All entities in India involved in the import or export of goods/services from India would be required to obtain IE Code from the Director General of Foreign Trade.
Importer Exporter Code
Import Export (IE) Code is a registration required for persons importing or exporting goods and services from India. IE Code is issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Government of India. IE Code application must be made to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade along with the necessary supporting documents. Once, the application is submitted, DGFT will issue the IE Code for the entity in 15 – 20 working days or less.
Validity of IE Code
IE Code registration is permanent registration which is valid for a lifetime. Hence, there will be no hassles for updating, filing and renewal of IE Code registration. It is valid until the business exists or the registration is revoked or surrendered. Further, unlike tax registrations like GST registration or PF registration, the importer or exporter does not require to file any filings or follow any other compliance requirement like annual filing.
As IE code registration is one-time and requires no additional compliance, it is recommended for all companies and LLPs to obtain IE code after incorporation.
IE Code Exemption
An Import Export Code is required for import of any type of goods by a business. However, the following category of persons are exempted from obtaining an IE Code:
- Importer and export by central Government or agencies or undertakings for defence purpose or other specified lists under Foreign Trade (exemption from the application of Rules in certain cases) Order, 1993.
- Import or Export of Goods for personal use.
Applying for IE Code
Para 2.08 of the Handbook of Procedure contains provisions relating to the application for IE Code. Vide public notice no. 27/2015-2020 dated 8th August 2018, the said para under-went an amended and the provisions of the amended para as applicable with regard to the application for IEC is provided hereunder –
- Exporters/importers shall file an online application in form ANF 2A.
- The applicant is required to submit only two documents; one is the address proof, and the other is the pre-printed cheque or bank certificate.
- Sale deed, in case the business premises is self-owned; or
- Rental/lease agreement in case the premise is rented/leased; or
- Latest electricity/landline/ mobile bill in the name of the applicant entity; or
- GST registration certificate; or
- In case of a proprietorship, the following proof is valid –
- Aadhar card;
- Voters ID;
It must be noted that the above documents in support of address proof need to be in the name of the firm, however, in case of a proprietorship, the address proof in favour of an individual (i.e. proprietor) is acceptable (Trade notice No. 39/2018-19 dated 12th December 2018).
Documents Required for IE Code Application
The following are the documents required for making an IE Code application in India.
|LLP or Private Limited Company or Section 8 Company||
|Society or Trust||
It is has been clarified vide Trade Notice No. 39/2018-19 dated 12th December 2018 that a cheque without a pre-printed name of the account holder will not be acceptable. Further, the pre-printed cheque can be of savings account or current account. It is to be noted that the above-referred documents need to be uploaded online in digital format-GIF, JPEG and the document size should not exceed 5MB.
Import Export Code Issuance
Once the online application is submitted, along with appropriate fees and requisite documents, IEC will be auto-generated. Intimation regarding allotment of IEC will be sent to an applicant via SMS and E-mail along with a hyperlink through which the e-IEC can be downloaded and printed. The IE Code certificate will only be provided digitally and can be downloaded from the link provided. An e-IEC holder needs to update his profile immediately after issuance of e-IEC. Further, in case of any change to the details mentioned in the IEC or in any other case, the profile update needs to be done at least once in a year, as per para 2.15 of the Handbook of Procedure, 2015-2020.
Though the import-export code is auto-generated, the Regional Authority would conduct post-verification of the online IEC as per the guidelines. In case there is any wrong/incomplete information being furnished, the applicant would be liable for penal/criminal action and in such case, IEC would be either suspended or cancelled.
Persons having import-export code can apply for and obtain RCMC registration. Registration-Cum-Membership Certificate (RCMC) is a certificate that validates an exporter dealing with products registered with an agency/organisation that are authorised by the Indian Government. The certificate is issued for five years by the Export Promotional Councils or commodity board in India. An exporter desiring to obtain an RCMC has to declare his mainstream business in the application. This application would be submitted to the Export Promotion Council/ Commodity Board relating to that line of business.