Online Importer Exporter Code Registration – An Overview

Import Export (IE) Code is a 10 digit code issued by DGFT – Director General of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India to Indian Companies. It is a registration required for persons importing or exporting goods and services from India.

It is mandatory for all importers to mention their IE Code while clearing customs when their goods arrive in India. Similarly, all exporters must mention their IE Code while exporting their goods from India. Additionally, the Reserve Bank of India has made it compulsory for all the traders to mention IE code while making a payment transfer to a foreign bank account. Therefore, the IE Code is essentially required for anyone involved in import or export in India.

IE Code once issued can be used by the entity throughout its existence and do not require any renewal or filing. Therefore, it is recommended for most organizations to obtain IE Code, irrespective of if they need it at the moment

Who Can Apply?

Sole proprietors, Partnerships or Private limited companies dealing in import and exports of goods need to have an import-export code mandatorily. It is not necessary to set up a business for the same. All sellers need to register for the IEC number irrespective of the size of their business. However, IE code is not required for Import/export of goods for personal use, which is not connected with trade, manufacture or agriculture. Also, government ministries and certain charitable organizations can import and export goods without IEC registration.

What is the process of obtaining IE code registration?

For obtaining an IE code registration, an online application has to be made to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade along with the necessary supporting documents.

Once, the application is submitted, the department will issue the IE Code for the entity within 10-15 business days.

One important thing to be kept in mind is that the Permanent Account Number (PAN) is pre-requisite for grant of an IEC. Also, the department only issues one IEC against a particular PAN.

What are the documents required for making an application for IE code?


  • PAN
  • Government identity proof copy (Driving license/Aadhar/Voter ID)
  • Incorporation certificate/Partnership deed
  • Personal/Company/Firm current bank account canceled cheque copy
  • Address proof (Electricity bill/Rent Agreement/Sale deed of the premise)

What are the benefits of having IE code?

The IEC registration helps the traders in introducing their products and services into the global market.

Once you receive your IE code you can avail benefits under government schemes such as the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) or Service Export from India Scheme (SEIS).

The documents required for the process are easy to gather.

The IEC registration is valid for lifetime and there is no requirement of renewal of the code.

There are no mandatory compliances or annual maintenance fee for IEC Registration.

Once the traders have received the IE code, there is no requirement of filing of annual or monthly returns tax returns related to the exports.