The business once expanded in the Indian Market needs to step into international market to churn out more financial benefits from the business. Today, thousands of businesses in every country wholly or partially depend on the export of goods to cater their financial needs and rewards. Similarly, import of goods is at par for business interests of trade or usage of such goods as input for further procedure. Centralised database of these business entities engaged in import or export is required to administer the operations and transactions. Hence, the business entities engaged into import or export of goods requires registering themselves under Central Government Authority Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). DGFT provides for import export code registration through its online portal


What is Importer – Exporter Code?

Importer – Exporter Code, commonly referred as IEC is a unique code of 10 digits granted by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade to the applicants for their businesses of import or export from India. No business entity can import or export goods unless IEC is issued. The registration acts as certificate to transport the goods bring goods within India or outside the boundaries of India.

The need of importer – exporter code lies in prevention from transportation of illegal goods and regulation of all transactions undertaken interstate. Further, registered entities can also avail certain benefits declared by Customs, Export Promotion Council or other authorities.

Application for IEC:

Application to issue IEC is required to be made to by an entity to indulge into activities of import or export of goods for purpose related or connected to the business. However, the need of IEC does not arise in following circumstances:

1. When goods are imported or exported for the personal use and will not be used for any business or related purpose; or

2. Import or export by government ministries and departments, and certain notified charitable organizations.

Procedure to obtain IEC:

Procedure for import export code registration is made online. The application shall be made to regional office of DGFT nearest to the head office or registered office of the entity. In case of more than one offices or having branch office, a separate application for registration of branch offices is not required. Only the address of branch office(s) will be added in the original application to registrationas only one IE code will be granted against one Permanent Account Number. Where the proprietor carries on business under more than one name or different businesses, details of other business will be considered as branch for this purpose.

Steps of application:

1. Procurement of Digital Signature Certificate is mandatory to make an online application for import export code registration.

2. An online application shall be made on portal allotted to grant the IE Code, which shall accompany the prescribed documents (listed at later part).

3. On receipt of application, the competent officer will review and verify the application along with documents provided.

4. Where the officer does not find the application or documents satisfactory, he may ask the applicant to further clarify the facts or to furnish additional documents.

5. If the officer if satisfied with the application and facts disclosed, he shall issue the certificate indicating the Importer – Exporter Code of granted.

The procedure takes nearly 10 days to be completed including 7 to 8 days on department’s end for review.

List of Documents:

To make sure about the issuance of IE Code, applicant shall ensure following documents to accompany with an application of import export code registration on online portal:

Sr. No. Particulars Documents required
1 Proof of identity  


a) In case of proprietary firm
  • Self-attested copy of PAN Card
  • No. of IEC’s held ,along with their details
b) In case of partnership firm
  • Notarized partnership deed showing Date of its formation
  • No objection certificate from other partners/HUF
  • Self-attested copy of PAN
c) In case of Companies
  • Extract of Board of Resolution
  • MOA with form 32 and details of present directors, in case of change in Directors
  • Self-attested copy of Incorporation Certificate
  • Self-attested copy of PAN
2 Proof of address
  • Property Tax Paid Receipt
  • Electricity Bill
  • Shop Act License
  • Index II (in case of self-owned )
  • Rent agreement (in case of rented premises)
3 Proof of Business Self-attested copy of Shop Act License
4 Photographs 2 Photographs of the applicant
5 Bank Details
  • Bank certificate on the Bank letter head as per the Proforma or cancelled cheque

The officer may ask for submission of additional documents, if required on review of online application of import export code registration.

Post Registration aspects:

On grant of importer – exporter code, the applicant can now undertake transactions that include movement of goods across international boundaries of countries from customs port of India by disclosing the 10 digit code granted. The registered person shall make all the international transactions only by mentioning this code granted.

The Importer – Exporter Code once granted is permanently valid. The registrants usually bother for compliance part after issuance of IEC, however, no compliance or return filing is required after allotment of the IEC code.

Goods and Service Tax Act requires separation registration in of the exporters or the entities. The fact of export business is to be disclosed in the registration application made. In addition to this, GST returns are also required to be filed by the exporters disclosing all necessary information regarding the import or export of goods or services. GST Law provides specific category of provisions including deemed import or deemed export.

Surrender of the code granted is also possible in specified circumstances including closure of whole business or cessation of transactions involving international market. A specific application is to be made in this regards by furnishing the grounds of application along with furnishing documents required.


The need of international trade no more requires the reasoning as far as it is concerned with businesses in India. Stepping into import export business from India requires something more than this registration and compliances. The expansion of horizon even outside boundaries of India requires the firm commitment from the promoters and owners of the business. However, to conclude with, the registration under Import Export code is sometimes a tedious task for business owners due to technical issues or need of guidance. Here, the role of practitioners or experts is made important to make your business free from procedural hassles and let you concern about the important matters of the business. You may reach us at our toll – free number 1800 313 4151 or drop an e-mail at to make an import export code registration online at affordable prices with free consultation.


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Qualification: MBA
Company: Private Limited
Location: Ahmedabad, Gujarat, IN
Member Since: 13 Dec 2017 | Total Posts: 4
Shrijay is a co-founder at a leading LegaTech start-up, providing simple and affordable solutions to startups, SMEs and individuals. helps in Trademark Registration, Starting a Private Limited Company and LLP, Legal Compliances, and Document Drafting. View Full Profile

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