How To Become an Exporter

1. Identifying Markets

The first step for an exporter is to carry out a survey of the international markets in order to identify market/s for the exportable goods. The exporter needs to conduct a trade data analysis in order to see which market/s the demand is coming from.

2. Understanding Regulations and Procedures

Beyond the Indian trade scenario, the exporter needs to understand the India’s bilateral relations and agreements with his market/s of interest. The exporters should be familiar with any trade barriers and trade regulations of the market/s of interest.

It is mandatory to meet the quality standards and other specifications laid down in the chosen market/s. It must also meet the standards laid down by Bureau of Indian Standards or Agmark as applicable, besides other International certification bodies.

3. Getting Export Orders

To get export orders one has to promote his business. Please read the Market Communications section to know more about promoting your business.
One can also seek support from the government which actively assists exporters in an effort to enhance exports from India. To know more about export organisations, please read the Export Support section.

4. Getting IE Code

The next step is to register with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and obtain Importer Exporter Code Number. IE Code is an unique 10 digit code issued by DGFT to Indian Companies. This is a mandatory requirement to carry out import from or export to India. Exporters also have to obtain PAN based Business Identification Number (BIN) from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade prior to filing of shipping bill for clearance of export goods. Procedure for getting an IE code:-


  • Check eligibility condition and legal provisions as given in Directorate General of Foreign Trade Policy Circular No.15 (RE-2006)/2004-2009 Date: 27th July, 2006).
  • Application to be made by the Registered/Head Office of the applicant to the nearest Regional Authority of Directorate General Foreign Trade in the Aayaat Niryaat Form - ANF2A along with Appendix-18A
  • Application Fee of Rs. 250/- has to be paid by Demand Draft or through Electronic Fund Transfer to nominated bank.
  • Only one IEC is issued against a single PAN number.
  • An IEC number allotted to an applicant is valid for all its branches/divisions/units/factories.

To obtain IEC number for your business, refer to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade.

5. Getting an Export License

Export licenses are only required for items listed in the Schedule 2 of ITC (HS) Classifications of Export and Import items. An application for grant of Export License for such items must be submitted to the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). The Export Licensing Committee under the Chairmanship of Export Commissioner considers such applications on merits for issue of export licenses.

Export of Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET) items are also permitted under a licence or prohibited altogether. Click here to know more about guidelines for export of SCOMET items.


6. Processing of Shipping Bill

In case of export by sea or air, the exporter must submit the 'Shipping Bill', and in case of export by road he must submit 'Bill of Export' in the prescribed form containing the prescribed details such as the name of the exporter, consignee, invoice number, details of packing, description of goods, quantity, FOB value, etc. Along with the Shipping Bill, other documents such as copy of packing list, invoices, export contract, letter of credit, etc. are also to be submitted. There are 5 types of shipping bills:-


The Bills of Export are:-


Exporters can check and track the status of Shipping Bills online.

7. ‘Let Export’ Order

After the receipt of the goods in the dock, the exporter may contact the Customs Officer designated for the purpose and present the checklist with the endorsement of Port Authority and other declarations along with all original documents. Customs Officer may verify the quantity of the goods actually received and thereafter mark the Electronic Shipping Bill and also hand over all original documents to the Dock Appraiser, who may assign a customs officer for the examination of the goods. If the Dock Appraiser is satisfied that the particulars entered in the system conform to the description given in the original documents, he may proceed to allow "let export" for the shipment.