IEC: Starting an Import-Export Business in India

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importer exporter code

The government has several rules specifically for those engaged in import and export. You need to check our government’s individual agreements with respect to trade with other countries, you need to apply for an importer-exporter code, register with the Export Council and carefully record all receipts.

Getting an Import-Export Code

Any business that wishes to engage in import or export must have an Importer Exporter Code (IEC). Getting the 10-digit code can be quick if you have all the documents in order, taking anywhere from four to 10 days.

Applying for IEC

An IEC registration is mandatory for running an export business in India. It is a one-time registration, done online and is valid for the lifetime of the organisation or proprietor.

To register an export business, one must first apply for the IEC. Registration is to be done online on the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) website. All you need to do is send in the below-mentioned documents along with the form available.

Documents Required for an IEC

1. Certificate from your banker;

2. Copy of applicant’s PAN card;

3. Three Passport-sized Photographs of applicant or directors/partners;

4. Address proof of company/individual;

5. Details pertaining to partners, trustees, directors, with supporting documents, such as location of factory;

6. Cash or DD/Pay Order of Rs. 5000/- towards registration payable to Specific APEDA office where the request has been made.

Registration of Export Business in India

1. If the items you export are excisable goods, you need to register with the Central Excise department.

2. The law decrees that any export business in India must also be registered under the Export Promotion Council or, in case you are exporting commodities, agricultural produce or other raw materials, the Commodity Board of India.

3. Also, registrations need to be done according to the route of export. For instance, if you are planning to export through the sea, you need to apply for registration/membership with the seaport customs and air exports, you need to apply through the airport customs.

4. As an exporter, you will also need a VAT Registration, in addition to the import export code.

5. Get an Inspectional certificate from the Export inspectional Council of India. The certificate is an essential document required as specified by the Export (Quality and inspection act), 1963.

Business Invoices

An exporter needs to raise two invoices: a performa invoice and a commercial invoice. The first one is an initial invoice that has all details of the product to be exported, the description of the product, and date of manufacturing and so on. This invoice is sent to the buyer, and on approval, the product is shipped with the commercial invoice. Both the invoices are to be stored for taxation and audit purposes.

There are several other details, such as the kind of packaging expected in export, labelling of the parcels sent through different routes, and the approval of the assessing officer, which are equally crucial in an export business.

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A lawyer with 14 years' experience, Vikram has worked with several well-known corporate law firms before joining Vakilsearch.

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