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What is an Import Export Code and Why You Need It

by nikitajain
iec code

If you’re involved in the import or export of goods in India, you must have an Import Export Code (IEC). It’s a 10-digit code issued by the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) that serves as a unique identification number for businesses engaging in international trade. Here’s why you need an Import Export Code registration:

Legal Requirement

It’s mandatory for any business involved in the import or export of goods to have an Import Export Code. Without an IEC, you won’t be able to clear your shipments from customs or even receive money from abroad. It’s an essential document that serves as proof of your business’s identity and legal status.

Global Market Access

An IEC is required for businesses looking to expand their operations globally. It’s a vital document that enables you to participate in international trade and establish business relations with foreign partners. It provides you with a unique identification number that’s recognized by customs authorities worldwide.

Banking Transactions

If you’re an importer or exporter, you’ll need an IEC to carry out banking transactions related to your international trade. Banks require this code to enable foreign remittances and other transactions. Without an IEC, you’ll face difficulties in receiving payments from abroad, which could severely affect your business operations.

Government Benefits

Having an Import Export Code provides you with access to various government schemes and benefits that are exclusively available to businesses involved in international trade. These benefits include tax incentives, subsidies, and other incentives offered by the government to promote exports.


An Import Export Code adds credibility to your business operations. It’s a proof of your business’s legitimacy and ensures that you’re complying with all the legal requirements related to international trade. It also helps you build trust with your foreign partners, as they’ll be assured that they’re dealing with a legitimate business.

How to Register for an Import Export Code

Now that you know why you need an Import Export Code, the next step is to register for one. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for an IEC:

Step 1: Visit the DGFT website

Visit the DGFT website and click on the ‘Online Application’ link under the ‘IEC’ section.

Step 2: Fill in the Application Form

Fill in the online application form with all the necessary details related to your business, such as name, address, PAN card number, and bank details.

Step 3: Submit the Required Documents

Upload the necessary documents, such as PAN card, address proof, and bank details, along with the application form.

Step 4: Pay the Application Fee

Pay the application fee online using a debit card, credit card, or net banking.

Step 5: Submit the Application

Submit the application form, along with the necessary documents and fee, on the DGFT website.

Step 6: Track Your Application Status

You can track the status of your application using the IEC application number provided by the DGFT.


In conclusion, an Import Export Code is a crucial document that every business involved in international trade must have. It’s a legal requirement, enables global market access, facilitates banking transactions, provides access to government benefits, and adds credibility to your business operations. To obtain an Import Export Code, you need to register for one on the DGFT website by following the simple steps mentioned above. So, if you haven’t already obtained an IEC, it’s time to get one and take your business to the next level.



  1. What is the fee for IEC registration?

The fee for IEC registration is Rs. 500, which can be paid online using a debit card, credit card, or net banking. Once the fee is paid, a system-generated application number will be provided, which can be used to track the status of the application.

  1. What documents are required for IEC registration?

The following documents are required for IEC registration:

  • PAN card
  • Proof of address (such as Aadhar card, voter ID, or passport)
  • Bank account details (for payment of fee and for receiving foreign remittances)
  • Passport size photograph of the applicant
  • In case of a company, partnership, or LLP, additional documents such as certificate of incorporation, partnership deed, or LLP agreement are required.
  1. Is IEC mandatory for all businesses?

No, IEC is mandatory only for businesses involved in the import or export of goods and services. If a business is engaged in the export of services, it’s not mandatory to obtain an IEC.

  1. Can an IEC be modified or cancelled?

Yes, an IEC can be modified or cancelled by submitting an application on the DGFT website. For modification, the necessary documents related to the change (such as change in address or bank account details) need to be submitted along with the application. For cancellation, a letter stating the reason for cancellation needs to be submitted.

  1. What is the validity period of an IEC?

An IEC is valid for a lifetime and doesn’t require any renewal. However, if there is any change in the details provided during registration (such as address or bank account details), the same needs to be updated on the DGFT website.


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