import export code (IEC)

The Import Export Code, abbreviated as IEC, is one of the key conditions for firms engaged in the import or export of products and services in India. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) issued this code, which serves as an identity number for all importers and exporters. We will delve into the complexities of IEC, including its significance, the application process, required paperwork, perks, and commonly asked questions, in this detailed article.

What is Import Export Code (IEC) and When is it Required?

The IEC, or Import-Export Code, is a unique 10-digit alphanumeric code that is required for enterprises interested in import/ export business activities. It is required in numerous scenarios, including:

Importing or exporting goods and services

Any person or company importing or exporting goods and services from India must have a valid IEC.

Claiming benefits or exemptions

An IEC is required to obtain benefits, exemptions, or concessions under several government initiatives.

Customs clearance

Customs agencies require IEC while clearing items through customs.

Opening a foreign bank account

An IEC is frequently necessary to facilitate international transactions and engage with foreign banks.

Steps for Import Export Code Registration

The procedure for obtaining an IEC is straightforward:

  1. Visit the DGFT website: Go to the official website of the DGFT (
  2. Access the IEC online application form: Select “Online IEC Application” from the “IEC” page.
  3. Complete the application form: Fill out the online application form with precise information about your firm, such as PAN, proprietor/partner/director data, bank details, and so on.
  4. Submit the application: Pay the application fee and send it in.
  5. IEC issuance: Following verification, DGFT will electronically issue your IEC, which will be forwarded to your registered email account.

Required Documents for IEC Registration

You will need the following documents to apply for an IEC:

  1. PAN card
  2. Aadhar card or Passport
  3. Bank certificate or canceled cheque
  4. Digital signature certificate (DSC)
  5. Photograph of the applicant
  6. Address proof of the business

Benefits of Import Export Code (IEC) Registration

Obtaining an IEC provides various benefits, including:

  1. Global market access: Businesses can participate in international trade and expand their market reach thanks to IEC.
  2. Acquiring government assistance: IEC is required to be eligible for many government incentives, programmes, and subsidies.
  3. Building credibility: It increases your company’s reputation in the eyes of overseas clients and financial institutions.
  4. Efficient customs clearance: Customs clearance procedures are simplified by IEC, making it easier to import and export goods.
  5. Easy remittance: IEC makes remittances and international transactions simple.

Cases in Which IEC is Not Required

Although IEC is normally required for importers and exporters, there are several exceptions. It is not necessary for:

Import or export of goods for personal use

An IEC may not be required if the products are for personal use only and not for commercial purposes.

Selected exempted categories

Certain importers and exporters are free from IEC restrictions. For further information, see the DGFT website.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is IEC mandatory?

Yes, IEC is required for all individuals and firms in India who engage in import and export activity.

How long does it take to obtain the IEC code?

After completing a complete application, it usually takes 1-2 working days to acquire the IEC code.

Can individuals obtain IEC?

Individuals and businesses can both receive an IEC.

How can I print my IEC certificate?

After receiving your IEC electronically, you can access the DGFT website and download and print your certificate.

What is the validity of an IEC certificate?

You have to renew your IEC every year. 

Is it necessary to have a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) to apply for Import Export Code?

Not in all cases. If you are an individual (a proprietor), you do not require a digital signature to apply for IEC. Otherwise, you will need it.

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