Importer - Exporter Code (IEC): How to apply for IEC

What is IEC (Importer Exporter Code)?

Importer Exporter Code (IEC) is a 10-digit key business Identification number issued by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) which is mandatory for exports or imports. No export or import shall be made by any person without obtaining an IEC unless specifically exempted.

Benefits of Import Export Code Registration

IEC forms the primary document for recognition by the Government of India as an exporter/importer. On the basis of IEC, businesses can obtain various benefits on their exports/imports from the DGFT, customs, Export Promotion Council, etc.

Access to government schemes and incentives

The Government offers a number of schemes and incentives to businesses that are registered with the DGFT. These schemes can provide financial assistance, tax breaks and other benefits.

Ability to import and export goods

An IEC registration is required for all businesses that want to import or export goods. Without an IEC registration, you will not be able to clear your goods through customs.

Increased credibility

An IEC registration shows that your business is legitimate and that you are compliant with government regulations. This can help you to gain the trust of your customers, suppliers, financial and banking partners.

Ease of doing business

The IEC registration process is relatively simple and straightforward. Once you have registered, you will be able to import and export goods with ease.

Opportunities for growth

An IEC registration can open up new opportunities for your business. You will be able to access new markets and suppliers and you will be able to grow your business into a global enterprise.

Additional benefits of obtaining IEC code for businesses

  • Reduced risk of fraud: An IEC registration helps reduce the risk of fraud in import and export transactions. This is because the IEC number is unique to each business and it is used to track all import and export transactions.
  • Improved compliance: An IEC registration helps businesses comply with government regulations on import and export. This is because the DGFT provides regular updates on foreign trade regulations and businesses with IEC registrations are required to comply with these regulations.
  • Enhanced customer service: An IEC registration can help businesses to provide better customer service. This is because businesses with an IEC registration are able to process import and export transactions more quickly and efficiently. One has to remember that without an IEC, import and export for business purposes will not be possible. 
Seasonal guide for eBay sellers

Using IEC Code in Export Documents

The IEC code is required to be mentioned in all export documents, including the following:

Bill of lading

The bill of lading is a document that is issued by the shipping company/logistics service provider to the exporter. It is used to track the shipment of goods and to transfer ownership of the goods from the exporter to the importer. The IEC code must be mentioned in the bill of lading in the “Exporter Details” section.

Commercial invoice

The commercial invoice is a document that is issued by the exporter to the importer. It is used to list the goods that are being exported, the quantity, the price and the terms of payment. The IEC code must be mentioned in the commercial invoice in the “Exporter Details” section.

Packing list

The packing list is a document that is issued by the exporter to the importer. It is used to list the contents of the shipment and the quantity of each item. The IEC code must be mentioned in the packing list in the “Exporter Details” section.

Customs declaration

The customs declaration is a document that is submitted by the exporter/importer to the customs authorities when goods are imported or exported. It is used to declare the goods that are being imported or exported, the value of the goods and the purpose of the import or export. The IEC code must be mentioned in the customs declaration in the “Exporter Details” section.

Take note

Keep in mind that you need to maintain accuracy and consistency when you are using the IEC (Importer Exporter Code) on your export documents. Any type of errors or discrepancies can lead to delays in customs clearance or other trade-related issues.

Eligibility Criteria To Apply For Import Export Code (IEC)

IEC may be applied on behalf of a firm which may be a proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, limited company, trust, Hindu undivided family or society. Firm must have a PAN, bank account in the name of the firm and a valid address before applying. Address may be physically verified by the DGFT on issuance of the IEC. Please keep your PAN, bank details and firm details ready before applying.

Who should register for IEC

The following are the types of persons who will mandatorily need an IEC: 

  • Everyone who wants to import or export goods for business purposes.
  • Service provider serving clients abroad. However, for export of services, IEC shall not be necessary except when the service provider is availing of benefits under the Foreign Trade Policy.

Required Documents for IEC:

Set out below are the documents which are necessary to obtain an IEC: 

  • PAN card of individual or business entity
  • Voter Id/ Aadhar card/ Passport of the individual
  • Photo of the applicant
  • Bank certificate in the prescribed format ANF-2A(I) and a canceled cheque bearing pre-printed name of individual or business entity
  • Certification of incorporation and address proof in case of company
  • Copy of rent agreement or electricity bill copy of the premise

For more information on the required documents, please visit

Step-by-step guide on how to apply for IEC

Below is systematic process for applying for an IEC: 

A) First you need to register on the DGFT site by following the below-mentioned steps: 

Step 1

Visit the DGFT website and proceed with the registration process


Step 2

Enter the registration details


Step 3

Enter the OTPs received on email and mobile number


Step 4

Upon successful validation of the OTP, you will receive a notification containing the temporary password which you need to change upon first login

B) After you have successfully registered, you can proceed with applying for the Importer Exporter Code (IEC). 


Visit the DGFT website and login into the portal with valid credentials.


After login, click on “Apply for IEC” on the Dashboard


Click on “Start Fresh Application” button or click on “Proceed with Existing Application” button in case you have already saved a draft application.


Enter the details in the General Information Section. All mandatory fields have been marked with a red asterisk (*). The draft will only be saved if mandatory details in the “Basic Details” section and “Firm Address Details” section have been added completely.


Enter the details in the “Details of Proprietor / Partner / Director / Karta / Managing / Trustee“ section.


Enter the details in the “Bank Account Details” section


Enter the details in the “Other Details (Exports Sectors preferred)” section. Select the reason and answer the question “Why you are applying for IEC or where this IEC will be utilized”


Read and accept the Declaration. Under the Declaration, accept the terms and conditions by clicking on the check box and enter the place where you are making the application from. 


Check the Application Summary and click on “Sign” button to sign the application using a digital token or Aadhaar.


