IMPORT EXPORT CODE (IEC)

IEC Code

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INTRODUCTION

Globalization has given an enormous opportunity to Indian businesses to reach global markets. Indian businesses not only sell and buy goods and services in India but abroad too. Export and import of goods play a very crucial role in the economy of India. In order to export and import goods outside the country, the regulators have made it mandatory to obtain Import Export Code (IEC).

No one can export and import goods and some specified services without obtaining IEC. Thus, If you are planning to start your business in all over the world, then you have to apply for Import Export Code it is also called IEC.

MEANING

IEC stands for IMPORT EXPORT CODE which contains ten (10) digit alphanumeric numbers. It is a key business identification number issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). DGFT is an attached office of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and is headed by the Director-General of Foreign Trade. After the introduction of GST in India, Import Export Code is the same as the PAN of the entity. Having PAN does not mean you should not apply for IEC. You have to apply for IEC separately.

REQUIREMENT S

In order to export and import goods, It is mandatory to have an IEC. Without IEC, regulators, authorities and banks would not allow you to export and import goods and receive/send funds.

As per the DGFT rules, it is mandatory to obtain an IEC certificate for Import / Export of goods or services. No person shall make any import or export except under an IEC Number granted by the DGFT.

In case of import or export of services or technology, an IEC shall be required only when the service or technology provider is taking benefits under the Foreign Trade Policy or is dealing with specified services or technologies.

ELIGIBILITY TO APPLY

All businesses are eligible to obtain an IEC. The nature of the firm obtaining an IEC may be any of the following:

  • Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Hindu Undivided Family
  • Limited Liability Partnership
  • Limited Company
  • Trust
  • Society

Registration under GST to obtain IEC is not a mandatory condition. A firm/company can apply for an IEC without having GST registration.

VALIDITY

An IEC number allotted to an applicant shall be valid for all its branches. IEC code is valid for 12 months. Earlier IEC code was granted for a lifetime with no requirement to renew it. However, as per the recent amendment of IEC-related provisions vide notification no. 58/2015-2020 dated 12th February, 2021, an IEC holder has to ensure that details in its IEC are updated electronically every year during April – June period. In case of no change in the details, the details of IEC are required to be confirmed online. Thus, IEC is required to be renewed every year.

An IEC shall be deactivated, if it is not updated within the prescribed time. An IEC so de-activated may be activated on its successful updation.

REGISTRATION

The application process for obtaining IEC and updation in IEC is completely online. An applicant may apply for an IEC on the website of DGFT i.e. https://www.dgft.gov.in/CP/.

For obtaining an IEC, government fee  of Rs. 500/- is payable. However, there are no charges for any amendment/changes in the IEC code obtained earlier.

Verification of application can be done through Aadhaar OTP or Digital signatures.

Once the IEC application is duly filled, IEC registration certificate is generated instantly on submission.

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