What are the types of Tea Board license and how to register?

Every tea export business requires a license from the Tea Board to export from India. In this blog, learn more about each type of license and its registration process and documents required.
Tea board license
In India, tea is one of the most popular beverages, and the country is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of tea. To regulate cultivation, processing, and export of tea from India, the Tea Board of India was established in 1953. One of the primary functions of the Tea Board is to issue licenses to tea manufacturers and exporters. The Tea Board of India license is mandatory for anyone who wants to manufacture, process, blend, or export tea in India. The license also provides assurance to customers and importers that the tea they are purchasing is of high quality and has been produced in compliance with regulatory standards14.

The Tea Act 1953: A brief introduction

The Tea Act, 1953 is an important legislation in India that regulates the tea industry. It was passed in 1953 and led to the establishment of the Tea Board of India. The main objective of the Tea Act, 1953 is to ensure development of the industry in India by regulating production and export of tea. It also led to the establishment of Tea Councils across different states to promote the development of the industry. The Tea Act, 1953 enables registration of tea estates, factories and Tea Board export license. It also regulates the quality standards of tea produced in India, and appoints tea inspectors, who are responsible for the inspection of tea gardens and factories1.

Types of licenses required to export tea

Below are the types of licenses issued by the Tea Board and some of the documents required for each license:

Export license

To obtain a Tea Board certificate for export, an exporter must first register with the Tea Board of India, by submitting an application along with necessary documents and fees. The board reviews the application and conducts an inspection of the tea processing facility. It issues an export license only after it is satisfied with the quality and safety standards of the tea produced. The Tea Board export license is valid for one year and must be renewed annually4.

Documents required for export license

  • Duly signed application form and license fee
  • Attested IEC
  • Declaration in letter head that partners or directors are not associated with a company suspended by the tea board
  • Company’s letter of authorization
  • Applicant’s contact details and residential address proof

Distributors’ license

In India, tea distributors also require a license to sell tea in the market. The license ensures that the tea sold meets the quality standards set by the Tea Board of India.

Documents required for distributor's slicense

  • Duly signed application form and license fee
  • IEC certificate
  • Applicant’s details along with company’s address proof
  • Written declaration by the applicant that there is no association of the applicant with a company whose license has been suspended or revoked by the Tea Board

Warehouse license

In India, tea exporters are required to obtain a warehouse license from the Tea Board of India for the storage of tea prior to export. The warehouse must meet the standards set by the board for storage of tea. This license is issued after an inspection by the board to ensure compliance with its regulations, and is valid for one year and must be renewed annually7.

Documents required for warehouse license

  • Duly signed application form and license fee
  • Proprietorship copy with notary attested on stamp paper, and inclusion of name and residential details
  • If applicable, partnership deeds copy attested by a minimum of two partners
  • Registered lease deed or rent receipt
  • Ownership details and map of the warehouse
  • MoA (Memorandum of Agreement) and AoA (Articles of Association)
  • Trade license
  • Contact details of the company’s partner or directors

Tea waste license

Tea waste generated during its production process is a significant concern, and the board takes necessary steps to ensure it is properly disposed of. The Tea Board regulates the disposal of tea waste and issues tea waste licenses to factories to ensure that the waste is properly disposed of in an environment-friendly and sustainable manner. Tea waste can also be used as a raw material for production of various value-added products like biofuels, activated carbon, and natural dye6.

Documents required for tea waste license

  • Duly signed application form and license fee
  • Warehouse license copy
  • Registration certificate of the manufacturing plant copy

Registration of manufacturing unit

It is mandatory for tea manufacturers, who want to export their products, to register their manufacturing unit with the Tea Board. The registration process involves providing information about the manufacturing unit such as its location, production capacity, and types of tea produced. The registration is valid for five years and must be renewed periodically8.

Documents required for registration of manufacturing unit

  • Duly signed application form and license fee
  • Expression of Intent submitted to the Chairman of the Tea Board in the specified format, attested with name and signature of the applicant
  • NOC for construction of the manufacturing unit
  • Details of the pieces of machinery being installed in the factory
  • A copy of the Central Excise Registration Certificate
  • A non-judicial declaration on stamp paper that tea is being manufactured in accordance with FSSAI rules
  • Any of the following:
    A. A copy of MoA and AoA and if the applicant is a company, a certificate needs to be included from one of the directors of the company
    B. A copy of the partnership deed as certified by a court or notary in case the applicant is a partnership firm
    C. If the applicant is a registered firm, a copy of Certificate of Notification by the Registrar of Firms.
    D. If the applicant is a cooperative firm, a Registration certificate of the Notification by the Registrar of a co-operative firm
    E. If the applicant is a self-help group, a Registration Certificate by the Society of State Government.

