Tips for Successfully Applying for an IEC in India

Tips for Successfully Applying for an IEC in India

Are you an individual or business intending to carry out import or export transactions in India? If yes, you need to apply for an Importer Exporter Code (IEC) first. How to apply for IEC is a common query from most Indian sellers. It is a 10-digit unique code like PAN (Permanent Account Number). 

The DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade), working under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is responsible for issuing IEC codes to applicants. Obtaining an IEC in India has become very simple post-digitization. You need to register and apply on the DGFT official website. 

There is no physical form filling or tedious paperwork involved in applying for it. Even your IEC is sent to you via email rather than being dispatched to your postal address. Hence, the entire process is routed online and is extremely easy.

How to Apply for IEC: Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes

Despite a straightforward process, many applicants tend to make mistakes while applying. This unnecessarily stretches the process. Also, if you don’t fill out the form correctly, you will be prompted to reapply and pay the application fee again. Here are 5 common mistakes to avoid, along with clear directives on how to apply for IEC:-

  1. Not Checking the Eligibility Criteria– Individuals or businesses that do not clear the eligibility requirements should not apply. Also, those who export services that don’t benefit under the Foreign Trade Policy needn’t apply. Before applying, make sure you are eligible under any of the following criteria:-
  • Individuals exporting goods/services from India or importing to India
  • Companies registered under the Companies Act, 2013
  • All eCommerce businesses and GST-registered businesses
  • Proprietorship Firms
  • Partnership Firms
  • Public Limited Companies
  • Private Limited Companies
  1. Submitting Incomplete Documents– Submitting incomplete or wrong documents is the least that can be expected from an applicant. The following documents are required for your IEC online application. Self-attestation is a must before submission. Most applicants who are in a hurry forget to self-attest or upload wrong/incomplete documents. Go through this list of documents carefully to avoid mistakes.
  • Pan Card Copy
  • Passport Size Photograph
  • Bank certificate or canceled cheque
  • ID Proof- Aadhaar Card/Passport/Voter ID/ Driving License
  • Address Proof of Business Premises- Rent Agreement or Utility Bills
  • Current Account Statement 
  • GST Certificate for Businesses
  • Other Business Documents as Applicable (Certificate of Incorporation, MOA, and so on)
  1. Providing Inaccurate Information– Incorrect or incomplete information on your application form can lead to rejection. Take your time to fill out the form correctly. The following details are required:-
  • Name and Address of Applicant
  • Status- Individual or Business
  • Authorized Signatory Details in Case of Businesses
  • Business Details
  • Bank Account Details
  • Email ID and Mobile Number

Make sure the email id and mobile number provided are active. OTP and notifications will be sent to your registered mobile number. The IEC will be sent to the email address you provided.

  1. Taking The Wrong Steps During The Application Process– Uploading the wrong file size of scanned documents, not paying the application fee timely, providing invalid contact details, or forgetting your user ID/password are possible glitches that can obstruct your IEC online application.
  2. Not Renewing/Updating IEC Periodically– Earlier, an IEC, once allotted, would have lifetime validity and didn’t require renewal. Even now, the code allotted to you is distinct and won’t be changed lifelong. But It has to be updated or renewed every year between April and June on the DGFT website. Else, the code will become inactive and you won’t be able to use it for import/export transactions.


Always pay keen attention to detail to ensure a hassle-free IEC application process in India. Go through the DGFT mandates and form-filling instructions carefully. Collect and scan the required documents beforehand to save time. The previous norm was that your IEC didn’t require renewal. However, as per the latest DGFT guidelines, importers/exporters must ensure timely updates and renewal of their IEC every year. Lastly, always keep an eye on the latest IEC regulations on the DGFT website.


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