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What is an AD Code - Why & How to Generate One?

16/11/2022 8 Min Read

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An Authorised Dealer Code (AD Code) is a 14-digit numerical code provided by a bank with which your business has a current account. You will need to register an AD Code at every port from where your goods are cleared by customs.

It is a requirement introduced by the government to monitor & legitimize transactions that involve foreign currencies. Generating one is mandatory and this code will be asked by your Customs House Agent along with the other documents that are required for clearing export customs for that particular port.

Importance of AD Code in Exports

A registered AD Code for export is essential for customs clearance. If you do not have one, you will not be able to generate your shipping bill number, which is compulsory for customs clearance. The EDI system of the IceGate (Read more about ICEGATE here) portal will not allow the generation of the shipping bill in the absence of a registered AD Code. Learn more about a Shipping Bill here

If you are eligible for government benefits, an AD Code registration with the customs enables you to get the same directly credited into your current account. Therefore, you should register for the AD Code at your customs port(s) once you're through applying for the Import Export Code.

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How to apply for AD Code?

As mentioned, you will need to register your AD Code with every port from which you intend to export your goods. For example, if you are an exporter from Gujarat, you will need separate AD Codes if you want to clear customs from both Mundra and Ankleshwar.

To obtain an AD Code offline, you will have to write a letter or an E-mail to the bank requesting it to issue the same against your business’s account. You will have to address this request to the branch manager in the prescribed format. The bank will then issue a 14-digit AD Code on its letterhead in the format prescribed by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

How to apply/register for an AD Code Online?

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a centralised method to apply for AD codes online, unless the the bank in use has set up electronic mechanisms for creating one.

That being said, after generating an AD code, one must register the code with the Directorate General of Foreign trade or DGFT before beginning to trade with that specific bank and that specific code and this can be done completely online.

  1. In cases where an exporter regularly works with a customs house agent (Also read: Who is a CHA?), simply furnishing the documents to him/her is the only step required
  2. If however, one does not work with a CHA, the first step is to log-in to the ICEGATE portal
  3. On the bank account management panel, select the option for Authorized Dealer or AD code
  4. The poral will ask for a bunch of details pertaining to this AD code addition, including the location and other details
  5. The portal itself will generate what is called an image reference number and a document reference number
  6. These reference numbers are important and you may want to bookmark them
  7. This step is followed by a simple OTP verification, now, the only step pending is requesting for a bank account modification that will be approved by the ICEGATE authorities.

Before we proceed to explain the essentials of procuring your AD code to facilitate your exports, be sure to check out our export financing solutions by simply requesting a call back.

Dripcapital provides hassle-free approvals for post-shipment financing solutions at alluring interest rates so you can focus on building your business without worrying about working capital constraints.

The procedure to apply for an AD Code is as follows:

  • Go to a Bank which deals in foreign currency or is an authorized dealer for forex
  • Apply for an AD Code with the Bank in the format given below
  • Bank will further process the application an issue the AD Code
  • The exporter then needs to register the AD Code with the CHA House Note : __ For instance, an exporter is registered with the port in Mumbai for his shipping consignment, he needs to do it only once. But if his next consignment is from Gujrat, he needs to register with the CHA house of that port as well.)
  • Once the registration is processed - all the basic information of the exporter and his shipping consignments will appear on the ICEGATE website.


AD Code - Format

If you are an exporter applying for an AD Code, you could follow the format below:

AD Code Format Request letter to bank for bank certificate for AD Code

Format of bank’s AD Code letter:

AD Code - Format - Letter from Bank

Also Read : Pro forma Invoice v/s Commercial Invoice

Register AD Code with Customs

After the bank issues you an AD Code, you will need to register it with the customs. To do this, you will have to approach the CHA, and furnish the following documents:

  • The AD Code registration authority letter issued by your banker

  • Self-attested copies of:

    1. GST registration
    2. Last three years’ IT returns of the company or self and partner’s
    3. Bank statement, generally for the last 12 months
    4. Company's Import-Export (IE) Code
    5. Company’s PAN
    6. Board resolution
    7. Partner’s PAN, Aadhaar card, and voter ID/passport
    8. Signatory PAN, Aadhaar card and voter ID/passport, along with originals
    9. Export House Certificate (optional)

These requirements may vary with a change in statutes. The CHA will receive all the documents from you and submit it to the customs on your behalf. This usually takes about 3–4 working days.

While filing for export, if the shipping bill gets generated in the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system, it means your AD Code has been registered. Please note that this AD Code has to be registered at every port from where you wish to clear customs and export your goods. Once you register your AD Code at a particular port, the registration has lifetime validity.

Also Read : How to Choose the Right Freight Forwarder

Making changes to the AD Code

If you wish to make any changes to the AD Code, you will have to prepare a set of documents required at the time of AD Code registration, along with the following:

• A letter mentioning the reason for changing the AD Code or canceling a previously registered AD Code

• The email ID of the bank branch for any further verification

With these documents, you will have to approach and consult the EDI helpdesk. Thereafter, a new AD Code will be generated against your name.

You can apply for an AD Code from the bank where you have your current account only once. But if your bank account changes, you will have to register your AD Code again to continue generating a shipping bill number. In other words, you will have to generate a fresh AD Code. Further, if you are changing the port of shipment, you will have to register the AD Code again with the customs.

The AD Code is a necessary document, irrespective of the size of your business or the type of entity. Without it, you cannot export your goods to other countries. So, you must get your AD Code from your bank and register it with the customs department.

Since you've reached the very bottom of this article, it seems that you're interested in scaling up your export business through systematic compliance & strategic initiatives.

We at DripCapital have served 2,000+ small and medium businesses globally & have helped both importers & exporters scale their business by ensuring adequate access for their working capital needs. Check this page out

Get in touch with one of our team to know more about how we can pitch in!

Also Read :

Apply for working capital loan for exporters

Avani Ghangurde

Senior Associate, Communications at Drip Capital

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