Saturday, July 28, 2012

Power of Attorney from NRIs

Updated on 14 Oct 2015:
A reader has pointed out in the comments section that the requirements have since changed. They can be found at - http://www.indianembassy.nl/eoi.php?id=poa

They key difference is that now witnesses from NL are required to appear with the applicant along with their ids to sign the PoA.

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As an NRI in the Netherlands, if you, as an Indian citizen, wish to give power of attorney (POA) to a resident in India, you need to do it at the Indian Consulate or the Embassy of India and would need the following documents:
  • Official POA text printed on normal paper: Please note that the format is usually provided by the bank in case of a housing loan or by a lawyer in case of property sale or registration and stamp paper is required only when the POA is executed in India
  • Passport and Residence card or visa
  • Form for consular services (usually found in the Indian embassy website)
  • Photocopies of all of the above
  • At least 2 passport size photos: You will need one for the consular services form and one for the POA
  • Fee
You are required to sign each page the POA in front of the consulate employee (who will then affix his signature and stamp), so do not sign anything at home. It is also prudent to carry additional documentation, for example, passport copy of the person who the POA is given to, marriage certificate especially if you are a woman etc since requirements may vary from one country to another.

NL specific (cannot comment about Indian consulates in other countries)
The website of the Indian embassy in NL hardly offers any information on POAs and neither do they answer phone calls. So you get the requirements only when you go there in person to Den Haag, so it’s better to be prepared especially if you want to avoid another trip. Please note that only passport and visa processes are outsourced (to VFS Global services) and POAs are directly dealt with by the Embassy. So neither the VFS hotline nor the VFS agents will be able to help you with this request.

Some tips and information:
First of all, any POA should only be given to a person you completely and implicitly trust like a parent or spouse. To avoid legal complications in the future, its better not to choose agents or other business associates.

Second of all, please exercise caution while giving someone general POA. It typically means the person can do ANYTHING with any of your investments and liabilities i.e. act like its his/her money and property. So if there is a specific purpose, for example sale of a particular property, then state only that in the POA. To be doubly sure, please also make sure you revoke the POA, once the job is done. Yes, it is good to have faith in people but there is no need to make it explicit with a legal document.

While drafting the POA, make sure the
  • format is right - I found some useful formats here
  • date and place of execution (in this case, Indian Embassy, The Hague) are correct
  • names and addresses are spelt according to the passport (or similar identification card)
  • space at the end of each page (easily done with custom margins in MS word) is enough for the signatures and stamp
Purchase of property
If you are availing a housing loan from a bank for purchase of property (Land or House) in India, please note that in this case, 2 POAs may be required. The first one is to be given to the bank, which will allow them to deal with a local representative. The second one, is for property registration i.e for the representative to appear in front of the Govt. Registrar to register the property in your name. Please note that the text is vastly different for the 2 POAs.
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