Import–Export Code (IEC): Flourishing Your International Business


To increase the business beyond the domestic markets in a competitive world of enormous options and possibilities, one must have the idea of global business strategies as well as the permissions and licenses associated with the marketing of one’s products/services in India or globally. Going global means abiding in accordance with the stricter norms, procedures, and registration systems to the requirements specified by the import/export-based laws. Import Export Code (IEC) license is an essential requirement for marketing the imported products/services in India or exporting the products/services from India to a global level, unless and until specified as exempted by the government.

As per the directives from the central government, IEC is a pre-requisite for carrying out international business in/from India and a single time registration is sufficient to carry out the import and export of materials/goods/services. IEC code can be applied under CHAPTER III of The Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) holds responsible for issuing the IEC, which is a unique 10 digit number.

import export codeAlso, the same IEC code can be used for both the import and/or export processes. There are many advantages associated with the registration of IEC, which include the availability of benefits from the Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) related to the export schemes.

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IEC is required when (i) customs officers are required to clear the imports/exports, (ii) receiving money in foreign currency in lieu of the export made, and (iii) sending money to importers of the products/services. However, IEC is not required when any product/service is purchased for personal use and not for a commercial purpose.

Document Requirements for getting IEC

The document requirements for generating IEC as directed by The Regional Authority of the DGFT includes:

  1. One copy of the application, along with
  2. Self-certified PAN number associated with the business (PAN of the Individual in case of a proprietorship firm, Firm’s or Company’s PAN Card in case of a legal person)
  3. Proof of address related to the business (Copy of Rent Agreement or Electricity Bill Copy of the premise)
  4. Details related to the owners, associates, or directors (when applicable)
  5. Information related to the bank account information
  6. Banker Certificate in the specified format bank certificate (where the company has an account) showing the time for which the company has an account with the bank and the same should be attested by the banker.
  7. Canceled cheque leaf
  8. DD / Electronic transfer of the fee as prescribed by the DGFT

Advantages of IEC

  1. It is approved and notified by the central government as a principal document in carrying out import/export business
  2. Allows to avail the benefit schemes announced by the ministry of commerce i.e. schemes announced by DGFT customs, and Export Promotion council, etc.
  3. Each IEC has lifetime validity and there is no requirement for re-applying or renewal for any given IEC
  4. IEC codes imply the products/services of international standards, which in turn implies the qualities and the standards of the products/services.
  5. Being a primary document for import and export, it provides the individual/company to reach international markets and helps in expanding the business globally, unlike the businesses that do not have IEC
  6. Helps in restricting the movement of illegal goods as IEC strictly requires authentic and accurate information related to the imported/exported items.
  7. Restrict the movement of the IPR (i.e. intellectual property such as patent, trademark, copyright) infringing products/services

IPLF and IEC code

The process and procedure for generating an IEC code are taxing and time-consuming. Further, the document requirements and the methodologies adopted in applying the same requires the intervention of the experts that are well versed in the said formalities. Further, there are various requirements that need to be obliged based on the type of business performed by the client.

Our IPLF team comprises highly skilled and trained professionals including legal and tax professionals to assist in hassle-free IEC filing procedures and hastening the registration of the same, which not only protect your business interests but also to begin your import/export business in a short span of time.

Author: Govindhaswamy Srinivasan, a Principal Associate – Patents at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates, and IP Attorneys.  In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at

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