Documents Required For IEC Code

A Closer Look at : Documents Required For IEC Code

Businesses of all sizes are continuously looking for new opportunities for growth and expansion in today’s interconnected global economy. An Importer Exporter Code (IEC) is a prerequisite for starting international business initiatives in several nations, including India. But getting an IEC code is just the beginning. The path to effective international trade entails a maze of paperwork, each of which is essential to facilitating cross-border trade. In this article, we will disentangle the complicated web of paperwork needed for an IEC code, providing businesses with a thorough manual to help them confidently negotiate the challenges of global trade.

The Significance and Purpose of IEC

Importer Exporter Code is referred to as IEC. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) of India provided the 10-digit code. The main goals of the IEC code are to ease and control global trade. It is important for the reasons listed below

  • The IEC code acts as a special identifier for companies involved in the import and export of products and services. Any company or person wishing to do cross-border business must have it.
  • IEC codes are used by customs officials to track and process cargo at the border. It assists in ensuring that the appropriate items are being delivered to the appropriate parties and assists in preventing unauthorized or illegal trade activity.
  • It is forbidden to conduct import and export business in India without the IEC code. A company or individual cannot do international commerce without it.
  • To handle foreign exchange transactions relating to international trade, banks need the IEC code. Businesses must settle transactions with international suppliers and accept payments in foreign currencies.
  •   Only entities having a valid IEC code are eligible for some government programs and perks connected to import and export. The government uses this code to monitor statistics and trade activity.
  • The IEC code gives Indian companies visibility on the international market. Foreign organizations utilize it to confirm the legitimacy of Indian exporters and providers.

For Indian firms engaged in foreign trade, the IEC code is a key document. It makes it easier to follow the law, guarantees trade activity transparency, and promotes the seamless movement of products and services across international borders.

Read More : How to Select a Product for Export Business ?

Who Needs IEC Code and Why

It is required by individuals or businesses engaged in international trade. 

Below is a list of who needs an IEC code

  • Importers : To import goods and services from foreign nations, any individual or corporate entity in India needs to obtain an IEC code.
  • Exporters : People or organizations wishing to export goods or services from India to foreign markets also require an IEC code.
  • Manufacturers : A manufacturer needs an IEC code if they intend to export their finished goods or import machinery or raw materials for their manufacturing process.
  • Service Suppliers : You would normally need an IEC code if you were delivering services outside of India and getting payments in foreign currency, regardless of whether you were providing actual goods or services.
  • E-commerce Operators : In order to accept payments in foreign currencies, e-commerce platforms that enable the sale of goods or services from India to international clients need an IEC code.
  • Governmental Agencies : For tasks like customs clearance, certain government departments or organizations would need an IEC code.

Although IEC code is generally necessary for all international commercial activities, there are some exceptions and particular circumstances when it may not be. The IEC code makes customs documents easier to understand and is crucial for keeping track of transactions in international trade.

IEC Code Application process : A Step-by-Step Guide

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The general procedure for obtaining an IEC code in India is

  • Online Application: Visit the DGFT’s official website and navigate to the IEC section.
  • Create an Account : If you don’t already have an account, create one on the DGFT website.
  • Fill the Application Form : Fill out the IEC application form (Aayaat Niryaat Form ANF 2A) completely with all necessary information, including your name, address, phone number, bank account information, and other pertinent details.
  • Attach Documents  : Upload the required paperwork, which usually consists of your PAN card, Aadhar card, passport-sized photo, and a check stub or bank statement.
  • Pay the Fee : Utilize the online payment link provided to pay the application fee. Depending on the type of applicant (person or business) and the application method (online or physical), the fee may change.
  • Submit the Application : After payment, submit the application form electronically.
  • Acknowledgment : Once submitted, you will receive an acknowledgment with a unique Application Reference Number (ARN).
  • Processing : The DGFT will process your application. They may contact you for clarification or additional documents if needed.
  • IEC Issuance : If your application is approved, you will receive the IEC certificate with your unique 10-digit IEC number via email. You can also download it from the DGFT website.

For the most recent information and advice catered to your case, check the DGFT website or speak with a professional. The specific rules and processes may change. Furthermore, the procedure may vary depending on the type of application, such as an individual, a partnership, a company, etc .

Import Export License Documents list

The specific documents required for import and export licenses can vary depending on the country and the nature of the goods being traded.

The general list of common documents that are often required include

For Import

  • Commercial Invoice : A thorough invoice from the vendor to the buyer that contains details on the products, their cost, and the terms of the transaction.
  • Import License : Some nations demand that importers obtain a special import license before bringing in specified products.
  • Bill of Lading : A receipt-like document provided by the carrier that contains information about the shipment of the goods.
  • Packing List : A thorough inventory of the contents of each item in the shipment . 
  • Customs Declaration or Entry Form : The value of the imported products is disclosed in this document.
  • Certificate of Origin :  It verifies the nation from where the items came. It might be necessary for customs purposes or to meet the requirements for some trade agreements.
  • Import Permit : Some products, like firearms or controlled substances, may require special permits.
  • Insurance Certificate : Proof of insurance coverage for the goods during transit.

For Export

  • Export License : For some exports, particularly those with concerns about the environment or national security, exporters must seek a unique export license.
  • Commercial Invoice : It contains information about the items, their value, and the terms of sale, just like the import invoice does.
  • Airway Bill or Bill of Lading : It could be a paper acknowledging the shipment of goods, depending on the form of conveyance.
  • Packaging List : A thorough inventory of the contents of each item in the shipment.
  • Certificate of Origin : Similar to the import certificate, it certifies the country of origin for customs and trade agreement purposes.
  • Export Declaration or Electronic Export Information (EEI) : A form providing information on the export transaction and is often required by customs.
  • Export Permit  : Required for exporting certain restricted goods.
  • Export License for Controlled Items : For items like high-tech electronics or weapons, an additional export license might be needed.
  • Certificate of Inspection : In some cases, this may be required to prove that the goods meet certain quality or safety standards.
  • Insurance Certificate  : Evidence of transit-related insurance coverage.

Depending on the country and the kind of products you are importing or exporting, the specific criteria and papers can differ significantly. It’s crucial to confirm that all required paperwork and laws are being followed with the customs authorities in both your home country and the destination country.

Read More : What are licenses needed for import-export business in India?


For enterprises involved in international trade, obtaining an Importer Exporter Code (IEC) is an essential step. It’s crucial to keep in mind that country-specific documentation needs can change due to regulatory changes, so it’s best to consult with local authorities or experts for the most recent information. However, with the appropriate paperwork in place, companies may expedite their international trade operations and seize chances to expand into new markets.


What are the basic documents required for an IEC code? 

How long does it take to get an IEC code after submitting the documents? 

Is there a fee for applying for an IEC code? 

Is it mandatory to have an IEC code? 

What is the validity period of an IEC code? 

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