How to Invest in US Stocks from India

by Alina Khan

Published On May 1, 2024

In this article

Investing in US stocks from India has become increasingly popular among Indian investors seeking to diversify their portfolios and tap into the world's largest equity market. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of how to invest in US stocks from India, detailing the processes, platforms, and regulatory considerations involved.

The US stock market offers exposure to global giants and technology leaders, presenting opportunities for significant returns. Indian investors can participate through various channels, including direct investments via international brokerage accounts or indirect routes like mutual funds and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) that focus on US equities. As of recent regulatory updates, the Reserve Bank of India allows Indian residents to invest up to $250,000 per annum in overseas markets under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS).

This article aims to simplify the complexities associated with these investments, providing step-by-step guidance on setting up an account, choosing the right investment vehicle, understanding tax implications, and more. Whether you're a seasoned investor or new to the stock market, learning how to invest in US stocks from India will expand your investing horizon and potentially enhance your investment returns.

What Are US Stocks?

US stocks refer to shares of companies that are listed on stock exchanges in the United States, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ. These stocks represent ownership in some of the world’s largest and most influential companies across a wide range of industries. Investing in US stocks from India has become an appealing option for Indian investors looking to diversify their portfolios beyond local markets.

The allure of US stock investment from India lies in the potential for high returns, particularly from sectors such as technology, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods, which have global reach and strong growth prospects. Additionally, trading in US stocks from India provides exposure to currency movements, as gains may be amplified by a strengthening US dollar against the Indian rupee.

For Indian residents interested in how to invest in US stocks from India, there are multiple avenues available. Investors can directly purchase stocks using international brokerage accounts or indirectly through mutual funds, ETFs, or derivatives that track US indices or stocks. This accessibility makes US stock investment from India a viable component of an internationally diversified investment strategy.

How to Invest in the US Stock Market from India?

Investing in the US stock market from India offers two primary pathways: direct and indirect investments. Each method provides unique opportunities and considerations for Indian investors looking to access US equities.

Direct Investment Options:

  1. Global Trading Account with a Domestic Agent:

Many Indian brokers have partnerships with US stockbrokers, allowing you to open an international trading account through them. This setup requires submitting various documents and may come with certain restrictions regarding investment choices and the number of allowable trades. Before opting for this method, it's essential to understand all related fees, including brokerage charges and exchange rate implications.

  1. Overseas Trading Account with a Foreign Broker:

Alternatively, you can open a trading account directly with an international broker that operates in India. This option necessitates thorough research to understand the broker's fees and terms to ensure they align with your investment strategy when you invest in US stocks from India.

Indirect Investment Options:

  1. Mutual Funds:

International mutual fund programs offer an indirect route to invest in US stocks. These funds often track US market indices, providing a diversified investment option without the need to directly engage in trading in US stocks from India.

  1. Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs):

ETFs are traded on stock exchanges much like individual stocks and can be bought and sold throughout the trading hours. If you have a Demat account with any brokerage, you can invest in ETFs that track major US indices. This can be done through both domestic and international brokers, or via Indian ETFs that mirror global indices.

  1. Investment Apps:

Several mobile applications have been developed to facilitate investment in the US stock market from India. These apps vary in features and regulations; for instance, some may not support intraday trading in the US market. It’s important to review these apps to find the best fit for your investment needs.

Understanding these options will help you navigate the process of how to invest in the US stock market from India, whether you are looking at direct methods of US stock investment from India or prefer the indirect approach through mutual funds and ETFs.

Advantages of Investing in US Stocks

Investing in US stocks offers several compelling advantages for Indian investors, making it an attractive option for those looking to diversify their portfolios and capitalize on global opportunities.

1. Lower Volatility:

Historically, US stock market indices have exhibited lower volatility compared to Indian stock market indices. This relative stability can be attractive to investors seeking to mitigate risk while pursuing growth in international markets.

2. Access to Global Corporations:

The US is home to many of the world's mega-corporations, particularly in technology, finance, and pharmaceuticals. Investing in US stocks allows Indian investors to gain exposure to these global leaders, providing a more diversified investment avenue than is typically available through domestic markets alone.

