What is the Import Export Code?

Import Export Code (IEC) License is a unique 10-digit number issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), an arm of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in India. It is a mandatory registration for businesses or individuals involved in international trade activities, such as importing or exporting goods and services from or to India. The IEC code serves as a primary identification number for a business entity in its dealings with customs authorities and other government agencies.

The IEC license is essential for facilitating smooth and lawful cross-border trade operations. It enables importers and exporters to engage in legal trade activities, comply with various regulations, and access benefits and concessions provided by the government for foreign trade.

Types of Licenses under Import Export Code (IEC):

The Legal Metrology Packaged Commodities (LMPC) certificate is required for businesses involved in importing or exporting packaged commodities in India. The LMPC ensures that the quantity and labeling of the packaged products comply with legal metrology standards. It helps to prevent unfair trade practices and protects consumer rights.

  • WPC License (Wireless Planning and Coordination License):

The Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) License is necessary for businesses dealing with wireless and radio frequency (RF) equipment, including import and export of such devices. This license is issued by the Ministry of Communications in India and ensures that wireless equipment adheres to prescribed technical specifications and does not cause interference with other wireless services.

  • SAFTA License

The SAFTA License is essential for exporters availing duty benefits under the South Asian Free Trade Area agreement. This agreement promotes trade within South Asian countries by providing preferential tariff rates for qualifying goods. Businesses can claim these benefits by obtaining a SAFTA License.

Benefits of Import Export Code (IEC) Registration:

Obtaining an IEC registration offers several advantages to businesses engaged in international trade:

  • Global Market Access: IEC enables businesses to access global markets and participate in international trade, facilitating opportunities for growth and expansion.
  • Legitimate Operations: IEC ensures that businesses engage in legal and authorized import/export activities, establishing credibility and trust with partners and authorities.
  • Avail Government Benefits: IEC registration allows businesses to avail various incentives, subsidies, and benefits provided by the government for export-oriented units.
  • Easy Customs Clearance: IEC simplifies customs procedures and expedites the clearance process for imports and exports.
  • Establishing Identity: IEC acts as a unique identification number for businesses, making it easier to conduct financial transactions and comply with legal requirements.


Import Export Code (IEC) is a fundamental requirement for businesses engaged in cross-border trade in India. It facilitates legitimate international trade operations, opens up global market opportunities, and ensures compliance with regulations. Obtaining specific licenses such as LMPC, WPC, and SAFTA further enhances business capabilities and enables businesses to make the most of international trade agreements and benefits. With IEC and relevant licenses in place, businesses can navigate the complexities of global trade with confidence and achieve sustainable growth in the competitive international market.


Q:1 Who needs to apply for an IEC license?

Any individual or entity engaged in the import or export of goods and services from or to India must apply for an IEC license. This includes businesses, manufacturers, traders, startups, service providers, and even individuals involved in cross-border trade activities.

Q:2 Can an IEC license be used for multiple branches or locations of a business?

Yes, an IEC license is issued to a specific legal entity, such as a company or individual, and can be used for all branches or locations of that entity across India. It is not location-specific and remains valid for all the business’s import and export operations.

Q:3 Is it mandatory to have an IEC even for export of goods as gifts or samples?

Yes, an IEC license is mandatory for all types of exports, including goods sent as gifts or samples. Regardless of the value or purpose of the export, an IEC is required to conduct legitimate cross-border trade operations and comply with relevant regulations and customs procedures.

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