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How to Obtain Your Import-Export Code (IEC)

Import Export
How to Obtain Your Import-Export Code (IEC)
In the world of foreign trade, one crucial aspect that often confuses newcomers is the Import Export Code (IEC). In this article, we will address all your queries related to IEC, its application, renewal, and its importance in the business.

Understanding Import Export Code

  • What is the Import Export Code (IEC)?
Import Export Code, commonly known as IEC, is a unique 10-digit number that's essential for anyone involved in international trade. This code is mandated by the government and serves as a fundamental requirement for businesses engaged in importing and exporting goods.
  • Import Export Code Number
Your IEC number is like an identification badge for your business in the international trade arena. It's a unique combination of letters and numbers linked with your PAN, and it plays a crucial role in all your import and export documentation. This number sets your business apart and simplifies various trade-related processes.

How to Obtain IEC

Obtaining your Import Export Code (IEC) is a simple process, and here's a step-by-step guide to help you through it:
  1. Eligibility Check: First, ensure that your business is eligible for IEC. Most businesses engaged in international trade activities, such as importing or exporting goods and services, are eligible.
  2. PAN and Bank Account: Make sure you have a valid Permanent Account Number (PAN) and an active bank account in the name of your business entity.
  3. Online Application: the application process for IEC is predominantly online. Visit the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) website or the government's single-window service for business registration and permits.
  4. Filling the Application Form: Complete the online application form, providing accurate details about your business, such as its legal name, address, and contact information.
  5. Documents Upload: You'll need to upload certain documents as proof. This leads us to the next section, which outlines the documents required for the IEC application.
  6. Payment of Fees: Pay the required application fee, at present its Rs.500. The fee can vary based on your business type and location.
  7. Verification: Once your application is submitted, it undergoes a system verification process.
IEC Issuance: If your application is approved, you will receive your IEC by email, which will be valid for a lifetime subject to renewal every year.

Documents Required for IEC

To complete your IEC application, you'll need certain documents. These typically include:
  • Proof of legal entity like a Registered Certificate, or PAN
  • Passport-sized photograph
  • Current bank account and IFSC code
  • Business address proof - rent agreement or utility bill
  • Self-attested copy of your PAN card
  • Digital signature (DSC)
  • A canceled cheque from your business bank account

IEC Registration Process

Obtaining an IEC is summarized as follows:
  1. Eligibility Check: Ensure your business is eligible for IEC. Most businesses involved in international trade qualify.
  2. Online Application: Visit the DGFT website and complete the online application form. Ensure that you have all the necessary documents and information at hand.
  3. Documents Required: You'll need essential documents, such as your PAN card, business address proof, passport-sized photograph, and a canceled cheque from your business bank account. Ensure they are in the required format for online submission.
  4. Fee Payment: Pay the fee of Rs.500 by online. This fee amount may vary depending on your business type.
  5. Verification: After system review, based on the authentication of your application and documentation for accuracy and compliance.
  6. IEC Issuance: If your application is approved, you'll receive your IEC by email, which is valid for a lifetime and subject to renewal every year.

Address Changes and Surrender:

If you need to change the address associated with your IEC, you can do so by updating your business details online through the DGFT website. Ensure that the new address is accurate and complies with the required format. In case you need to surrender your IEC, you can submit a formal application to the DGFT. The process for surrendering IEC involves submitting specific documents and ensuring all related obligations are settled.

Renewal and Verification

  • Renewing Your IEC
Renewing your IEC is a crucial step to ensure that it remains valid for continued import and export activities. The IEC code renewal period falls between April to June each year for every financial year, and the last day to apply for IEC renewal is 30th June of every year. Here's what you need to know about the renewal process:
  • Renewal Eligibility: IECs have a year validity period, It's essential to renew the of your IEC every year to ensure uninterrupted trade operations.
  • Timely Renewal: The renewal process should be initiated well in advance of the expiry date to meet the deadline of 30th June. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) generally allows applications for renewal up to 180 days before the IEC's expiration.
  • Online Renewal: Just like the initial application, IEC renewal is primarily done online. Visit the DGFT website and follow the renewal application procedure.
  • Verification of Details: During the renewal process, you may need to verify and update your business details, including contact information and bank accounts. Ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Fee Payment: Pay the renewal fee, which is generally lower than the initial application fee. The fee may vary based on your business type.
  • Submission and Verification: Once you've filled out the renewal application and submitted the necessary documents, the DGFT will verify the information. The authorities will assess your compliance with the import-export regulations.
  • Approval and IEC Renewal: If your application is approved, you'll receive an updated IEC with a new validity period. This renewed IEC ensures that your import and export activities can continue seamlessly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the use of IEC?

The Import Export Code (IEC) serves as a unique identifier for businesses engaged in international trade. It is required for customs clearance, opening a foreign currency bank account, and availing of various government benefits, including exemptions and incentives for exporters.

Why do we need IEC?

IEC is mandated by the Indian government to regulate and monitor international trade activities. It ensures that businesses engaged in importing and exporting goods and services are legally compliant and adhere to government regulations. Without IEC, it's challenging to participate in international trade legally.

Who needs IEC?

Any business or individual in India that intends to engage in the import or export of goods and services requires an IEC. This includes manufacturers, traders, service providers, and even those receiving foreign investments.

Is IEC necessary for online businesses?

Yes, even online businesses involved in cross-border e-commerce or digital services require an IEC. It's essential for legal compliance and conducting international transactions.

How long is an IEC valid?

Typically, an IEC is valid for a period of 1 year. It can be renewed every year to continue import and export activities.

Can an individual obtain an IEC?

Yes, both businesses and individuals can obtain an IEC. It is necessary if they plan to engage in import or export activities.

What happens if I don't renew my IEC on time?

If you don't renew your IEC before the 30th of June each year, it becomes inactive, and you cannot engage in international trade activities. It's crucial to renew it promptly to avoid disruption in your business operations.

Can I apply for IEC online from outside India?

Yes, individuals residing outside India can also apply for IEC online. The application process is accessible to applicants from around the world.

Can I apply for multiple IECs for different businesses?

No, an entity or individual can have only one IEC. If you have multiple businesses, they can be linked to the same IEC.

Is GST necessary while doing IEC?

If I'm running a business below the GST limit, is IEC still required?

The requirement for the Import Export Code (IEC) is independent of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. IEC is necessary for any business or individual involved in import or export activities, regardless of their GST status.   We hope this comprehensive guide has resolved your queries and simplified the journey of obtaining and managing an IEC.  

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