Under section 7 of the Foreign Trade( Development and Regulation) Act, 1992 the business firm can enter into the business of exports-imports only if it has been allotted Importer-Exporter code number by the competent licensing authority. The chief licensing authority of India is the office of the director general of foreign trade (DGFT) under the ministry of commerce, government of India with its head quarters located at Udyog bhavan, New Delhi.
The regional offices of the DGFT (known as regional licensing authority) are located at different parts of India. The details of the regional offices are given in appendix to the handbook of licensing authority i.e. the competent authority, having territorial jurisdiction over the firm for allotment of the importer-exporter code number. In case, a business firm has head office and branch offices, the application is to be filed by the head office only and the code number allotted to the head office is valid for the branch offices as well.
Procedure for allotment of Importer-Exporter code number
Nature of Importer-Exporter Code Number
The characteristic features of the Importer-Exporter Code (IEC) number are as follows:
1) The IEC number is a pre-condition for exports from and imports into India.
2) It represents registration of the business firm with the trade control authority i.e. DGFT.
3) There is no period of expiry of the IEC number. It remains valid till it is cancelled/suspended by the regional licensing authority.
4) This registration does not entail any export obligation to be fulfilled by the IEC number holder.
5) The IEC number holder has to report to the regional licensing authority within a period of 60 days any modification involving the change of its name, dress and constitution. The modification in the constitution would include change from sole proprietorship to partnership, change in the composition of the partners, change of partnership into a private limited company and from a private limited company to a public limited company.
6) The IEC number allotted to the head office of a firm/Company is applicable to its branch offices also.
How to Apply for the Allotment of IEC Number
A business firm should submit the following documents to the Regional Licensing Authority having jurisdiction over the firm for the allotment of Importer-Exporter code number.
1) Application form for allotment of Importer-Exporter code number and modification in the particulars of an existing IEC holder (Appendix3) in duplicate.
2) Bank draft for an amount of Rs. 1000 drawn in favor of Regional licensing authority towards the payment of fee for the allotment of IEC number. The fee can also be paid in cash by means of a challan form T.R.6
3) Certificate from the bank in the prescribed form Appendix 3.
4) Profile for Exporter/importer in the form Appendix 2.
5) Three passport size photographs of the applicant (two of them to be duly attested by the banker of the applicant and affixed on the application form)
6) Prescribed declaration on the firm’s letterhead stating that:
- I/We hereby declare that there is no non-resident interest in my/our firm/company.
- I/We further declare that the proprietor/partner/director of my firm/company is/are not associated as proprietor/partner/director with any other firm/ company which has been caution listed by the Reserve Bank India
- I/We further declare that the proprietor/partner/director of my firm/company is/are not associated as proprietor/partner/director with any other firm/ company which has come to the adverse notice of the DGFT”
7) Copy of the letter indicating the allotment of the permanent Account Number of the Income- tax
8) Authority letter from the partners of the firm authorizing a partner to sign the application for allotment of the IEC number n case the applicant is a partnership firm
9) Resolution of the Board of directors authorizing one of the directors to sign the application for allotment of IEC number in the case of a private limited or public limited company.
The Regional Licensing Authority shall examine the application and if it is satisfied, it would allot the ICE number to the applicant.
Exemption from Importer-Exporter code Number
The following categories of importers or exporters are exempted from obtaining Importer-Exporter Code (ICE) number
i) Importers covered by clause 3(1) with the exception of those covered by the sub-clause(e) and (I)
ii) Exporters covered by clause 3(2) with the exception of those covered by the sub clause(I) and (k) of the foreign trade (Exemption from Application of rules in certain cases) Order, 1993
iii) Ministries/Departments of the central or a state government.
iv) Persons importing or exporting goods for their personal use not connected with trade or manufacture or agriculture.
v) Persons importing/exporting goods from/to Nepal provided the CIF value of a signal consignment does not exceed Indian Rs. 25000.
vi) Persons importing/exporting goods from/to Myanmar through Indo-Myanmar border areas provided the CIF value of a single consignment does not exceed Indian Rs. 25000.