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What is Import Export (IEC) Code

What is Import Export (IEC) Code

The first requirement before you start an import/ export business in India is to obtain an IEC. An IEC is necessary for the import/export of goods. In case the import/export is of services or technology, IEC is required in only limited circumstances, when import/export is in 'specified services' or 'specified technologies', i.e. services or technologies in which international trade is restricted by the Government of India as they pertain to national security, such as dealing in nuclear weapons, automatic guns, etc.

What is Import Export  (IEC) code?

Import Export Code (also known as IEC) is a 10 digit identification number that is issued by the DGFT (Director General of Foreign Trade), Department of Commerce, Government of India. It is also known as Importer Exporter Code. It is mandatory for companies and businesses to obtain this code to start a business that deals with import and export in the Indian Territory. It is not possible to deal with export or import business without this code.

There are certain processes and conditions that you need to fulfill in order to obtain the Import Export Code. You also need to adhere to certain regulations. Once you fulfill the conditions, you can get the IEC code from the DGFT offices. It has several regional offices throughout the country.



When is IEC used?

  • When an importer has to clear his shipments from the customs then it’s needed by the customs authorities.

  • When an importer sends money abroad through banks then it’s needed by the bank.

  • When an exporter has to send his shipments then it’s needed by the customs port.

  • When an exporter receives money in foreign currency directly into his bank account then it’s required by the bank.

Benefits of IEC Registration

  • Expansion of Business

IEC assists you in taking your services or products to the global market and grow your businesses.

  • Availing Several Benefits

Companies could avail several benefits of their imports/ exports from the DGFT, Export Promotion Council, Customs, etc., on the basis of their IEC registration. 

  • No Filing of Returns

IEC does not require the filing of any returns. Once allotted, there isn’t any requirement to follow any sort of process for sustaining its validity. Even for export transactions, there isn’t any requirement for filing any returns with DGFT.

  • Easy Processing

It is fairly easy to obtain IEC code from the DGFT within a period of 10 to 15 days after submitting the application. There isn’t any need to provide proof of any export or import for getting IEC code.

  • No Need for renewal

IEC code is effective for the lifetime of an entity and requires no renewal. After it is obtained, it could be used by an entity against all export and import transactions.

  • Validity of IEC

An IEC number allotted to an applicant shall be valid for all its branches/divisions/units/factories. IEC is valid forever and there is no need to renew the same.

  • The Duplicate copy of the IEC

If the original IEC, issued in format Appendix 18B, is lost or misplaced, issuing RA may consider a request for grant of a duplicate copy of the IEC in the same format Appendix 18B, based on an affidavit.

  • Surrender of IEC

If an IEC holder does not wish to operate allotted IEC numbers, he may surrender the same by informing the issuing authority. On receipt of such intimation, issuing authority shall immediately cancel it and electronically transmit it to DGFT and Customs authorities.

  • Modification in IEC

(a) An application for modification shall be filed with the RA from where IEC was originally issued.


(b) ANF2A shall be used for modification of IEC details like name, address, constitution, etc. Application for modification should be filed within 90 days of the modification, after which a penalty as per Para 9.1 of HBP v1 shall be charged as additional application fees.


(c) If the ownership of a proprietor-firm, who has been issued an IEC undergoes any change

 due to sale, gift, inheritance or any other reason; and it continues to be proprietor-firm even after such change, then an application to incorporate such details of change along with PAN details of the new ownership be made before the concerned RA. If by such change of ownership, the nature of firm changes from proprietor-firm to any other type, again necessary application to incorporate the changes shall be made to the concerned RA.


The IEC issued is valid for all the branches or factories of the importer/exporter, as the case may be. Applications which are complete in all respects are normally disposed of within two days.


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