The IEC Code stands for Import Export Code, it is a unique 10 digit registration code issued by Government of India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) (Ministry of Commerce and Industries). The IEC number is a prerequisite for any import export business in India , as it makes it easy to track and manage shipments. This trade usually pertains to goods and services. There are, however, exceptions when the IEC Code is not required.
In August 2018, the IEC Code was integrated with PAN Card in response to various internet browser-related problems faced by applicants. But since the new policy issued by the government, GST is not necessary for the IEC Code. As a result, the new IEC Code number is an electronic-IEC Code (e-IEC) which can be applied for online and it is the same as the PAN number of the applicant. Also note that after the August 2018 DGFT notice, various changes have been made to the policy and procedure for the IEC application.
You can’t export/import any item without IEC Code. IEC number is a compulsory required code for export and import business entities, it also streamlines the management and tracking of shipments. The exporter/importer is required to quote the IEC Number while sending shipments. The current account, too, requires the IEC number for transferring funds.
Listed here are some of the important benefits of having an IEC Certificate:
Any individual can get an IEC Code, by applying for it before the start of their export operations.
Once issued by DGFT, the IEC Code validity stays for a lifetime and does not expire, nor it needs to be renewed by the IEC code holder.
Having an IEC Code doesn’t require you to file any return and you need not inform the DGFT about the transactions made using the IEC Code.
Having an IEC makes you eligible for various benefits from Customs, the Export Promotion Councils (EPC), and the DGFT from time to time.
The IEC becomes your ticket to expand your new export business as it is a globally recognized identification marking you as a registered exporter, which enables you to spread your business across the world and venture into new territories.
There is no annual maintenance cost or fee involved in retaining the IEC code.
By using an IEC code, all your export dealings remain documented and you can easily prove your businesses’ compliance when it is sought by authorities. Thus, using an IEC Code increases your credibility.
The process of getting an Import Export Code Certificate is very simple. It can be done online or, as mentioned earlier, as a PAN-based registration process. The documents required for the IEC Code registration is explained in the next section.
As mentioned above, the documentation needed for a fresh e-IEC application is quite straight-forward.
Bank Certificatefor IEC Code - ANF-2A (See Figure 1) or a Pre-printed Cancelled Cheque
Address Proof of the firm
The Address Proof can take any of the following forms:
Sale deed/Rent agreement/Lease deed/Electricity bill/Telephone landline bill/location/Mobile postpaid bill/MOU/Partnership deed – any one of these documents (depending on the type of business entity you have chosen)
Aadhaar Card/Passport/Voter ID – any one of these documents can be used if the applicant owns a Proprietorship concern
A No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the owner of the company’s premises/location in favor of the company, along with the Address Proof, should be submitted as a single PDF document – in case the Address Proof is not in the name of the applicant company.
As of 9th August 2018, only the documents mentioned above need to be uploaded electronically. The document should be uploaded in digital format – PDF or JPEG, and the size of the file shouldn’t exceed 5MB. The documents need not have a digital signature.
Also Read: How To Leverage Export Promotion Councils
The procedure to get IEC code is as follows:
You can apply for a new e-IEC through a visit to the DGFT website (Figure 2).
For registration of IEC Code, Click on the “Online IEC application” option, which will open a new window (Figure 3), as seen below.
For your convenience, this page gives you the list of documents required for getting IEC Code. On this page, you will have to enter the first piece of information required for the IEC application -- your PAN Card. Once you submit your PAN, another page will open asking for more information.
After entering the name and date of birth/incorporation declared against the submitted PAN, click on the submit button.
After your PAN is verified, it will appear in an un-editable box as seen below. You just have to click on the “Next” button.
In the next screen you will be asked for your phone number and email ID. After filling the information and the captcha code, click on the “Generate OTP” button to get a one-time password. In the next screen, enter the OTP sent on your mobile and email ID.
After these steps, a 20-digit ECOM (e-commerce) reference number is generated, which serves as a unique identifier for your application. Thereafter, you will have to fill the application form on the page which will ask for information related to you and your export business entity. Once you fill the form you can proceed to the ‘Pay Online’ option and pay the IEC Code fees. IEC Code registration fee is worth Rs. 250. Payment can be made using your credit/debit cards or through internet banking.
The form will ask for supporting documents, which can be uploaded to the website by clicking the ‘attachment’ option and selecting the document category, document type and choosing the file before uploading it. The previous information you had filled will automatically appear in ANF-2A form on your screen. You have to check and submit the information by clicking on the ‘Proceed’ button. Your IEC Certificate application process is now complete.
In due time, you will receive your e-IEC certificate (Figure no.) which looks like this:
That’s it! This is how you can generate the IEC Code as an exporter/importer with the DGFT.
To commence shipping, there are, of course, a few more steps to complete. We will cover these steps in coming articles in this guide.
Also these are the two websites where you can check the status of your IEC Code:
10 to 15 days is the time period that will be taken for the IEC Code to come online, after the application has been submitted.
In case you cannot complete the application in one sitting, you can save and later continue a partially-completed application form. You can also reapply against a rejected form in this process.
Keep the Customer and ECOM reference numbers handy, at least till the IEC is issued.
While attaching supporting documents you can view and delete uploaded files, if required.
Check the list of businesses that don’t require an IEC Code before you go through the application process -- you might be able to get an exemption.
Do not apply more than one Importer Exporter Code (IEC) code against the same PAN and business.
While applying for IEC Code, do provide accurate information – applicants could face penal and legal action for furnishing wrongful or incomplete information.
Once the e-IEC is issued, you can do IEC Code modification to your profile via the DGFT website/portal if there are any changes to the information stored. Try to do so at least once a year, in any case.