Importer Exporter Code (IEC): Benefits and guide to apply

Importer Exporter Code is a unique identification number required for import and export from India. Learn how to apply, register, modify and link IEC with DGFT.

What is an Importer exporter code (IEC)?

An Importer Exporter Code is a 10-digit number issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. It is a unique identification number that is required by importers and exporters to run a seamless business in international trade.

Benefits of Importer exporter code (IEC)

Obtaining an IEC is one of the most essential steps before starting an import-export business. Following are some of its benefits:

Makes business registration easy

Both registered and non-registered businesses must apply for an IEC on the DGFT website. If all the documents submitted are verified, an IEC is issued within 10 working days. If your business is registered for GST, then your GSTIN can be used in place of IEC as a unique identifier.

Access to government schemes

Various export incentive schemes introduced by the government like MEIS, Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL) scheme, etc can be availed by exporters who have obtained an IEC for their business. Exporters can also furnish Letter of Undertaking (LUT) under GST, without paying the integrated tax.

Revenue growth

The use of IEC can lead to a significant increase in the organization's revenue through international product scaling and sales.

Legal global transactions

Obtaining an IEC makes all your cross-border transactions legal and easy. Additionally, having this code marks you as a verified importer/exporter. It reduces the illegal transportation of goods across the borders.

Lifetime validity

The IEC code is effective for the entire lifespan of the business, eliminating the need for periodic renewals.

Tax benefits

Organizations can claim tax benefits on exports, contributing to financial advantages.

How to register for IEC?

It is important to register for Importer Exporter Code for all types of businesses such as sole proprietorship, partnership, private limited or charitable organizations.

Documents required for Importer Exporter Code registration

Some of the documents required for IEC registration are:
  • Aadhar card (as address proof)
  • A canceled cheque from the bank
  • Business proof (GST registraion or incorporation certificate)
  • Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)

1.

Log on to DGFT website

The first step to apply for IEC is to log on to the DGFT website. On reaching the homepage, you can find information about exports including the latest updates and notifications issued by the DGFT. Select 'Services' from the navigation bar and choose 'IEC' from the drop-down list.

2.

Enter PAN details

Click on 'Online IEC application' and enter your PAN number. Once you enter your PAN details, add your mobile number and email ID. Enter the CAPTCHA code and generate the token.

3.

Fill out the application

Enter the OTP received on your mobile number and email ID. Then add the required details in the application form that follows. You will be asked business and partner details.

4.

Upload documents

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.

5.

Preview and submit

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.
Importer Exporter Code will be generated after the submitted application gets verified and approved by the DGFT.

How to download your IEC?

  • To find your IEC certificate, login to the official website of DGFT.
  • Click on the services tab and select ‘IEC profile management’.
  • Scroll down to click on ‘My IEC’ and then select ‘Print IEC’.
This is how you can download IEC certificate in PDF format.

How to modify your IEC?

Along with getting your IEC registered, it is important to update every data about your business at intervals and modify IEC. If an exporter or importer fails to update these changes, it will lead to mismatch in details when scrutinized at the customs. Updating all changes like PAN, director(s), addition or deletion of a partner, etc, will smoothen the export process.

How to edit and renew IEC?

IEC needs to be renewed every year between April and June. Non-renewal might lead to the de-activation of the import-export certificate. Here is how you can renew IEC:
  • Login to the DGFT portal and enter your IEC code.
  • Click on ‘Update/Modify IEC’ and fill a fresh application.
  • Update your details and submit.

How to cancel IEC?

If an IEC holder wants to cancel their IEC, then they can file an online request to surrender their IEC, on the DGFT website. Submit the required documents to complete the process of ‘Surrender IEC’ and complete the application. Your IEC license will be surrendered and all the future export/import transactions shall be revoked.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which DSC is required for the IEC code?
To make the issuance and registration process more secure, DSC (Digital Signature Certificate) was introduced by the DGFT. It should be of Class-2 or Class-3 only issued by CCA approved certifying agencies in India.
Is the IEC code valid throughout India?
Yes, IEC code is a unique identification number for your import-export business that remains applicable throughout India.
Why do you need an IEC?
To import or export your business internationally in India, an IEC code is mandatory. 9 No person shall make an import or export without an IEC number unless it is specifically exempted.
Who is exempted from obtaining IEC?
Certain importers/ exporters are exempt from obtaining an IEC number, including government departments, personal imports for non-commercial use, defense agencies, diplomats, and specific categories like reimports, UN officials, and goods for fairs and exhibitions.
What is the validity of an IEC?
An IEC allocated to the applicant shall have lifetime validity, but it is mandatory to update the IEC number annually so that it is not deactivated.
How many days can we get an IEC Code/IEC online?
After submitting all the necessary documents, IEC is usually issued by DGFT in five business days.
Is the IEC code enough for doing export from India?
IEC is one of the important documents required to export from India. However, along with IEC, there are other mandatory export documents and licenses that need to be obtained depending on your product category, mode of shipping, destination country, etc.

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Sources:
1. https://www.dgft.gov.in/CP/?opt=application-help
2. https://www.dgft.gov.in/CP/?opt=iec-profile-management#:~:text=An%20Importer%20%2DExporter%20Code%20(IEC,an%20IEC%20unless%20specifically%20exempted
3. https://content.dgft.gov.in/Website/dgftprod/74893b60-2434-4b7c-b90d-ee9fe0eb7320/Notification%2058%20Date%2012-02-2021%20English.pdf
4. https://taxguru.in/dgft/step-process-apply-import-export-code-online-iec.html
5. https://www.vatspk.com/how-to-renew-iec-code-online/
6. https://enterslice.com/learning/surrender-iec-license/#:~:text=Online%20method%20to%20surrender%20IEC,application%20for%20the%20IEC%20Registration.
7. https://www.cagmc.com/how-to-link-your-old-importer-exporter-code-iec-on-dgft-website/
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