9 Easy steps to get IEC code online from DGFT

IEC code online

IEC code online

(While this blog is mostly about foreign trade and international economics, this post is for the benefit of those who are just starting out in the area of international trade from India - one needs an IEC number to get into foreign trade from India, and this is a post to help them)

IEC stands for Import Export Code. IEC is mandatory for anyone planning to carry out import export business from India. IEC is issued by Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT, online. Earlier the IECs were issued through manual as well as online mode at the choice of applicant. However, since 1st April 2016, IECs are mandatorily to be applied and issued online. Post GST, since July 1st 2017, IEC numbers issued are same as the PAN numbers.

Vide Trade notice number 23 dated 08 August 2018, DGFT has made it very easy to obtain an IEC for anyone having a PAN and bank account. The trade notice can be found by clicking here.

With this, it is very easy to get an IEC. Once the application is submitted at this link by filling up required details, e IEC gets generated online immediately which then can be downloaded, printed and used. A random sample based inspection is carried out after issue by the department, and in case of any discrepancy, the applicant is contacted to provide further details or to rectify the documents.

There is no need to go to the DGFT office anymore to get an IEC. You may apply for IEC by clicking at this link.

---Earlier procedure----Now redundant------

While one may point to the links at www.dgft.gov.in website, I thought of elaborating the application process here as the current DGFT website might be too cumbersome (and misleading at times!) for a new applicant. To sum it up, the following is the process to obtain the IEC code online. 

Step 1:
Obtain a digital signature (class 2 or class 3) for your self/organisation from one of the authorised agents of DGFT. Currently there are three: n-code, emudhra, and safe-script; who are authorised to issue the digital certificates. Keep the digital key active and ready when you wish to apply. You may refer the link here for more details on obtaining digital key. 

Step 2: 
You need to keep two documents ready. A PAN card, and a cancelled cheque bearing pre-printed name on it. In case a pre-printed name cancelled cheque is not available, a banker's certificate would do. The format for banker's certificate is given in the last page of this document. Scan these two documents and keep them ready for upload. 

Step 3:
Scan a photo or keep a digital photo of the applicant ready. 

Step 4:
Keep an email id and mobile number ready. The details once keyed in will get locked with PAN number, so one needs to be careful and use correct email and mobile numbers. The digital tokens are sent to the email and mobile and needs to be used while logging in. 

Step 5:
Keep a debit/credit card with minimum balance of Rs 500 for fee purposes ready. Fee is to be mandatorily paid online. 

Step 6:
Keep your computer ready with the following (don't ask why, it's weird, but that's how it works):
  • Internet Explorer (preferably version 11) browser. Chrome/firefox/safari etc won't work. 
  • Java version 7.51 with security settings low. 
  • Compatibility view settings to be changed as follows: Go to IE --> Tools --> Compatibility view settings --> under add this website add '' --> Add and Close the menu. 
  • Add www.dgft.gov.in to trusted sites in security settings. 
  • Activex controls should be enabled (do only if required/if there is an error)
Step 7: 
Go to www.dgft.gov.in and navigate to IEC code online application as shown in the image below and click. 

Online IEC code application

Step 8:
Follow on screen instructions to log in and key in all the details. You may see the details of what needs to be filled in step by step here. You also need to pay the fee online during the application. 

Step 9: 
Digitally sign and submit the application. 

iec code online

Thereafter, an e-IEC would be sent to you on your registered email id and a confirmation sms would be sent to you on the mobile phone. The time taken is around 2 days to issue a new IEC code online. 

Also, once the IEC code online is issued you may check IEC code status 'View your IEC' at the DGFT website. Refer image below. Also, one may see the status of your IEC under 'online applications' --> 'IEC' as shown in the image below. 

IEC Code Status
 In case of any queries or difficulties during filing of online application, you may refer the matter to IEC helpdesk at the link shown below on DGFT website
DGFT Helpdesk
For any further questions on this topic, you may leave a comment below. 


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