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Import Export Code

How To Surrender An Import And Export License

In this article, we will briefly discuss the ins and outs of an import and export licence and the steps to surrender one.


As soon as the Indian markets opened up to the Western markets, not only did we start importing a lot of products and goods but also began exporting a lot of indigenous products to other countries. So much so that importing and exporting itself became an industry of its own. In fact, the exchange of goods between nations evolved into a distinct industry, with businesses specializing in the import and export of products. However, the liberalization of trade also brought challenges, necessitating regulatory measures to manage the flow of goods across borders. In this guide, learn about what is IEC Code, features, documents and steps to surrender import and export licence.

What Is An IEC Code And Why It Is Needed?

The IEC holds significance beyond its role as a regulatory requirement. It is a vital component for customs clearances, facilitates bank remittances, and is mandated by port authorities. The code is an indispensable tool that streamlines international trade operations, ensuring transparency, and adherence to legal procedures. Importantly, it enables businesses to capitalize on various incentives provided by regulatory bodies, fostering a conducive environment for foreign trade.

The IEC is a gateway for businesses to navigate the complexities of global commerce. It plays a pivotal role in facilitating smooth transactions, promoting adherence to legal norms, and unlocking opportunities for growth. As businesses increasingly embrace global markets, the IEC emerges as a key enabler, empowering them to engage in cross-border trade efficiently.

The application for an IEC is not restricted to a specific type of entity. Any organization, irrespective of its size or nature, can apply for an IEC as long as it is a legally recognized entity registered with the relevant authorities. This inclusivity ensures that a wide spectrum of businesses, ranging from small enterprises to large corporations, can participate in international trade activities.


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Features of IEC Code

  • To engage in the import or export of goods, businesses are required to obtain an Importer Exporter Code (IEC). 
  • Issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, the IEC is a ten-digit code that serves as a mandatory prerequisite for importers and exporters. 
  • Without this code, importers are barred from bringing goods into the country, and exporters are unable to access benefits offered by schemes such as tax exemptions from the DGFT, Customs, and Export Promotion Council.

Why Would One Surrender An IEC? 

Surrendering an Importer Exporter Code (IEC) is a common occurrence, and there are several reasons why a business might choose to do so:

  1. Change of Business Objectives: If a business initially ventured into import/export activities but finds it unviable or challenging, it may choose to surrender its IEC. The business can then apply for a change in its objectives through relevant authorities.
  2. Sale of Business or Business Unit: In the case of selling an import/export business or its segment, the existing owner needs to surrender the IEC. The new owners will have to apply for a new IEC in their name, linked to their PAN.
  3. Closure of Business: If a business decides to permanently close its operations, it is necessary to intimate the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and follow the due process to surrender the IEC.

Surrendering the IEC is a formal process that ensures regulatory compliance and a smooth transition in cases of business changes or closures.

Documents And Details Required For Import and Export Licence

  • Registered Email Address and Password
  • Firm Name
  • Location and Address of the Business
  • PAN Card of the IEC Holder
  • IEC Licence Number
  • Enclosure of the Original IEC Certificate
  • Covering Letter Addressed to the Additional Director General of Foreign Trade

Steps For The Surrender Of IEC

Step 1: Log in to DGFT’s Official Website

Visit and select the ‘Services’ tab from the homepage.

Step 2: Choose ‘IEC Profile Management’

From the drop-down menu on services, select ‘IEC Profile Management’ or use the direct link here.

Step 3: Select ‘Surrender IEC’

Scroll down until you find the ‘Surrender IEC’ option.

Step 4: Log In and Provide Details

Log in using your registered email address and password. If not registered, create a new profile by providing essential details.

Step 5: Confirm Business Details and Surrender

Verify PAN number, firm name, etc., and click on ‘surrender.’

Step 6: Successful Surrender

Once successfully suspended, the IEC will be revoked for future transactions.

When Can Your IEC Be Cancelled?

According to DGFT rules, only one IEC is issued against a single PAN number. A proprietor can have only one IEC number, and if multiple IECs are allotted, they must be surrendered to the regional office for cancellation. Failure to do so may lead to penalties and the cancellation of the code by the department.


IEC registration involves technicalities that differentiate it from other registrations. It is not just a formality as it grants businesses the license to engage in cross-border trade. Therefore, whether you are applying for an IEC or contemplating surrender, seeking guidance from experienced professionals is advisable. With the intricate nature of regulations involved, having experts who understand the nuances of the process ensures a hassle-free experience.

For any queries regarding Import Export Code (IEC) or assistance in the application or surrender process, our team of highly experienced experts are ready to provide end-to-end support. 

Stay informed, stay compliant, and let your IEC journey be guided by Vakilsearch experts!

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