IEC is a business identification number issued by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to an importer or exporter. A person cannot import or export unless he is in the possession of an IEC number. Where a person import or export of any service or technology, the IEC number shall be required only when the concerned person is availing the benefits under Foreign Trade Policy.

An IEC number is valid throughout the life. It is a 10-digit number issued by the DGFT. An importer/exporter cannot import/export, unless they are having an IEC number.

Who can obtain an IEC Number?

Any individual, partnership firm, limited liability partnership firm, company, trust, Hindu undivided family, and society can obtain an IEC number from DGFT by filing an application.

Benefits of IEC

  • A holder of IEC can take its products or services to the global market, thus it helps in expansion of business.
  • Various benefits can be availed by the holder of IEC from DGFT, Trade promotion councils and Customs authorities.
  • No Return is required to be filed by an IEC holder.
  • The process of obtaining an IEC is quite easy.
  • Once obtained, no renewal is required.

Updation of IEC

DGFT has made it mandatory for all the IEC holders to update their Importer-Exporter Code (IEC) yearly between April-June. An IEC which is not updated within the prescribed time period will be deactivated by the DGFT.

Endeavor has been made not to increase the compliance burden due to this updation exercise. The process of updation is automated and will take around 5-10 minutes provided all the details mentioned in IEC are correct or 30 minutes otherwise. This updation is free of cost, no fee shall be charged. The main objective of this exercise is to take out the inactive IECs and incorrect details.

IEC not updated within the prescribed time will be deactivated. However, a person that wishes to re-activate their IEC can re-activate it by updating their IEC. Upon updation the IEC will be automatically reactivated.

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