3. Superior Performance:

Over the past decade, the US stock market has consistently outperformed the Indian stock market in dollar terms. This trend underscores the potential for higher returns, which can be particularly appealing for those looking to invest in US stocks from India.

4. Innovation Hub:

With the US being a central hub for global innovation, investors have the opportunity to invest in promising companies during their early stages. This can lead to significant gains if these companies become successful, making US stock investment from India an exciting prospect for growth-oriented investors.

Investors can take advantage of these benefits, which include not only potential financial returns but also enhanced portfolio diversification and exposure to leading-edge technologies and business models. This makes trading in US stocks from India an increasingly popular and strategic move for many Indian investors.

Step by Step Guide to steps to Invest in US stocks

Investing in US stocks from India has become more accessible with multiple avenues for Indian investors to explore. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to invest in US stocks from India, including a new and emerging platform:

1. Choose the Investment Platform:

  • International Mutual Funds: Invest in US stocks indirectly by purchasing units of international mutual funds available through domestic brokers.

  • US-Registered Broker: Directly invest in US stocks by opening an account with a US-registered broker.

  • NSE IFSC Exchange: A newer option available since March 3, 2022, is investing through the NSE IFSC Exchange located in GIFT City, Gujarat, where Indian retail investors can directly trade in US stocks.

2. Opening a Demat and Trading Account:

  • For trading on the NSE IFSC Exchange, your regular domestic Demat account will not suffice. You need to open a special Demat and trading account with a broker registered with the IFSC. Contact your existing broker or find a new one affiliated with the NSE IFSC to understand the specific requirements.

3. Funding Your Account:

  • Transfer funds from your Indian bank account to the broker’s IFSC-registered account. Since transactions on the NSE IFSC are carried out in US dollars, currency conversion is required. Make sure you are aware of the exchange rates and transaction fees involved.

4. Start Trading:

  • Once your funds are in place and your account is set up, you can start trading in US stocks. As of now, you can trade stocks like Microsoft, Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Alphabet (Google), Meta Platforms (Facebook), and Tesla on the NSE IFSC Exchange. The list is expected to expand to 50 US stocks eventually. Trading hours on the NSE IFSC are aligned with those of the NYSE, which are from 2:30 PM to 8:00 PM IST.

5. Monitor and Manage Your Investments:

  • Regular monitoring and management of your investments are crucial. Keep track of performance, dividends, and other corporate actions. Adjust your portfolio as needed based on performance and changing market conditions.

What to Know Before Investing in US Stocks from India

It's crucial to consider several important factors that can influence the success and efficiency of your investment strategy. Understanding these elements can help you make informed decisions and optimize your US stock investment from India.

1. Open an Overseas Trading Account:

If you possess the time and expertise to analyze the US market and economy, consider opening an overseas trading account. This allows direct investment and offers greater control over your investment choices.

2. Understand the Associated Costs:

International investing incurs higher charges compared to domestic investments, including account maintenance fees, brokerage charges, and currency conversion fees. It’s essential to understand all these costs thoroughly, as they can significantly impact the net returns from your investments.

3. Choose Investing Over Trading:

Investing in US stocks is generally more cost-efficient than trading, especially for those based in India. Trading often involves frequent buying and selling, which can lead to higher transaction costs, diminishing the marginal profits. Long-term investing, on the other hand, allows the potential for substantial returns even after accounting for the charges.

4. Be Aware of Tax Implications:

Familiarize yourself with the tax regulations applicable in both the US and India. Understanding the tax obligations in both jurisdictions is vital to avoid any legal complications and to plan your investments in a tax-efficient manner.

5. Start with Small Investments:

Begin with smaller investments as you familiarize yourself with the intricacies of the US stock market. This cautious approach helps mitigate risk as you learn more about market dynamics and gain confidence in making more substantial investments.

Whether you’re investing directly or trading in US stocks from India, these considerations will ensure you are well-prepared to take advantage of opportunities in the US markets.

