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How to apply for an Import Export license in India

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Published Date:
April 20, 2023
Logistics warehousing India

What is Import and Export?

An item that's exchanged or sold from a party in one nation to a party in another nation is an export from the originating nation, and an import to the nation accepting that item. Trading globally may allow customers and nations the opportunity to be exposed to new markets and items.

Importing raw materials and merchandise is one of the ways of increasing the benefit margins. The importer can have the much cheaper items from the outside market due to low labor cost, low charges etc. in terms of quality, the importer can have the higher quality merchandise. An importer can get to the regionally exclusive assets and cheap labor for creating the products. These resources are required within the fabricating process that have specialized skills and can be found in certain nations. For example, in electronic things, Japanese individuals are exceedingly productive and manufacturers in UK utilize the expertise from Japanese showcase for creating merchandise.

There's low investment requirement in exporting of products than the other modes of international exchange and extension of such foreign direct investment.

Why you need import and export license in India?

In India, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry plays a crucial role in regulating the import and export of goods. To engage in this international trade, individuals and businesses are required to obtain Importer Exporter Code (IEC) certificates, also known as import and export licenses. This requirement serves various important purposes:

Compliance with Regulations: Getting an Importer-Exporter Code (IEC) is a must for individuals and businesses involved in trading goods and services across borders. This helps the government keep track and control the flow of goods in and out of the country.

Customs Authorization: When going through customs, importers and exporters must provide their IEC details to customs authorities. If you don't have a valid IEC, it can cause delays or denials during customs clearance.

Foreign Currency Oversight: Banks and financial institutions use the IEC to keep an eye on and manage foreign currency transactions related to international trade. This makes it easier to receive earnings in foreign currency and make payments for imported goods.

Compilation of Statistical Information: The government uses IEC information to gather important data about foreign trade. This data is crucial for making economic plans, forming policies, and keeping an eye on trade imbalances.

Government Advantages: Having a valid IEC can make businesses eligible for government incentives, benefits, and programs aimed at supporting international trade. These can include export rewards, duty refunds, and benefits outlined in the Foreign Trade Policy.

Global Credibility: An IEC shows that a business is registered with the government and has been checked thoroughly. This builds trust among international partners and boosts the credibility of businesses involved in international trade.

Banking Transactions: Banks often require an IEC for handling various international transactions, like setting up and maintaining foreign currency accounts, obtaining trade credits, and following Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines.

Legally Mandated Requirement: According to the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act of 1992 and India's Foreign Trade Policy, individuals and businesses must get an IEC certificate if they plan to engage in importing or exporting goods and services.

List of documents to be attached with the application form for an Export License

  • ANF-1 form, which includes the 'Profile of Exporter and Importer,' and ANF-2N form for the Export License of restricted items.
  • A copy of the purchase order/import order from the foreign purchaser or a contract agreement between the two parties.
  • Evidence of online payment for the application fee.
  • A photocopy of the PAN Card.
  • A copy of an identity proof document.
  • Valid address proof
  • A bank certificate or a canceled cheque
  • If the property is rented, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) may be required.

How to get Import Export license in India?

The first step to get into import export market is the license to trade. The below steps explain the procedure to acquire import export (IEC) license in India.

Import Export License:

If you want to do international trade i.e. Import/ Export business, import Export License is mandatory. You have to apply for import Export code through Directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) portal.

The Import Export Code is issued by The Director General of Foreign Trade, and it is basically a 10-digit code that's substantial for the lifetime of the trade. Importers will not be permitted to import commodities if they don't have the Import Export Code, and exporters will not be able to claim export benefits unless they have an Import Export Code.

What does Import Export License require?

  • In custom clearance of imported good and for exporting product
  • In Bill of Exchange & for receiving payment of exported product from bank

How to apply for New IEC

Basic instructions to be followed:

  • Firm’s name, Date of incorporation should be same as per Firm’s PAN.
  • Name of Director and Date of birth should be same in both Aadhar card and PAN card.
  • Account holder name should be same as Firm’s Name.
  • For Aadhar-e-sign in last step, use virtual id or Aadhar number of Firm’s Employer.

