With better access to e-commerce export programs and awareness of international opportunities among sellers, the export trade from India has grown steadily. Whether they have a local business or are exporting offline, many Indian sellers are now keen to opt to sell globally via e-commerce.
The process to start exporting online is easy and simple. To begin with, you have to get an Import Export Code (IEC) - it can be done online without any hassles. In this blog, we’ll tell you more about what is an IEC and how you can register for it.
What is an IEC?
IEC, which stands for Import-Export Code, is a 10-digit business identification number allotted to an importer or exporter by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)
. It is only issued based on the Permanent Account Number (PAN) of a business.
An IEC is the key to carrying out imports and exports of any product or service beyond the national boundaries. An individual can either obtain the IEC in their name or the name of the business. This code also enables the importers and exporters to benefit from the export promotion councils
and the DGFT.
How to apply for an IEC?
IEC can be applied and registered online in a simple six-step process. The documents submitted online enable the government to check the identity of an individual or business seeking registration. Earlier, applications for the IEC were via offline mediums. However, after a recent update in the policies of the DGFT, only online applications are valid, making it easier for sellers.
Here’s a detailed guide to aid in the process of applying and registering for an IEC:
Step 1: Log on to DGFT website
The first step to apply for IEC is to log on to the DGFT website (a government body that handles export duty in India). On reaching the homepage, you can find information about exports including the latest updates and notifications issued by the DGFT.
To register, go to the services tab and click on IEC profile management. In the new page, you'll find details about IEC. Under processes in IEC, click on apply for IEC. A pop-up will appear. You can either login to the DGFT website, if you already have an account or you can register and create a new account.
Step 2: Enter PAN details
Once you have logged in, the screen displayed in front of you will ask for your PAN. Once you enter your PAN details, your ‘mobile number’ and ‘email ID’ will be required. Post that, enter the CAPTCHA code and generate the token.
On successful verification of the code, necessary details will be required.
For an individual, you will be asked:
2. Date of birth
For a business, you will be asked:
1. Business name
2. Date of incorporation
An OTP is a one-time password that helps verify the details and identity of the person. After filling all the details, enter the OTP received on your mobile number and email and click submit. The CBDT PAN server will verify your details.
Step 3: Enter business details
The next page will display an E-COM number that will be used for all future communications regarding your e-IEC application. You are required to enter details regarding your business in this form. It includes date of incorporation, nature of concern, and bank details.
Post this, enter applicant details including date of birth, name, applicant address, PAN, date and place of submission. Next, fill the branch details relating to your business. In case of no branches, this space can be left empty.
Step 4: Enter partner details
In the next step, enter details of director, in case of a business or partner details, in the case of a partnership firm.
Step 5: Upload documents & pay fees
Next, upload necessary documents such as address proof and bank certificate/cancelled cheque. Upload the documents in the format selected, such as PDF or GIF. These documents must be scanned and uploaded.
A payment form will now pop-up on your screen. On entering the required amount and clicking the submit button, several payment portals will be available. Choose the appropriate one and make your payment.
Step 6: Preview & submit application form
After completing all the above steps, you can preview your application form and print it as a record for official purposes. In case you come across any discrepancy, you can go back and make the necessary changes.
After reviewing your application, making the necessary changes, and complying with all the conditions mentioned in the checklist, you can click the submit button.
After this, ANF2A PDF* can be downloaded by the applicant. If you are applying for an IEC online, then you must attach the attested copy of appendix 18B form with 2 passport size photos. Your IEC certificate will be generated by the DGFT within a period of 10 to 15 days after submitting the application.
*ANF2A PDF is a Aayaat Niryaat Form 2A is an application form for New IEC Number & Amendment. Along with the IEC Code Number Application Form, it is necessary to submit.
Need help with IEC?
To export from India, sellers have to obtain IEC and comply with regulations. To make your export journey easy, Amazon supports you by providing guidance on the key requirements and regulations including IEC, and connects you with experts who will assist you in obtaining your documentation through the Exports Compliance dashboard.
What are the benefits of IEC registration?
As mentioned, IEC registration is the primary requirement to start an import export business from India. Along with being mandatory, IEC registration has some credible benefits as follows1:
Expand to the global market
To reach international customers in target marketplaces, IEC acts as a catalyst. This code allows you to sell your products across the globe in a legally justified way without facing any hindrances, making export from India
The import export code for any business can be easily obtained by fulfilling the requirement of submitting the following documents:
- Business Address proof
- Passport size photographs
- Cancelled cheque
- PAN card of the business owner
Obtaining IEC is an online, hassle-free process.
Validity of a lifetime
There is no additional inconvenience of renewing the IEC registration. It is a permanent registration which is valid as long as the business exists unless the registration is cancelled or surrendered.
The benefit of subsidies
If you have your IEC registration done, you can furnish LUT under GST*, without paying the integrated tax. There are more such benefits in the form of subsidies given by the government in such cases.
*LUT is Letter of Undertaking that is submitted by all GST registered goods and service exporters, whereby the exporter declares that they will fulfill all the requirements prescribed under GST while exporting without making IGST payment.
Legal global transactions
Obtaining the IEC makes all your cross border transactions legal and legit. Additionally, having this code marks you as a verified importer/exporter. It reduces the illegal transportation of goods across the borders.
How to start an export business from India?
To seek the benefits of the various schemes laid down by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO
), you must obtain the IEC.
Once you have an IEC, you're closer to your dream of exporting from India. You can take your business to international customers across the globe from the comfort of your home. More than 100,000 sellers have become Amazon global sellers and have established their businesses globally. Wondering how? Amazon Global Selling
has closely assisted these sellers to expand to 200+ countries and territories. Apart from reaching millions of customers, the ease of export business with Amazon is what makes sellers register. From shipping and delivery to managing customer feedback and assistance in advertising, you can use state-of-the-art tools and give your brand a global presence.