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The Import Export Code, aka Importer Exporter Code and IEC, is a key business identification number that a person must obtain before starting an import-export business. No one can make any import or export without getting this 10-digit code which is granted by the DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade). For example, if you are exporting organic chemicals from India to another country, you won’t be allowed to do so without an IEC license.

How to obtain IEC?

The Import Export Code is allotted either on an Individual’s PAN Number or a company’s PAN Number. Using this code, you can import and/or export the goods/services, and also avail several benefits offered by the DGFT. IEC can be applied on behalf of any of the following – “Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Company, Trust, LLP, HUF, and Society.

Earlier, the process for obtaining IEC code was slightly long-drawn. Individuals needed to submit a digital signature while applying for an IEC code online. As the complicated process led to confusion, the DGFT made significant changes to the process. Since the PAN is now the IEC code, an individual can obtain only one IEC code against one PAN number.

Documents required to obtain IEC

Other than adhering to certain pre-requisites, you’ll be required to submit the following documents while applying for IEC.

  • A cancelled cheque
  • Proof of address (any of the following)
    • Aadhar Card
    • Passport
    • Voter Id
    • Rent agreement
    • Sale Deed
    • Lease Deed
    • MOU Partnership Deed
    • Electricity bill
    • Telephone Landline bill
    • Mobile Postpaid bill
Step-by-step process to apply for Importer Exporter Code (IEC)
  • Visit the official DRDC website by clicking here.
  • Click on ‘Apply for IEC’.
  • Fill in all the details to register as a new user.
  • You will receive an OTP on your mobile number and another OTP on your email id for two-way verification.
  • Once the verification of the mobile number and email id is done, you will receive a username and password to your registered email id. Use the credentials to log in to your account.
  • After logging in, select ‘Apply IEC’.
  • Click on ‘Start Fresh Application’.
  • Fill in the details and upload the required documents.
  • After submitting your application, pay the application fee of ₹500.
  • Post-approval, you will receive the IEC certificate in your registered email.

Once you have received the IEC code, you can engage in the import and export business.