A Quick Guide on how to invest in Foreign Stocks from India: Apple, Google (Alphabet), Intel, Facebook (Meta Now), Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Samsung, Tesla, Twitter… These are some well-known companies in the world. We all have grown up using the products/services offered by these companies.

Moreover, these companies are global leaders in their respective businesses, as well as innovators, who are likely to benefit in the future. But along with using their products, can we also own some shares of these companies?

Wait, these are not Indian companies, right? Therefore, they won’t be listed on the Indian stock exchanges. Even if you have a Demat and trading account in India, you can trade/invest only in companies listed on Indian stock exchanges (BSE/NSE).

But these companies will be listed in their respective country’s stock exchanges like US stock exchanges. Then, how to buy shares of a company that are not registered in India, but trades in the foreign stock exchanges?

Don’t worry, if you really want to buy these stocks- you’ll get it. In this post, we are going to discuss three simple ways through which you can invest in foreign stocks. Let’s get started.

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Why should you invest in foreign stocks?

Before we start this post, let us first discuss why should you invest in foreign stocks? Are they better than Indian companies? Here, you need to make up your mind why you want to invest in foreign companies.

There are over 5,500 listed companies in the Indian stock market. Aren’t they enough? Why do you need to invest in alternative stocks? Further, which one is better to invest in- Indian companies or foreign companies?

Well, We are not really in a position to answer the second question. It won’t do justice if a guy in his 20s sitting on the comfort of his couch judges these Indian vs MNC companies and choose which one is better.

These are giant multi-billionaire companies that we are talking about here. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Samsung, Cisco, Tesla, etc are too big companies to comment upon. These companies have lots of cash, highly qualified professionals, employees in their management team and they are big innovators in their industry.

Anyway, there are even many big Indian companies that can give competitions to many foreign companies. Now, let us answer the first question i.e. why invest in foreign stocks. Here are my personal learnings on this question.

Top reasons why many Indian invests in the US

Here are my top reasons why many Indians invests in the US or other foreign stock exchanges:

1. People want to invest in their favorite companies

Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Tesla, etc. are the darlings of this generation. And of course, many people want to invest in these companies.

Invest in Foreign Stocks From India

2. Diversification with Global Investments

Investing in foreign stocks helps in diversification. Let’s assume that the Indian equity market starts falling due to some local region. However, investing in foreign stocks can mitigate the risk in your portfolio as the local reason may not have a significant effect on the international markets.

3. To seize bigger opportunities

Once you start to invest in foreign stocks, there are no boundaries anymore. You can hunt for better (profitable) opportunities in the international markets.

Besides the above-mentioned points, few investors believe that foreign companies have better resources, facilities, government cooperation, and standards. That’s why they invest in these foreign companies, compared to Indian companies.

Nevertheless, while deciding to invest in foreign stocks, you should also remember that India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. On the other hand, most of the international markets are a little saturated. Therefore, growth-wise, India has better potential.

Overall, it totally depends on your preference regarding where and how much to invest. As already discussed, there are both pros and cons to trade in international stocks.

Cons of Investing in Foreign Stocks

There are two sides to every coin. Here are a few critical points to know before you invest in foreign stocks:

1. Be ready for the high charges

While investing in international stocks, you’ll be transacting in foreign currencies. For example, if you are trading in the US stock market, you have to pay the brokerages in the US dollar.

And hence, the stock brokerages may be a little higher compared to the charges in the Indian stock market. Similarly, the annual/monthly maintenance charges may also be higher compared to domestic accounts.

2. Profits are subjected to the currency exchange rate

When you invest in foreign stocks, there’s always currency risk involved. Let us understand this with the help of an example.

Let’s assume that you are investing in the US stock market. When you bought the US stock, the currency exchange rate was $1= Rs 68. However, next year- when you sold the US stock, let say the Indian currency got stronger, and the currency exchange rate becomes $1 = Rs 62.

In such a case, you have already lost 8.8% due to the change in the exchange rate. That’s why when you invest in foreign stocks, profits are always subjected to the currency exchange rate.

3. Up to $250,000 can be invested overseas by the Indian residents

As per the RBI notification in the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS), an Indian resident individual can only invest up to $250,000 overseas per year. With the current exchange rate of ($1= Rs 68), this amount turns out to be over 1.7 Crores. Anyways, if you have a family of four, you can invest 4 x $250,000 = $ 1 Million. That’s enough money to invest, right?

Quick Note: Besides the above factors, you also need to keep in mind the foreign stock risks. As these stocks will be listed on foreign stock exchanges – the environment and the factors (like local government policies, local trends, etc) will affect the share price of those companies.

How to invest in foreign stocks?

Now that you have learned the basic concept of investing in the international stock exchanges, here are three simple ways to invest in foreign stocks—

1. An account with Indian Brokers having a tie-up with a foreign broker

Many full-service Indian brokers like ICICI Direct, HDFC Securities, Kotak Sec, Axis Securities, Reliance money, etc has a tie-up with the foreign brokers. They have made it very simple to open your overseas trading account with their partner (foreign) brokers. You can invest in foreign stocks using these full-service brokers. 

For example, if you have an account with ICICI direct, you can invest in global markets using their broker partner Interactive Brokers LLC.

ICICI direct - invest in foreign stocks from India

(Source: ICICI Direct)

2. Open an account with the foreign brokers

A few international brokerage firms like Interactive BrokersTD AmeritradeCharles Schwab International Account, etc permit Indian citizens to set up an account and trade in US stocks, mutual funds, etc.