Confirm and proceed to make the payment against the application. For payment, you will be redirected to a payment gateway (Bharatkosh). The application fee is Rs.500. After successful payment, the page will be redirected to the DGFT website and the receipt will be displayed. You can also download the receipt. In case of failure of payment, please wait for an hour to reflect the payment from the payment gateway.

How to update IEC Code

If you already have an existing IEC, then follow the steps below to link your old IEC in the system

  • Log on to the DGFT website (
  • Proceed with registration process by clicking on Login > Register > Register as “Importer/Exporter”
  • After registration, go to Services > Link IEC
  • Enter IEC number and click on Validate button
  • A valid DSC (Digital Signature Certificate) is required
  • Once the validation completes, click on Validate with DSC / e-Sign with Aadhaar Card
  • Once linked, you can add additional users as primary or secondary users to an IEC.

If you wish to modify your existing IEC then follow these steps

  • Log on to the DGFT website (
  • Proceed with registration process by clicking on Login > Register
  • After registration, go to Services > Manage IEC
  • Enter IEC number and click on Validate
  • Once the validation completes, click on Validate with DSC
  • Once linked, click on Modify IEC
  • You can change your registered mobile and email ID

What is the technical requirement to link an IEC?

  • Valid digital signature token
  • Valid mobile number and email id

Consequences of not updating IEC / Inactive IEC

It is mandatory to ensure that your Importer Exporter Code (IEC) is updated or stays active. Non-updation can lead to various setbacks such as:

  • Legal and regulatory issues
  • Disruptions to your export or import activities
  • Missed opportunities to participate in trade-related programs
  • Customs scrutiny of shipments from businesses with outdated or incorrect IEC information 
  • Issues with banking and financial transactions for international trade-related financial operations
  • Negative impact on your business credibility 

Therefore, please keep your IEC details up-to-date on the DGFT portal. 

For more accurate and updated information, please consult a professional on foreign trade compliance. E.g. Vakilsearch ( provides professional foreign trade and regulatory advice.* You can also visit: and complete the registration process. 

Processing time and fees for international trade documents

Set out below are Vakilsearch’s fees and timelines for assisting you in obtaining the following international trade documents:

S.No.DetailsTotal Cost in INR (exclusive of government fees/ charges and taxes)Turn Around Time
1PAN application46010 to 15 days
2GSTIN application3538 to 10 days
3IEC Code application12088 to 10 days
*Disclaimer: eBay provides a marketplace platform that enables eBay users to offer, sell and/or buy products. Please note that the vendor(s) listed above is an independent service provider(s) and engaged by eBay to provide sellers assistance to procure their IEC, PAN and GSTIN numbers. While the above service provider(s) may provide its advice or guidance, such advice or guidance is solely informational and you may decide to follow it or not. eBay has no control over the above service provider(s) and does not guarantee that the above service provider(s) will enable sellers to sell items. You shall not hold eBay or its affiliates, or it or their directors, employees, officers and representatives, liable for use of the above service provider(s)’s services. You must not disclose any of your confidential or sensitive information in any manner whatsoever to the above service provider(s). eBay takes no responsibility and assumes no liability in any manner whatsoever, for any loss or damage arising from or relating to the services provided by the above service provider(s) and availed by you, at your sole and absolute discretion, for your eBay selling accounts or otherwise.

NOTE: Set of required documents may vary as per the business type.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I update my IEC code?

  • Log on to the DGFT website (
  • Proceed with registration process by clicking on Login > Register
  • After registration, go to Services > Manage IEC
  • Enter IEC number and click on Validate
  • Validation by DSC can happen only after registering DSC on CP
  • Once the validation completes, click on Validate with DSC
  • Once linked, you can modify details in IEC

Is it mandatory to update IEC code?

Yes, it is mandatory to keep the IEC details up-to-date on the DGFT portal.

When should I update my IEC online?

It needs to be updated and renewed every year between April to June.

How much does it cost to update IEC code?

There is no cost to update/renew the IEC.

Can I apply for the IEC online?

What are the requirements to apply for IEC?

  • valid digital signatures token
  • valid PAN
  • valid mobile number and email id.
  • valid address details of branch office
  • valid bank account in the name of IEC holder
  • valid Aadhaar card matching the details with PAN card

How much does it cost to apply for IEC?

The application fee is Rs.500. Please visit for the latest update 

What is an online IEC application?

IEC online application means you simply visit the DGFT website ( and click on “Apply for IEC” tab to apply for the Importer Exporter Code (IEC)

Can I use my IEC code for multiple businesses?

Only one IEC is issued against a single PAN. This means if the multiple business entities hold the same PAN, then you can use a single IEC for all of them. However, if there are different PAN for each business entity, then you need to have a different IEC for each business. 

Is it necessary to renew an IEC code after its validity period expires?

IEC has a lifetime validity. However, it is important that the IEC is renewed every year between April to June to keep it active. Non-renewal will lead to the deactivation of IEC.

Can an IEC code be cancelled or suspended? If yes, under what circumstances?

Yes. To know more, please visit

How can I check the status of my IEC application?

  • Log on to the DGFT website (
  • Go to My Dashboard > Importer Exporter Code (IEC) > Apply for IEC.
  • If your application has been approved, it should be in the list. If not, then your application may still be under process.

Is it possible to apply for an IEC code offline?

Yes, you can apply for an IEC offline. Download the ANF 2A form from the DGFT website. Fill out the form with all the required details and ensure that the appropriate documents are attached. Send the form and documents to the nearest DGFT regional office. The DGFT will process your application and issue an IEC certificate to you.

Is an IEC code mandatory for import/export of goods for personal use?

IEC is only mandatory for businesses and commercial purposes.