Difference between Import Export Code (IEC) and Import License

  • August 02, 2022
  • Dushyant Sharma
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The difference between export import code and Export Import license lies in the fact that one is a unique number that allows you to partake in import and export activities while the other one is a notification that dictates the legal restrictions associated with such activities. Both of them are important for you to get and consider. Read on to know about their difference more deeply.

When you want to conduct an export and import business, or want to conduct and import of certain articles, both of these cases requires you to have a license.

In the light of this statement, let us discuss to different, but sort of similar types of licenses and know the difference between the two. Throughout the course of this article, our purpose would be to tell you the Difference between import export code and Import license.

What is an Import Export Code?

The Import Export Code or IEC is a license in a form of a unique number. This “number” or code to be exact is allotted by the regional office associated with the Director General of foreign trade (DGFT). The applicant that aspires to get this code is the one who wishes to partake in import and export business. The IEC or Import export code is a Pan based registration person associated with DGFT. This code remains valid for a specific period of time, or until it is a cancelled or either surrendered. Let us discuss the features associated with IEC are the following:

  1. IEC is a 10 character code which is comprised on alpha-numeric.
  2. It is a mandatory code to obtain in case you want to undertake any sort of ethical import and export activity.
  3. The IEC code is based on PAN
  4. You cannot get more than one IEC code with one PAN number
  5. The entire IEC code registration process is the one that is to be done online.
  6. If there is a cause, then its clarification is to be done in an offline mode.
  7. Without a digital signature, you cannot hope to get your hands on IEC.
  8. Without IEC, there is neither import nor export.
  9. DGFT or Director General of Foreign Trade provides this unique identification number.
  10. Unless the code is cancelled or surrendered, it is never invalidated.

What is import License?

An import license comes in when there is a matter concerning the ethics of the materials that are imported or exported. There are many items that should not and cannot be considered to either be import or export material, human cargo included. The license to import or export is made to pose some restrictions to ensure that such business activity is conducted within the confines of the law. To that end, you can consider the reasons for import export license to exist are the following:

  1. Protecting the morals of the public
  2. Protecting the lives of humans, plants and animals.
  3. To protect the intellectual protection rights
  4. Maintaining the artistic, historic and archeological value of national treasure.
  5. Conserving the national resources.
  6. To discourage and limit the trafficking of weapons, war related items and illegal drugs.

The entire premise of import export license is to ensure that import and export activities are conducted within a legal paradigm. If anything illegal is abound, the IE license is taken away along with other drastic penalties, including jail time.


The difference between import export code and Import Export license is this:

  1. IE code is the key that allows you to conduct import and export activities
  2. IE License is a notification that ensures that import and export business are conducted in a legal way.



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Dushyant Sharma
Author: Dushyant Sharma

Hey there, I'm Dushyant Sharma. With the extensive knowledge I've gained in past 8 years, I have been creating content on various subjects such as banking, insurance, telecom, and all the important registration and licensing processes for various companies. I'm here to help everyone with my expertise in these areas through my articles.

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