Understanding the Importer and Exporter Code (IEC)

Hailing from a nation that’s piling doctors and engineers upon one another in an almost treacherous fashion, the understanding and appreciation of entrepreneurship is slowly fading away- you just don’t hear youngsters these days call themselves businessmen. The value of import and export of goods between countries is attributed not only to the economic well being of the nations involved but also in playing an important role in forging important international relations. Here’s to achieving that and bringing about a much needed boost to the business sector in our country-one step at a time.


This is a trade enabling code that as the name suggests, facilitates the international import and export of goods on a commercial basis. This can be issued to an individual or a company depending on the nature of the business under the Foreign Trade Act of 1992. It comprises of 10 digits, each IEC being unique to those it is being issued for and is compulsory for anyone wishing to carrying out a commercial import or export internationally in India. This applies to goods as well as services as enlisted by the government. IEC is not a necessary factor when one sends or receives products on a personal, non commercial basis or if the transaction is domestic. It is issued to only those who have a bank account. All of these phrases that are more commonly used are in fact describing the IEC- the Import Export License, Import License, Export License, Import Number, Export Number, etc.


The IEC is issued on the basis of the Permanent Account Number which is a unique identification provided to taxpayers to authenticate the process. Hence the IEC does not need any renewal, can be cancelled when needed and is applicable to multiple branches of a company. The IEC does not require any filing or returns.


If applied for online (e-IEC), digital copies are constantly available to be downloaded and printed as necessary on the IEC portal -however, those who have applied for this physically have to apply again digitally and obtain the certification again in the electronic format. The modifications on the IEC are tedious process and that can only be done online. All the required documentation is submitted again with the changes indicated as required.


  • Bank Certificate / Cancelled Cheque in prescribed format
  • PAN Card (Prop. or Entity)
  • Office Address Proof- Sale deed/Rent agreement/Electricity bill/Telephone bill/Water Bill/NOC
  • Individual’s Identity Proof- Passport/Voter Id/Driving License/AADHAR Card (Any one)
  • Constitutional Document (PAN Card/Partnership Deed/Certificate of Incorporation)