Broker license for tea auction

Brokers act as intermediaries between tea buyers and sellers, and they are required to obtain a broker license from the Tea Board to participate in auctions. The broker license is issued after an inspection by the board to ensure that the broker meets the criteria. The license is valid for one year and must be renewed annually9.

Documents required for broker license for tea auction

  • Duly signed application form along with application fee
  • Copy of the Certification of Incorporation and MoA and AoA of the company

Flavor registration

Indian tea exporters are required to register the flavors used in their tea products with the Tea Board. This is necessary to ensure that the flavors used in tea products meet safety and quality standards set by the board. Failure to comply with the regulations set by the board results in suspension or cancellation of the flavor registration11.

Documents required for flavor registration

  • Duly signed application form and license fee
  • If the applicant is a proprietorship, a declaration notarized on a non-judicial stamp paper that declares the sole proprietorship and details of the applicant.
  • If the applicant is a partnership firm, the partnership deed with the assessment of a minimum of two partners.
  • FSSAI certificate
  • Tax reports that fulfill parameters set by FSSAI or a NABL laboratory listed by the Tea Board
  • Applicant’s declaration, affirmed by the Executive Magistrate that enlists flavors to contain safe all-natural flavors and natural flavoring substances.

Planting permit

A planting permit is necessary for new tea plantations, tea plantation replacements, and extension of tea plantations. The validity of this permit expires every year on December 31st, after which it needs to be renewed.

Documents required for planting permit

  • Duly signed application form and license fee

Registration Cum Membership Certificate (RCMC)

A Registration Cum Membership Certificate (RCMC) is a mandatory requirement for tea exporters in India. It is issued by the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) after verifying the exporter’s credentials, and is valid for five years. To obtain an RCMC, the exporter must submit a Tea Board export license application to FIEO along with a few required documents12.

Documents required for RCMC

  • Duly signed application form and license fee
  • Copy of IEC
  • Copy of exporter’s license
  • A declaration of the company’s letterhead stating that export returns have been regularly maintained and NIL returns are included.

Registration as a buyer for tea auction

In India, importers or buyers who want to participate in tea auctions must register with the board. This ensures that only authorized buyers can participate in the auction process. The registration is valid for one year and must be renewed annually.

Documents required for registering as a buyer for tea auction

  • Duly signed application form and license fee
  • Copy of Value Added Tax and Central Added Tax

Cancellation of licenses or registrations by Tea Board of India

The Tea Board of India has the authority to cancel or suspend licenses related to tea export in India in case of non-compliance with its regulations or any other violations. The cancellation or suspension can be initiated by the board after conducting an inquiry. The licensee can appeal against this decision within a specified period13.

Procedure to register for Tea Board license

After an RCMC has been obtained, the exporter can submit an application to the Tea Board for issuance of its license depending on the category the business falls into. Once required licenses are collected, an exporter can sell tea internationally without any hassles. With e-commerce exports, Indian exporters have the opportunity to directly reach millions of customers shopping for Indian tea on international marketplaces like Amazon USA, UK, UAE, Japan, and Australia, among others.

Amazon Global Selling: Your passport to easy tea export

Amazon Global Selling is an e-commerce exports program that enables Indian exporters to take their Indian tea products worldwide and sell on 18 Amazon global marketplaces. While it helps them reach a large audience and growing customers of Amazon, it also provides support and tools for compliance, documentation, registration, logistics and training to simplify the end-to-end export process. Join one lakh+ Indian exporters on Amazon Global Selling and start your e-commerce exports business today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Tea Board of India assist in marketing of the tea?
The Tea Board of India regulates quality of the tea produced and assists with branding and promotion of tea.
What is a tea auction?
A tea auction is usually a platform for tea growers and buyers to sell and purchase tea in bulk.
How do you become a Tea Board member?
An exporter can become a member of the Tea Board of India by registering with them.
Published on March 31, 2023.


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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.