In fact, no matter which country you export to, you must obtain the import license (certification) required by that country. However, if you have chosen India as your target of exports among many countries, you should put an extra care to obtain the license. For some products they require more than just one license. For example, for infant foods or dairy products, license named ‘BIS’ and ‘FSSAI’ both must be obtained. For medical X-ray equipment, you need three licenses : BIS, CDSCO, and AERB.
Procedures of getting certificates are also difficult and complex. Typically, in the case of BIS certification, there is a step requiring government officials to fly directly to the factory to check the products. Furthermore, it takes about three to six months to acquire the certificate after submission of all required documents. Therefore, it is better to have some time to calm yourself down and prepare documents thoroughly rather than hurrying. Here this article will cover types of import licenses you must know to export your products to India.
BIS stands for the Bureau of Indian Standards. Most of the general items are reviewed and certified by this organization. The certification issued here is called BIS license. The purpose of the BIS certification scheme is to provide assurance of the quality, safety and reliability of the product to Indian customers.
If you look at the certification process step by step, you must prepare the various documents required by BIS first. Required documents are as follows.
1. Business registration certificate of a company that is the main agent of sales, such as a branch office or liaison office, or agent(in India) designation document
2. Manual of Product Manufacturing Process
3. List of manufacturing machineries and testing equipments
4. Certification documents related to raw materials and components
5. Documents related to the quality assurance system in the factory
Once the documents are ready as above, you can register the product through BIS. Then BIS will notify the detailed schedule to the applicant regarding product registration. And BIS deploys government officers to conduct a due diligence on the applicant's factory and obtains samples to be inspected in India. If the test result shows that the product meets the certification criteria, you will obtain a license. Companies that have obtained certification shall submit compliance report to BIS on a quarterly basis, and the initial certification shall be valid for one year. This certificate can be renewed on a yearly basis(or biennially).
The FSSAI license menotioned above refers to the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India. FSSAI is responsible for all necessary procedures and regulations for the safety of food products in India, including manufacturing process, storage, distribution, sales and importation of food. If you want to distribute food in India, FSSAI license is essential.
If a foreign company wants to distribute its food product in India, there are two ways possible. One is to establish a company in India and directly carry out the business in India. In this case, you must submit required documents through the website and get the FSSAI license. The other is to supply products to a local Indian company that already has FSSAI license. You don't need to obtain FSSAI license in this case.
CDSCO(Central Drugs Standard Control Organization) is a government agency that operates regulations and registration systems related to cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices in India. In other words, if you want to sell cosmetics in India, CDSCO certification is essential.
CDSCO certification requires due diligence on the manufacturing facility, which is a little more costly to other certificates. After submitting the application form, it will charge $5,000 for the expense of due diligence on manufacturing facilities, $1,000 for the registration fee of examining equipment, and $1,500 for the registration fee of examining manufacturing facility. Then you will be able to obtain CDSCO certification if you pass the examination.
So far, we have briefly checked import licenses required to sell your products in India. When the documents are found to be insufficient by authorities, it is difficult to correct them during the process, resulting to put procedures far behind the schedule. Also, as mentioned at the beginning, some items require more than just one license. Therefore, if possible, you need to figure out exactly which types of certifications are required through local law firms and partnered local importers/distributors in India.
In india, our Ekimport is consisted of 2 companies, one holding FSSAI license, and the other in charge of license-related works. Thus, our team can help you with getting licenses. If you are looking for a local agent or a partner for exports to India, or if you have any questions regarding certification, please feel free to contact us.
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