AD Code (Authorized Dealer): A Step-by-Step Guide to Registration and Format

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What is Authorized Dealer code (AD Code)?

Authorized Dealer code or also known as the AD Code is a unique 14-digit numeric code which is provided by the bank to sellers where they hold their current account for their import and export business from India. It is important to note that the AD Code can be granted only by those banks that deal in foreign currencies or who are authorised dealers in forex banking. 

Remember: If you have an import and export business, you need to bear in mind that the AD Code is provided by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) hence this will vary for each authorized bank or even from one branch to another of the same bank. This code is used for all import and export transactions to get the required customs clearance. 

Your bank will issue the needed document i.e., the AD Code as per the format specified by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on the bank’s letterhead. This code can only be obtained after successful registration for an Import Export Code (IEC) through the  DGFT.

Importance of AD Code in Import-Export Business

The AD Code, or Authorized Dealer Code, one of the most important aspects with regards to the import and export business, particularly in the context of selling internationally from India. Here is a sample list on why this code is important:

1. Unique Numeric Identification:

The AD Code serves as a unique numeric identification number for businesses involved in import and export transactions.  

2. Importer Exporter Code (IEC) Linked:

The AD Code is closely linked with the Import Export Code (IEC) since this would be available only after IEC registration.  The AD Code is often used in combination with the IEC for customs and regulatory purposes.

3. Foreign Exchange Transactions:

The AD Code forms an important part in facilitating foreign exchange transactions. As a exporter/importer, you will need this code to undertake international transactions and stay compliant with foreign exchange regulations.

4. Customs Clearance:

The AD Code is a key requirement for customs clearance. When importing or exporting goods, customs authorities use this to track and verify transactions in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. In absence of an AD Code registration, the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system, which is a part of the ICEGATE Portal (Customs National Trade Portal) will not allow the shipping bill number to be generated. 

5. Monitoring and Compliance:

The AD Code allows regulatory authorities to observe and control trading activities done internationally. By linking transactions with these types of unique codes, the regulatory authorities can track the flow of goods, ensure compliance with foreign trade policies, and also help prevent any type of illegal or unauthorized transactions.

6. Banking Transactions:

With an AD Code, businesses are able to engage in international trade-related banking transactions. It enables the flow of funds for importing goods, making payments, and receiving payments from foreign buyers.

7. Record Keeping:

The AD Code is used in record-keeping and documentation related to foreign trade transactions. 

8. Legal Compliance:

Obtaining and using the AD Code is a legal requirement, and its mandatory for businesses engaging in import-export activities to adhere to this regulation. Non-adherence can lead to obstacles in conducting international transactions and legal consequences.

Lastly, an AD Code also helps exporters avail benefits under government schemes for exports, if any. These credits directly get deposited in the exporter’s current account. 

How to Apply for AD Code?

The AD Code registration comes with a lifetime validity which means you do not have to worry about renewing the registration every time, except in situations there are changes in your bank account. Also, it is necessary that you obtain an AD Code for all the ports that your shipment will travel through.

Here’s what you need to do to apply for the AD Code:

  1. Visit your bank personally where you have your business account (current account)
  2. Speak to them about your requirement for the issuance of the AD Code
  3. Submit the written request (as per the format shared by your bank) requesting the bank to issue the AD Code against your business account
  4. Make sure the request is addressed to the bank/branch manager
  5. The AD Code should be issued on the bank’s letterhead in the Directorate General of Foreign Trade format
  6. Once you have received the AD Code letter you would need to complete the registration process on the ICEGATE portal

Also read: A Comprehensive Guide to Exporting Products from India

Documents required for AD Code registration

The documents required for the AD Code registration may differ depending on your bank and the type of your business entity. However here is a list of some of the documents that you would need to be ready with for the registration process:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of address
  • IEC registration certificate
  • Bank account details
  • GSTIN certificate
  • AD Code on the bank’s letterhead

AD Code registration process

The AD Code registration process can be easily completed by you via the ICEGATE portal. Here are the steps:

  • Visit
  • Login with your credentials i.e. login ID and password
  • Click on the tab “Bank Account”. 
  • Select “Foreign Remittance Account (authorised dealer code)”. The foreign remittances account will show the declaration of banks used for making foreign remittances.
  • Click on “Add New Bank Account” button. User needs to provide details including – Bank Name, Branch Name, Ad Code, Bank Account Number, Custom Location, Doc Type, IRN, and Upload Proof Document.
  • Click on <Verify> button.
  • Based on the entered details, the system will auto-populate the AD Code under IRN. Click on the <Submit> button.

Note: It is important to register all your port locations, in case not done earlier.  

AD Code registration fees

There are no fees for completing the AD Code registration directly on the ICEGATE portal as an exporter from India.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs to obtain an AD Code?

AD Code is one of the mandatory documents for all businesses which are dealing in international transactions.

How long does it take to get an AD Code?

This may vary depending on the customs port and the volume received at the portal for registration. However, it only takes a few days. 

What is the validity period of an AD Code?

AD Code has a lifetime validity

Do I need to renew my AD Code?

No, unless there is a change in the bank account