Exports > Export documentation > Importer Exporter Code (IEC)

What is the Importer Exporter Code (IEC): Benefits and how to apply

The Importer Exporter Code is a unique identification number required to run a seamless business in international trade. Learn how to apply, register, modify, and link IEC with DGFT.

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Indian businesses looking to expand beyond domestic borders are required to adhere to several trade regulations and compliance mandates. One key requirement is obtaining the importer exporter code (IEC), a mandatory registration that plays a critical role in every import or export transaction.1 In this blog post, we will discuss the various aspects of IEC in detail and understand the process for obtaining it.

What is an Importer Exporter Code (IEC)?

The 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.2

What are the benefits of IEC registration?

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

Ease of business registration

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 10-15 working days.3

Access to tax benefits and government schemes

Exporters who have an IEC can avail various export incentive schemes introduced by the government. They can also claim tax benefits on exports. For instance, exporters who file a Letter of Undertaking (LUT) under GST may be exempted from paying taxes on exported goods and services.4

Ease of 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.5

Global market access

IEC facilitates entry into the international market, allowing organizations to showcase and sell products on global platforms.6

Lifetime validity

The IEC is effective for the entire lifespan of the business, eliminating the need for lengthy renewal processes.7

Documents required for Importer Exporter Code registration

Some of the documents required for IEC registration are:
  • Digital Signature Token
  • PAN
  • Aadhaar card matching the PAN details
  • Address details of the branch office
  • Bank details of the IEC holder8

How to register for IEC?

It is important to register for importer exporter code for all types of businesses, such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, private limited, or charitable organizations.


Log on to DGFT website

The first step to apply for IEC is to log on to the DGFT website. Select 'Services' from the navigation bar, and choose 'IEC Profile Management' from the drop-down list.


Start application

Click on 'Apply for IEC' and click the ‘Start Fresh Application’ button.


Fill out the application

Enter all required details, including proprietor/partner/director/Karta/managing trustee, bank information, and other details.


Preview and submit

After completing all the above steps, preview your application and click the ‘Sign’ button. Upload your Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) to submit your application.


Complete payment

You will be redirected to the payment gateway to pay the application fee. After successful payment, you will be redirected to the DGFT website and your receipt will be displayed on the screen. Download the receipt for future reference.9
The IEC certificate will be sent to your registered email address. You can also download the certificate by logging into the DGFT website.10

How to download your IEC?

Follow these steps to download the IEC certificate in PDF format:
  • To find your IEC certificate, login to the official website of DGFT.
  • Enter your username and password.
  • Click on the Services tab, select ‘IEC’, and then click on ‘Manage IEC’.
  • Once you have verified your details, click on ‘Print IEC’.11

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.
  • Select ‘IEC Portfolio Management’ from the Services tab and click on ‘Update/Modify IEC’.
  • Now, you need to link your IEC by entering the IEC number and verifying it with the OTP.
  • Once the IEC has been linked to the DGFT portal, choose ‘Update IEC’.
  • A form with the existing IEC details will appear. Select the details in the IEC that need modification and then get the IEC updated accordingly.
  • Now, complete the process by verifying the IEC certificate through a digital signature certificate or Aadhaar.
  • Once you submit the IEC update form has been submitted, your IEC renewal will be complete.12

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 future export/import transactions shall be revoked.13

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which DSC is required for the IEC code?
To make the issuance and registration process of the IEC code more secure, the DGFT introduced the DSC (digital signature certificate). It should be of Class-2 or Class-3 only issued by CCA-approved certifying agencies in India. 15
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.
How many days can we get an IEC Code/IEC online?
After submitting all the necessary documents, IEC is usually issued by DGFT within two working days. 16
Who is exempted from obtaining IEC?
Certain importers/exporters are exempted from obtaining an IEC. This includes including government departments, personal exports/imports for non-commercial use, small-value exports/imports from Nepal and Myanmar, and specific categories like diplomats, UN officials, and importers importing goods for fairs and exhibitions.17
Why do you need an IEC?
An IEC is mandatory for Indian traders engaged in the export and import of goods.18 No person shall make an import or export without an IEC number unless it is specifically exempted.
What is the validity of the IEC code?
An IEC allocated to the applicant shall have lifetime validity, but it is mandatory to update the IEC annually so that it is not deactivated.19
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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1. https://www.indiafilings.com/import-export-code
2. https://www.indiantradeportal.in/vs.jsp?lang=0&id=0,55,276
3. https://cleartax.in/s/import-export-code
4. https://vakilsearch.com/blog/benefits-of-importer-exporter-code/
5. https://vakilsearch.com/blog/benefits-of-importer-exporter-code/
6. https://cleartax.in/s/import-export-code
7. https://cleartax.in/s/import-export-code
8. https://content.dgft.gov.in/Website/DGFT%20-%20Profile%20Management%20(IEC)%20FAQs%20v1.0.pdf
9. https://cleartax.in/s/import-export-code#Applying
10. https://cleartax.in/s/import-export-code#Applying
11. https://content.dgft.gov.in/Website/DGFT%20-%20Profile%20Management%20(IEC)%20FAQs%20v1.0.pdf
12. https://www.legalwiz.in/blog/iec-code-renewal-process-to-update-iec
13. https://taxguru.in/dgft/surrender-import-export-code.html
14. https://content.dgft.gov.in/Website/DGFT%20-%20Profile%20Management%20(IEC)%20FAQs%20v1.0.pdf
15. https://vakilsearch.com/blog/which-digital-signature-do-we-require-for-iec-certificate/#
16. https://jdgfthyd.ap.nic.in/faqs.html
17. https://custada.in/CUSTADA-Online/document/document/IE_CODE.htm
18. https://www.indiantradeportal.in/vs.jsp?id=0,55,276
19. https://www.indiantradeportal.in/vs.jsp?id=0,55,276
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