In fact, US-based brokerage like ‘Interactive brokers’ also has an office in India where you can visit, get your queries answered, and open your overseas trading account.

3. Investing in Foreign stocks through new startups Apps

In the past few years, many new starts have been launched in India and abroad that helps Indians to invest in foreign stocks. For example, GROWW, Vested Finance, Webull app, etc help Indians to invest in US stocks.

groww us stock investments

Startups like Vested Finance are a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered investment advisor. Similarly, you can also invest in foreign stocks using the Webull app, another popular startup company that is also committed to building the best investing and trading experience for India and Global stock markets.

Extra: Buying Indian MF/ETFs with global equities

There are a number of mutual funds/ETFs that invest in international markets (global market, emerging market, etc). You can invest in those mutual funds/ETFs to indirectly invest in foreign equities. 

This is the easiest approach to invest in foreign stocks. An advantage of investing through mutual funds is that you won’t need to open any overseas trading account. Further, you won’t also require to invest a hefty amount.

Compared to direct investing in foreign stocks (where you might be asked to maintain a minimum of $10,000 deposit), investing in mutual funds/ETFs are cheap.

For example, Motilal Oswal recently started its subscription for its Motilal Oswal S&P 500 Index Fund. It is an open-ended scheme replicating the S&P 500 Index, which consists of leading 500 companies listed in the US. A few of the popular of popular mutual funds that trade in global equities are—

(Source: Moneycontrol)

Quick Note: Many other Indian stockbrokers are also planning to offer their clients a facility to invest in the US and foreign stocks. For example, Zerodha is planning to offer option to invest in US stocks with no minimum investment.

However, these features are yet to be launched. Nevertheless, these stockbrokers internally working on these features is a good sign for the Indian retail investors who are enthusiastic about investing in foreign companies.

FAQs on Investing in Foreign Stocks from India

1) Can I invest in foreign stocks from India?

Yes, you can invest in foreign stocks from India. Global companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Tesla, etc are listed on the US/ foreign stock exchanges and Indians can legally buy foreign stocks. 

According to the RBI’s Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS) guidelines, an Indian resident can annually send up to USD $250,000 abroad without seeking approval from the RBI. The LRS has made it easier for Indian residents to make investments in other countries.

2) What is the easiest way to invest in foreign stock?

You can invest in foreign stocks from India by opening an account with Indian brokers that allow investment in foreign stock or might have a tie-up with the foreign brokers. Else, you can directly open an account with foreign stockbrokers like Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade, Webull, Charles Schwab International Account, etc, and start investing in international stocks.

Another easy way to invest in foreign stocks is through the mutual fund’s route where investors can buy Indian mutual funds or ETFs with global equity holdings. 

3) Can I own foreign stocks?

Yes, you can own foreign stocks. Instituted by the RBI, the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS) is a set of policies that governs the maximum amount and purposes of remittance. Under the LRS, an Indian resident can annually send up to USD $250,000 abroad. In short, you can invest in international companies and own foreign stocks.

4) How can I invest in Nasdaq from India?

Nasdaq is an American Stock Exchange based in New York. Indians can invest in companies listed on Nasdaq from India. Nasdaq” also refers to the Nasdaq Composite, an index of more than 3,000 stocks listed on the Nasdaq Exchange that includes Apple, Google, Microsoft, Meta (formerly Facebook), Amazon, and Intel, and more. India investors can invest in Nasdaq from India.

5) Can you buy stocks listed in other countries?

Yes, you can buy stocks listed in other countries like the United States, South Korea, Australia, Japan, Europe, etc. There are thousands of stocks listed in other countries’ stock exchanges like Nasdaq, Tokyo stock exchange, Korea Exchange, Euronext, and more. Indian investors can buy stocks listed in other countries’ stock exchanges.

6) How to invest in international stocks from India?

You can invest in international stocks from India by opening an account with Indian brokers that allow investment in foreign stock or might have a tie-up with the foreign brokers, directly opening an account with foreign stockbrokers or through a global mutual funds route.

7) What are Foreign stock brokers in India?

A few top international brokerage firms that permit Indian citizens to set up an account and trade in US stocks are Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab International Account, Webull, etc. In addition, many Indian stockbrokers have a tie-up with foreign brokers to facilitate international investments like ICICI Direct, Kotak Securities, etc.

8) What is the taxation rate on foreign stocks?

While investing in foreign stocks, Long term capital gains arising from the sale of foreign stocks attract tax at the rate of 20% plus surcharge and health and education cess along with the benefit of indexation. On the other hand, Short-term capital gains arising from the sale of foreign shares are taxed at the slab rate applicable to taxpayers.

10) Can I do intraday trading for foreign stocks?

Several brokers and startup apps offer investment in foreign stocks from India. However, an intraday trading facility in most foreign stocks is not available due to regulatory requirements.  To carry out your intraday trading, you will need an overseas trading account.

Closing Thoughts

In this article, we discussed three easy ways to invest in foreign stocks from India, along with the fourth way of mutual funds route. We also covered the advantages and disadvantages of investing in foreign stocks.

Investing in the foreign market will help you widen your investment horizon. Here, you can invest without boundaries in your favorite companies. Moreover, in the era of the internet- it’s not much difficult to invest in the international market.

The most significant advantage is that it helps in diversifying your portfolio. However, the obstacles are higher expense charges and currency exchange rates.

That’s all for this article on different ways to invest in foreign stocks. Let us know what you think about investing in international stocks in the comment section below. Further, if you’ve got any questions on this topic, feel free to mention them below. Have a great day and Happy investing.

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