Tax Implications and Legal Considerations to Trade in US Market from India

When planning to invest in or trade in US stocks from India, understanding the tax implications and legal considerations is crucial. These not only affect the potential returns but also ensure compliance with the laws of both countries.

1. Reserve Bank of India Guidelines:

Under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS), the RBI allows Indian residents to invest up to $250,000 (approximately ₹1.9 crore) per year in foreign markets, including the US, without requiring special permissions. This cap is critical for planning how much you can invest annually.

2. Tax Collected at Source (TCS):

A 5% TCS is applied to all foreign remittances exceeding ₹7 lakh under the LRS. This tax is only applicable to the amount exceeding ₹7 lakh and can be claimed back as a credit when filing your income tax return in India.

3. Capital Gains and Dividend Tax:

  • Dividends: Dividends received from US stocks are taxed at 25% in the US for Indian residents. Thanks to the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and the US, investors can claim a credit for this tax when filing returns in India to avoid double taxation.

  • Capital Gains: While the US does not tax Indian investors on capital gains from US stocks, these gains are taxable in India. The tax rate depends on whether the gains are short-term or long-term.

4. Banking and Brokerage Charges:

  • Bank Charges: When transferring money to invest in US stocks, banks may charge foreign exchange conversion fees and transfer fees. Additionally, there might be a one-time account setup charge.

  • Brokerage Fees: Brokerages usually charge a fee for buying and selling shares. It’s important to compare these fees as part of your decision on which broker to use.

5. Foreign Exchange Rate Impact:

The rate of currency conversion can significantly affect the investment cost and the number of units of stock purchased. It’s vital to monitor the exchange rate at the time of each transaction to understand the financial impact.

Understanding these tax implications and legal requirements is essential for anyone looking to invest in US stocks from India. This would ensure that you manage your investments efficiently and in compliance with the regulatory frameworks of both countries, maximizing your potential returns and minimizing legal risks.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, investing in US stocks from India is an attractive proposition for diversifying portfolios and accessing the world's largest equity market. Whether you choose to invest directly through a trading account with a US broker or indirectly via mutual funds and ETFs, understanding the process and the regulatory framework is crucial. By familiarizing yourself with the RBI 's guidelines under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme, being aware of the tax implications both in the US and India, and calculating the costs associated with various charges and exchange rates, you can effectively plan and execute your investment strategy.

Moreover, the benefits of trading in US stocks from India include access to a broader range of investment opportunities and exposure to global economic growth. However, it's essential to approach this with a clear understanding of the risks involved and a well-thought-out investment plan tailored to your financial goals and risk tolerance.

Armed with the right knowledge and tools, Indian investors can confidently navigate the complexities of US stock investment, making informed decisions that align with their long-term financial objectives. Whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting out, the opportunities to invest in US stocks from India have never been more accessible, offering a gateway to potentially rewarding investment outcomes.


  1. How do I start investing in US stocks from India?

To start investing in US stocks from India, open a trading account with a domestic broker that offers international trading or with a US-based broker. Ensure you comply with the RBI's Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS), which allows investment up to $250,000 per year.

  1. What are the legal requirements for investing in US stocks from India?

The primary legal requirement is adhering to the RBI's LRS, which caps annual investments at $250,000 per individual. Additionally, investors must ensure compliance with tax obligations in both the US and India, taking advantage of the DTAA to avoid double taxation.

  1. What are some tips for investing in US stocks from India?

    1. Start with well-known large-cap stocks or ETFs to gain exposure.

    2. Consider the tax implications in both the US and India.

    3. Use a reliable and regulated brokerage platform.

    4. Monitor currency exchange rates as they can affect investment returns.

    5. Start small and increase your investment as you gain more understanding of the US market.

  1. What are the risks involved in investing in US stocks from India?

Risks include currency risk due to fluctuations in the exchange rate, geopolitical risks affecting market stability, and economic differences between the US and India that may impact investment returns. Additionally, investors face market risk inherent to stock investing, particularly in volatile sectors.

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