Steps by step procedure to get apply for import export license:

  • First of all, you have to register on the portal for that you would require,
    • Valid email Id and mobile number,
    • Continue internet connectivity.
  • You have to Click on Login available on the right corner of DGFT portal.
  • Select register and enter the registration details.
  • After receiving OTP on given mobile no and mail id, enter into given block and complete registration process.
  • You will receive a mail containing temporary password. Please reset password on your first login.
  • After login click on Apply IEC.
  • You can proceed with start fresh application or with existing application if you have saved draft
  • Fill all required details in the General Information Segment. 
  • All the Mandatory areas have been checked with a Ruddy Bullet (*). The Draft will only be saved in case the Required details within the “Basic Details” Area and “Firm Address Details” Area.
    • Nature of concern/ firm
    • Firm name (as per PAN)
    • Firm’s PAN
    • Date of incorporation
    • Category of exporter
    • Firm Mobile No. (For correspondence with DGFT)- will be verified sending by OTP. It can be updated.
    • Firm email id (For correspondence with DGFT)- will be verified sending by OTP. It can be updated.
    • GSTIN
    • proof of establishment/incorporation/registration for the given entity. This supporting record is required for Partnership, Registered Society, Trust, HUF, Others.
  • Firm address
    • Address
    • Pin code
    • City
    • State
    • District
    • Jurisdictional DGFT RA (will be selected automatically)
  • Address proof: This can be any of the following.
    • Sale Deed, rent agreement, lease deed, electricity bill, telephone landline bill, mobile, postpaid bill, MoU.
    • Other acceptable documents (for proprietorship only): Aadhar card, passport, voter id.
    • In case the address proof isn't in the name of the candidate firm, a no-objection certificate (NOC) by the firm premise’s owner in favor of the firm in conjunction with the address proof may be submitted.
  • Branch details if any
    • Enter GSTIN number,
    • Address-
    • City,
    • Pin code of the branch(es) linked with the above importer exporter code.
    • After filling all mandatory details. Click on Save and NEXT (given in the bottom right corner). You will move to the next section.
  • Details of proprietor/partner/ Director/Karta/Managing Trustee” Section
    • PAN (director)
    • Name (As per PAN Database)
    • Date of Birth
    • Enter Name,
    • Father Name
    • Address
    • Mobile number
    • If the Director is a foreign national, tick the check box.
  • Bank details:
    • Proof of firm’s bank account
    • Account Number
    • Account Holder Name- The Account Holder name should be same as Firm Name.
    • IFSC code
    • Bank Name
    • Branch Name
    • cancelled cheque(proof)/ bank Certificate.
    • Other Details (Preferred sectors of operations)
  • Read and accept the declaration.
    • Tick the box as acknowledgment of declaration/undertaking and fill in the details below.
    • Fill place and Date.
  • Check the Application Summary
  • Click on Sign option to sign the application using digital token or Aadhaar.
    • Select Ok and you will be directed to next page with the signing option.
    • You will get two options to sign the application form, one is through Aadhar-e-sign and second is through digital signature certificate. Proceed with any one option as per your convenience for signing the application form.
  • If you are opting for Aadhar-e- sign,
    • A window will open for Aadhar Based e-Authentication on outside site.
    • Enter your virtual id or Aadhar number and tap Get OTP button.
    • You may get OTP on your number enrolled with Aadhar office.
    • Enter OTP and tap on submit button.
  • After signing the application, Confirm and proceed to make the payment against application.

Final words

The commitment to adhering to legal regulations, being vigilant about updates, and seeking expert guidance when needed are all critical factors that contribute to a seamless experience in acquiring an Import Export license. As businesses become equipped with this license, they unlock the doors to a world of trade possibilities, contributing to their growth, diversification, and integration into the global marketplace.

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