ans. The process of obtaining FCRA Registration typically takes between 4-6 months, depending on the completeness and accuracy of the application and documentation submitted.

    Ans. Yes, non-compliance with FCRA regulations can result in cancellation of registration, seizure of foreign contributions, and other penalties.

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