Freight 101 Library

Export procedure for India: IEC code 2024

What is the IEC code?

Shipping to or from India?

One thing you’ll need is an IEC code, or Importer Exporter Code, a unique 10-digit identification number issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in India. 

How do you get an IEC code? What other regulations and documentation do you need to know about when importing and exporting from India?

Read on to find out. 

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Regulatory landscape for Indian trade

Here are some key regulations and laws relevant to importers and exporters from India:

The Customs Act of 1962 

The Customs Act provides the legal framework for customs clearance, valuation of goods, and enforcement of customs laws. More specifically, it:

  • Regulates the import and export of goods
  • Assesses customs duties
  • Prevents illegal trade practices

The Customs Tariff Act of 1975

The Customs Tariff Act provides guidelines for classifying goods and determining customs duty rates for imports to India.

Foreign Trade Policy (FTP)

The FTP is a comprehensive document detailing India’s approach to international trade. It outlines provisions for exports and imports and gives guidelines for exporters to make the most of policies like the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL).

The FTP mandates the requirement of an IEC for cross-border trade in India.

IEC code India

Importing into India: procedures and considerations

Let’s take a look at the procedures you should know when importing to India:

Classification of goods

It’s important to determine the correct HS code for your imported goods to determine applicable customs duties and taxes. Your freight forwarder can help you find the most accurate and cost-effective code for your shipment. 

Timely payment of customs duty

To ensure your goods are released in a timely fashion, make sure to get your customs duties and taxes paid on time. Speak to your customs broker for help keeping your payments running smoothly. 

Licensing and permits

Before importing to India, speak to your forwarder to see if your specific goods require any licenses or permits. Certain products may be subject to additional regulations, so obtaining the necessary permits ensures compliance with Indian laws. 

India’s import and export documentation checklist

For smooth shipping to or from India, make sure you have the following documentation: 

  • Importer Exporter Code: ensure you have a valid IEC before starting any import or export transactions
  • Bill of Entry: accurately prepare and submit the Bill of Entry to facilitate customs processing
  • Bill of Lading: obtain a Bill of Lading from the shipping carrier upon shipment
  • Commercial invoice: ensure the commercial invoice includes accurate information about the goods, their value, and terms of sale
  • Packing list: prepare a detailed packing list to aid in proper handling and inspection
  • Shipping bill: submit a filled and signed shipping bill for export consignments
  • Certificate of Origin: obtain and provide a Certificate of Origin when required to benefit from trade agreements
  • Import license: check if your imported goods require a specific import license 

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Steps for IEC (Import/Export Code) registration

Here are the key steps involved in the IEC registration process:

  1. Visit the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) official website
  2. In the website’s navigation bar, locate and select the “Services” section.
  3. Under the “Services” section, choose “IEC Profile Management” from the dropdown list.
  4. Click on “Apply for IEC”
  5. Login or register as a new user
  6. Complete the application form with details about your business and partners.
  7. Upload essential documents such as an Aadhar card (as address proof), a canceled check from the bank, business proof (GST registration or incorporation certificate), and a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)
  8. A payment form will appear on your screen. Enter the required amount and submit. Various payment portals will be available – choose the appropriate one to make the payment.
  9. After completing all the above steps, preview your application form. Print it for official record purposes. If discrepancies are found, go back and make necessary changes.

Your IEC will be generated after verification and approval by the DGFT. The timeline for this process can vary.

export and import license in India

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