Import Export Code (IEC) is a registration needed for individuals importing or exporting goods and services from India. It is a 10 digit number. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Government of India issues Import Export code. IE Code application must be made to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade affixed with the mandatory supporting documents. Once, the application is presented, DGFT will provide the IE Code for the entity in a maximum of 1-2 days.
The validity of the Import Export Code
IE Code registration is valid for a lifetime and never expires. Hence, there will be no inconveniences for revising, filing, and renewal of IE Code registration. It is valid until the business stands or the registration is dismissed or relinquished. Further, unlike tax registrations like GST registration or PF registration, the importer or exporter does not need to register any filings or pursue any other consent requirement like annual filing.
As IE code registration is one-time and needs no additional consent, all companies, and LLPs must have IE code after incorporation.
Import Export Code Exemption
An Import Export Code is needed for the import of any form of goods by a business. Yet, the following category of individuals spared from having an IE Code:
- Importer and export by central Government or agencies or undertakings for defense objective or other described lists under Foreign Trade (Dispensation from the application of Rules in particular cases) Order, 1993.
- Import or Export of Goods for own use.
Applying for Import Export Code
Para 2.08 of the Handbook of Procedure encloses provisions describing the application for IE Code. Vide public notice no. 27/2015-2020 dated 8th August 2018, the said Para under-went a revised and the provisions of the revised Para as applicable regarding the application for IEC is given below –
- Exporters/importers shall apply an online application in form ANF 2A.
- The applicant is needed to provide only two documents; one is the address proof, and the other is the pre-printed cheque or bank certificate.
- Sale deed, in case the business establishment is autonomous; or
- Rental/lease agreement in case the establishment is rented/leased; or
- Latest electricity/landline/ mobile bill in the name of the applicant; or
- GST registration certification; or
- In case of a proprietorship, the following proof must be needed –
- Aadhar card;
- Voters ID;
It needs to be noted that the above documents in support of address proof must be in the name of the firm, however, in case of a proprietorship, the address proof in favour of an individual (i.e. proprietor) is acceptable (Trade notice No. 39/2018-19 dated 12th December 2018).
Documents Required for the Import Export Code Application
Below are the documents needed for making an IE Code application in India:-
- Digital Photograph (3x3cms) of the owner.
- Copy of PAN card of the owner.
- Photocopy of Passport (first & last page) or Voter’s I-Card or Driving License or UID (Aadhar card).
- Sale deed if the business establishment is self-owned; or Rental/Lease Agreement, in case office is rented/ leased; or current electricity /telephone bill.
- Bank Certificate as per ANF 2A (I)/ Cancelled Cheque bearing the printed name of the owner and A/C No.
|Digital Photograph (3x3cms) of the Governing Partner. Copy of PAN card of the owner entity. Copy of Passport (first & last page)/Voter’s I-Card /UID (Aadhar Card) /Driving License/PAN (any one of these) of the Managing Ally signing the application. Copy of Cooperation Deed. Sale deed in case business establishment is self-owned; or Rental/Lease Agreement, in case of office is rented/ leased; or current electricity /telephone bill. Bank Certificate as per ANF 2A (I)/Cancelled Cheque bearing the printed name of the applicant entity and A/C No. LLP or Private Limited Company or Companies under section 8|
- Digital Photo (3x3cms) of the Nominated Partner/Director of the Company signing the application.
- Photocopy of PAN card of the claimant entity.
- Copy of Passport (first & last page)/Voter’s I-Card /UID (Aadhar Card) /Driving License/ PAN (any one of these) of the Operating Partner/Director signing the application.
- Certificate of incorporation as provided by the RoC
- Sale deed in case business establishment is self-owned; or Rental/Lease Agreement, in case of office is rented/ leased; or current electricity or telephone bill.
- Bank Certificate as per ANF 2A (I)/Cancelled Cheque bearing the printed name of the company and A/C No.
Society or Trust
- Digital Photograph (3x3cms) of the beholder applicant/Secretary or Chief Executive.
- Copy of PAN card of the claimant entity.
- Photocopy of Passport (first & last page)/Voter’s I-Card /UID (Aadhar Card) /Driving License/ PAN (any one of these) of the Secretary or Chief Executive/ Operating Trustee signing the application.
- Sale deed in case business establishment is self-possessed; or Rental/Lease Agreement, in case if the office is rented/ leased; or current electricity /telephone bill.
- Registration Certificate of the Society/photocopy of the Trust Deed
- Bank Certificate as per ANF 2A (I)/Cancelled Cheque having printed name of the Certified Society or Trust and A/C No.
Hindu Undivided Family
- Digital Photograph (3x3cms) of the Head.
- Copy of PAN card of the Head.
- Photocopy of Passport (first & last page)/Voter’s I-Card/ UID (Aadhar card)/ Driving License (any one of these) of the Head.
- Sale deed in case business establishment is self-possessed or Rental/Lease Agreement, in case office is rented/ leased or current electricity /telephone bill.
- Bank Certificate as per ANF 2A (I)/ Cancelled Cheque having printed name of the owner and A/C No.
It is has been illustrated vide Trade Notice No. 39/2018-19 dated 12th December 2018 that a cheque not having a pre-printed name of the account holder will be denied. Also, the pre-printed cheque can be of savings account or current account. It is to be noted that the above-cited documents should be uploaded online in digital format-GIF, JPEG and the document size must not be more than 5MB.
Import Export Code Issuance
Once the online application is submitted, including the applicable fees and essential documents, IEC will be auto-produced. Reminder regarding the allocation of IEC will be delivered to an applicant via SMS and E-mail along with a hyperlink by which the e-IEC can be downloaded and printed. The IE Code certificate will only be given via digital medium and can be downloaded from the link given. An e-IEC holder should update his profile urgently after the issuance of e-IEC. Further, in case of any variation to the details cited in the IEC or any other case, the profile update should be done at least once in a year, according to the para 2.15 of the Handbook of Procedure, 2015-2020.
Though the import-export code is auto-generated, the Regional Authority would organize post-verification of the online IEC as per the protocols. In case there is any wrong/incomplete information being provided, the applicant would be responsible for penal/criminal activity, and in such case, IEC would be either deferred or abolished.
Persons having import-export code can apply for and gain RCMC registration. Registration-Cum-Membership Certificate (RCMC) is a certificate that authorizes an exporter dealing with products registered with an agency/business that is validated by the Indian Government. The validity of the certificate is for five years by the Export Promotional Councils or commodity board in India. An exporter wishing to obtain an RCMC has to provide details about his mainstream business in the application. This application is submitted to the Export Promotion Council/ Commodity Board relating to that type of business.
Having Importer Exporter Code is a must before initiating activities of Import or Export. Unless one has received this registration, the goods or particular services cannot be imported into or exported from India. The applicant with export facility is also needed to get registered under GST as a specific category of registration is stated under the law. The requirement of IEC registration cannot be ignored as it is compulsory.