What is Importer Exporter Code (IEC)?

The “Importer-Exporter Code”, also called an IEC, is a unique 10 digit alpha-numeric number that is also known and recognized as the “Import Export License”.

The IEC is equal to a Permanent Account Number, also called as “PAN”, and is then allotted separately by the DGFT based on the application received. This 10 digits alpha-numeric number a.k.a., Importer-Exporter Code is compulsory for any kind of startup of import and export business/trading that happens on a global or International level. If you don’t hold it, it is not possible to get started with any kind of trading with the neighboring countries or anybody outside India. Simply put, it works as a license for International Trading.

So, the first and foremost prerequisite for starting an import/ export business in India is to obtain an IEC.

IEC is not mandatory for the following circumstances:

  1. Import/export of goods that happens for personal use, which is not associated with trade, manufacture or agriculture.
  2. Import/export that is conducted by government ministries and departments, and some notified charitable organizations.

Documents Required for Getting the IEC Code in India

Documents for IEC Code in case of Proprietorship Firm

  1. Passport size photograph of the applicant.
  2. Copy of Permanent Account Number PAN Card (personal)
  3. ID proof (passport / voter id / driving license / Aadhar card)
  4. Bank certificate OR cancelled cheque that has the printed name of applicant and bank a/c number.

Documents for IEC Code in case of Partnership Firm

  1. Passport size Photograph of Managing Partner.
  2. PAN card copy of partnership firm.
  3. ID proof (passport / voter id / driving license / Aadhar card / PAN of managing partner whose signature is on the application.
  4. Bank certificate OR cancelled cheque that has the printed name of Applicant Firm and bank’s a/c number.

Documents for IEC Code in case of LLP or Company (both Pvt. Ltd & Limited)

  1. Photograph of Partner or Director who is signing the IEC application form
  2. PAN card copy of applicant LLP or company
  3. ID proof (passport / voter id / driving license / Aadhar card / PAN of partner or director whose signature is on application)
  4. Certificate of incorporation
  5. List of directors
  6. Bank certificate OR cancelled cheque that has the printed name of Company and bank a/c number.

Documents for IEC Code in case of Registered Society/Trust

  1. Digital Photograph
  2. Copy of PAN card of the applicant entity.
  3. ID proof (Copy of Passport/Voter’s I-Card /UID (Aadhar Card)/Driving License/ PAN (any one of these)
  4. Secretary or Chief Executive/Managing Trustee signing the application.
  5. Address proof (sale deed for self-owned; or rental / lease agreement + electricity bill or telephone bill)
  6. Registration Certificate of the Society / Copy of the Trust Deed
  7. Bank certificate OR cancelled cheque that has the printed name of Registered Society or Trust and A/C No.

Note: All the submitted copies need to be self-attested/ certified apart from the photograph on the bank certificate that needs to be attested by the banker of the applicant.

Procedure for Obtaining Importer Exporter Code

In order to get the IEC, an application need to be sent in the Aayaat Niryaat Form 2A (ANF 2A) format, along with the necessary documents. An application fees of Rs. 500/- needs to be sent to the Regional Authority of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in the region where the registered office of the company is situated. If you submit the Application to wrong DGFT Branch Office, then your IEC Application would be rejected.

At first, the applications used to get tendered physically with the Regional Director General of Foreign Trade Office. But after the vide Policy Circular No. 10 (RE-2010)/ 2009-14 DATED 31ST December, 2010, was issued, the new feature of Online Application for IEC Code has been introduced for the convenience of the applicants w.e.f. 01.01.2011 at the DGFT website (http:/ /dgft.gov.in) in order to decrease the Transaction cost and time for the application. Remember that right now, there is no offline procedure for applying for the IEC Code and the process has been compulsorily made online.

  1. For obtaining the IEC Code Online, you need to visit the DGFT website: http://dgft.gov.in
  2. Click on the “IEC Online Application” option.
  3. You would then need to enter a valid PAN, after filling in details such as PAN number. Then, press enter and you would be directed to the IEC Main Menu.
  4. For creating a new IEC Application, click on “Create” option from the “File” menu. The system will produce and show a new “ECOM Reference No.
  5. After clicking on the “OK” button, you would then be forwarded to the “IEC Master” Screen for updating your details.
  6. Once the form is filled completely, upload the required documents and proceed towards the payment section.
  7. Click on the EFT button for making the online payment of the fee.
  8. Fill up the IEC Fee amount in Indian Rupees (RS- 500). Once the bank is selected and the amount is filled up, click on the OK button and submit it.
  9. After the payment gets done, the bank will generate a BID number that can be used for future reference.
  10. Click on the Close button. You will see a status message on the screen confirming whether the transaction was successful or not.
  11. Once you submit all the documents, they would be verified once again with the help of your digital signature: a digital code that gets generated and authenticated by a public key encryption, which is attached to an electronically transmitted document for the verification of the present contents in the documents and the applicant’s/ sender’s identity. After the successful completion of the verification, the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Ministry of Commerce, and Government of India then issue the Importer Exporter Code (IEC) against the name of the applicant and his/her firm/ company.

These are all the steps involved in filling up your online IEC application form and getting the 10-digit code from DGFT.

Note: Against every PAN Card, only one IEC number is issued.

How Many Days Does it Take to Get the Import-Export License?

The dispensation of IEC applications is usually completed in around two working days, which simply means that you can obtain it in 3 days or in a week’s time at most.

Cost of Getting the IEC Code

Government Fees for Application: Rs. 500

Professional Fees for Code: Ranges between Rs. 2000 – 2500

So, get done with your Registration today and obtain the unique 10 digits Importer-Exporter Code (IEC) number for starting your own International trading venture.

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