How to Renew FCRA License?

Read this article to learn how to apply for a Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act or FCRA registration and how to renew the FCRA license – steps and documents required for the renewal

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, commonly known as the FCRA, was first introduced during the Emergency period in India in 1976. The purpose of its introduction stemmed from apprehensions of the incumbent Government of foreign powers interfering in India’s affairs by pumping in money through independent organizations.

Thus, the law attempted to regulate foreign contributions/donations to individuals and organisations ‘in a manner consistent with the values of a sovereign democratic republic’. The law has, subsequently, been amended twice since – in 2010 and 2020. These changes were brought about to provide the Government with stricter control and scrutinization over the utilization of such funds, especially by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
 

What are the conditions for FCRA Registration?


A foreign contribution may be accepted by obtaining a certificate of registration from the Central Government for any person/association that has a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious, or social programme. The three basic conditions for obtaining FCRA are as follows:
  • Must be in existence for at least three years.
  • Must have undertaken reasonable activity to benefit society in the field for which the foreign donation is proposed.
  • Must have spent at least INR 15 lakhs during the past three years for activities in lieu of which registration is sought.
 

Minimum threshold of INR 15 lakhs

  • Any administrative expenditure must be excluded.
  • Includes capital investment in assets like land, building, other permanent structures, vehicles, etc.
  • The Chief Functionary must provide an undertaking that the assets will be utilized only for FCRA activities; and that the assets will not be diverted for any other purpose till the organization has a FCRA registration.
 

Commitment to the State


The association/person must not affect prejudicially

  • The sovereignty and integrity of India.
  • The security, strategic, scientific or economic interest of the State.
  • Freedom and fairness of an election.
  • Public interest.
  • Relations with any foreign State.
  • Harmony with any religious, racial, social, linguistic, caste, etc. group.
 
Pre-requisites for FCRA Registration
  • Registration with NITI Aayog, i.e., registering at the NGO Darpan Portal.
  • Opening an exclusive and designated bank account, i.e., an ‘FCRA Account’ in the New Delhi, Main Branch of State Bank of India.
  • An application, i.e., online FORM FC-3A has to be accompanied with INR 10,000 with prescribed documents and submitted online.
 

Steps to renew FCRA Registration


The FCRA has a mandatory renewal policy for every five years. The existing registration certificate under Section 12 of the FCRA has to be renewed six months before the expiry date of the existing registration certificate. Following are the steps to renew the FCRA Registration in case it lapses:

 

An elaborate explanation of the contents of the form is provided below:


Details of the applicant/person/association: Address and contact information

Details of Registration
  • Name of Act under which person/association is registered (Societies Registration Act, Indian Trust Act, Companies Act).
  • Number, date and place of registration.
  • PAN (Permanent Account Number) of the person/association.
  • FCRA Registration number and date.
  • Contribution received in last three financial years.

Nature of person/association:
educational, social, religious, economic, etc.

Object/purpose of the person/association engaging in activities

Office Bearers
  • Key information and details of all office bearers or directors and other important members of the association.
  • Additional details for foreigners involved (including PIOs & OCIs).
  • Details of any changes after submission of original application.
Pay the requisite fee amount

Profile of Board Members, including any previous convictions/prosecutions

Disclosure if association is a branch, unit, or extension of any kind of a foreign organization

Bank Account Details
  • Details of ‘FCRA Account’ for receipt of foreign contribution.
  • Details of all banks utilized for foreign contribution.

The form also asks for information on prior registration under the FCRA Act and any links with other persons/associations who have been denied, refused, or prohibited from foreign contribution.

An affidavit has to be executed by each office bearer and key member with a non-judicial stamp paper of INR 10 attested by a Notary Public or First Class Magistrate.

Documents required for renewal of FCRA license

  • Self-certified Registration Certificate of association/organization.
  • Self-certified Memorandum of Association/Trust Deed.
  • FCRA Registration Certificate of Association issued by MHA.
  • Association has to upload affidavit of each key functionary.
  • Chief Functionary signature.
  • Seal of the Association.
  • Duly executed Proforma ‘AA’ (affidavit).

The status of pending applications for renewal can be checked online at the FCRA online services using the MHA File number. It will be mentioned in the payment receipt.
 

Conclusion


After the application is submitted, the Ministry of Home Affairs is required to respond to your application (accept/reject) within 90 days of its receipt. In case of failure to respond in the said period, the person/association must hear from the MHA with reason for such delay.

The Government has recently started to crackdown on NGOs under FCRA. There were nearly 40,000 NGOs under FCRA in 2011; it is now down to merely 16,000. However, those with a genuine motive and clean operations have no reason to worry about their FCRA renewal status since the Government cannot arbitrarily reject the application.
 
We can assist you with FCRA renewal concerns. You can get in touch with us by submitting a query below.

 

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