Guide on export procedure and documentation

With the right information, exporting your products can be an easy and seamless process. Here is a detailed guide to get you started with your export procedures and documentation steps to sell internationally.
export procedure and documentation
Did you know that India’s total merchandise exports growth in 2021-22 was at $418bn1? To promote exports from India, the government has taken various initiatives that simplify the process of exports including paperless transactions and hassle-free license approvals. It has also set up many export promotion councils and provides financial aids through incentives and schemes to enhance exports of India. For an entrepreneur who intends to start an export business, it is important to understand the process, regulations and documentation required.

Governing authorities involved in exports

In order to streamline varied processes in each step of exports, the government has established trade bodies and regulatory departments. Some of the key institutions and authorities involved in exports are:
Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is the principal governing body that formulates and regulates import-export policies in the country. It also issues IEC and other certificates to exporters.
Federation Of Import Export Organization (FIEO) is the apex body that governs all Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) set up for different categories of export products and services.
Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) is a part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, which regulates policies regarding customs, excise duties, Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST). The Indian Customs Electronic Gateway (ICEGATE) is the national portal of the CBIC.
Export Inspection Council is a government body that tests and certifies export products. It also encourages Indian manufacturers and exporters to implement the best quality management systems to produce quality products according to international standards.
Along with these key authorities, there are various departments under Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Ministry of Finance that regulate various aspects of India’s import and export trade.

What is the export procedure from India?

Starting an export business can now be done with ease, thanks to the growing internet penetration and technology adoption not just by MSMEs and exporters but also by international customers and importers. Depending on the origin and destination country, product category, mode of sale and shipping, the process of exporting might differ. However, there are a few key steps that are common for an MSME exporting from India. From obtaining documents to shipping and tax, here are a few key steps in the export procedure from India:

1. Decide what and where to export

The first step in export procedure is to understand international markets and the products in demand across the world. This will help you decide what is the right marketplace for your export business from India. As per the Export Import (EXIM) Policy, DGFT categorizes products into four categories2:
Products under this category can be exported without requiring any additional permission from DGFT, if the product is booked under ITC(HS) and abides by the laws of the importing country as well. For instance, books, apparel and spices.


Before exporting any restricted goods, exporter must obtain permission from the concerned authorities. There are a set of export procedures and conditions that must be followed to sell these products internationally. For instance, sandalwood, drugs and medicines.

The products under this category cannot be exported under any condition. For instance, animals and birds.

2. Register your business

To start an export business, set up a sole proprietary concern, partnership firm or a registered company, as per the standard export procedures. You can receive support from third-party experts – Service Provider Network (SPN).

3. Open bank account and PAN

A current account authorized to receive foreign payments must be opened with a bank. Along with this, apply for a PAN card (in the name of exporter/business) from the Income Tax Department.

4. Obtain IEC

It is mandatory for Indian export businesses to have an IEC (Import Export Code) to export from India. IEC is issued by DGFT via its official website.

5. Avail Registration Cum Membership Certificate (RCMC)

Depending on the product you are exporting, apply for RCMC from the respective Export Promotion Council to get benefits under FTP and avail assistance and guidance from the government.

6. Obtain licenses and documents

Depending on the destination country and product category, it is mandatory to obtain necessary licenses and documents.

7. Obtain shipping documents

Depending on the shipping mode, a few documents need to be filed. Commercial Invoice, Bill of Lading, Packing List and Shipper’s Letter of Instruction are some of the mandatory documents required.

Easy e-commerce exports with Amazon
Global Selling

As an e-commerce exports program, Amazon Global Selling enables Indian exporters and MSMEs to take their products from India to international marketplaces across 200+ countries and territories in a seamless and easy manner. Without having to set up a physical store or warehouse abroad, Amazon’s simple registration process and hassle-free logistic support helps you reach global customers. Here’s the export procedure to sell via e-commerce:

Register your business

First, you must register your export business with Amazon Global Selling. You don’t have to be an existing Amazon India seller. The registration can be done online on Seller Central. All you’ll need are KYC documents and PAN. Amazon conducts live webinars to help you understand the opportunities of e-commerce exports and how to register with Amazon Global Selling.
Amazon seller registration

List your products

Once you have successfully registered to sell globally on Amazon, you can list your products. Remember to follow tips on how to list your products include attractive pictures and descriptions that’s clear to international customers. You can also seek help from third-party service providers.
How to list your products on Amazon

Ship and receive payments

Once a customer places an order, you can choose to deliver by yourself or you can opt for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Under FBA, Amazon takes care of shipping, delivery, returns and customer concerns. You can also use Amazon SEND to ship your products from India to Amazon fulfillment centers in the US.
Amazon FBA

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SBLC in banking?
SBLC stands for Stand by Letter of Credit. Similar to Letter of Credit, SBLC guarantees to pay the seller the due or complete amount when the buyer defaults on the agreement. But, in “standby” LOC, the bank will pay only in a worst-case scenario. For example, if the shipment gets delayed, then the bank will not immediately pay the seller3.
What is BRC in export?
BRC is a Bank Realization Certificate issued by the banks as a receipt of the payment against export by the exporter. FTP allows various benefits to the BRC holders4.
What are the export documents required to sell internationally?
To export from India, Indian sellers have to obtain certain export documents and comply with regulations. Export documents and compliance depends on the product category, origin (India) and destination country. To make your export journey easy, Amazon supports you by providing guidance on the key requirements and regulations, and connects you with experts who will assist you in obtaining your documentation through the Exports Compliance Dashboard.
Published on May 25, 2022.

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*Map not to scale. The map has been used for design and representational purpose only, it does not depict the geographical boundaries of the country. These do not conform to the external boundaries of India recognized by the Survey of India.

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