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A Simple Guide on Air IGM


Vijay Kumar

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

December 22, 2023

9 min read

 IGM (Import General Manifest) is a legal document that the carrier of the goods completes at the destination customs facility. It includes information about any items that are being delivered to that location. AIR IGM is the document for goods reached at the international destination by air cargo. This is handed to the customs office at the destination before the goods arrive. The IGM’s accuracy, often linked with the Aviation Route Bill for Global General Manifest, is crucial for later releasing the goods from customs.


Let us learn more about Air IGM and how it works.

IGM Detailed

The IGM stands for “Import General Manifest,” a legal document filed by the carrier of goods upon arrival at the destination customs location. This document is essential as it contains detailed information about the goods arriving at the specified location. The IGM serves as confirmation that the cargo has successfully reached its destination. Therefore, the carrier’s completion and submission of the Import General Manifest are crucial in the customs clearance process for imported goods.

What is Air IGM, and Who Requires it?

Air IGM, or Import General Manifest, is a necessary legal document for goods arriving at an Indian destination port. It is filled out by the carrier using data from the airway bill. The Import General Manifest must be submitted to customs authorities 24 hours before the shipment enters Indian territory, as section 30 of the Customs Act 1962 mandates. This document contains essential information about the cargo and ensures a smooth customs clearance process. 

The document includes details such as

  • The IGM number 
  • A description of the goods
  • The importer’s information
  • The line number 
  • The port’s name

Compliance with this process is crucial for both carriers and importers. The carrier is responsible for notifying customs about the impending arrival of the shipment through the submission of the Import General Manifest. The carrier or transporter requires the IGM of goods arriving at an Indian destination port. The carrier or their appointed broker must submit the IGM, ensuring compliance with the legal requirements and facilitating the smooth processing of imported goods through customs. Customs authorities conduct a thorough check upon its submission to verify the information and identify any discrepancies, facilitating the lawful release of imported goods. 

Steps to File for an Air IGM

To file for an Air Import General Manifest, follow these steps on ICEGATE, the national online portal of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs:


Go to the ICEGATE portal, the official online platform the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs provides.

Login and Navigate:

Log in to the ICEGATE portal using the required credentials. Navigate to the section for filing Air IGM.

Provide Flight Information:

Enter details such as flight number, flight date, and flight time on the Air IGM form. This information is crucial for proper identification.

Complete the Form:

Carriers or their agents must fill out the Air IGM form with all shipment details before the cargo reaches the destination port. Ensure accuracy and completeness.

Submission Timing:

File the Air IGM against the master airway bill at least 24 hours before the shipment is expected to reach its destination. Timely submission is essential for smooth processing.

Document Verification:

After filing, thoroughly check the document for accuracy. Once verified, submit the Air IGM to the customs department of the respective country.

Supporting Documents:

Prepare and submit supporting documents along with the Air IGM. Customs officials will require these for verification purposes.

Error-Free Information:

Ensure that all information in the Air IGM and its supporting documents is error-free. Accuracy is crucial for a seamless customs clearance process.

Customs Verification:

Customs officials will verify the details in the Air IGM and its supporting documents. After satisfactory verification, approval for cargo release will be granted.

How Inquiries Can be Made on ICEGATE About Air IGM?

To inquire about your Air Import General Manifest (IGM) on ICEGATE, follow these steps:

Visit the ICEGATE Portal:

Access the ICEGATE portal by visiting the official website

Navigate to the Inquiry Section:

Look for the section designated explicitly for inquiries. This is where you can check the status and details of your Air IGM.

Fill Necessary Fields:

Complete the required fields in the inquiry section. Provide information such as the cargo destination and the Air Waybill number associated with your shipment.

Captcha Verification:

Ensure accurate completion by matching the captcha for verification. This step helps in maintaining the security of the inquiry process.

Submit Inquiry:

Once all necessary fields are filled and verified, submit your inquiry through the designated process on the ICEGATE portal.

Aviation Route Bill Number:

To track your shipment using Air IGM, use the airway bill number provided by the carrier or shipping company. Enter this number on the carrier’s website or tracking platform for real-time updates on your shipment’s status.

Know the Differences: IGM Vs. Bill of Entry and IGM Vs. Gateway IGM

IGM, Bill of Entry, and Gateway IGM are crucial documents in international trade for seamless customs clearance and import processes. Understanding the differences between each one is essential for navigating the complexities of import procedures.

Here are some of the differences between an Import General Manifest (IGM) and a Bill of Entry:

Aspect Import General Manifest (IGM)Bill of Entry
Prepared byCompleted by the carrier of the goods at the destination customs location.The importer or customs broker files it with the relevant customs department.
ContentsIncludes details of goods arriving at the customs destination.It contains the port code, license number, customs house agent code, Import Export Code (IEC), importer’s name, and address.
Filing ProcessMust be filed by the carrier before the arrival of goods.Must be filed by the importer after the arrival of goods.
Compulsory RequirementGovernments insist on its completion as a mandatory step when goods reach the customs location.Must be filed within 30 days of the goods’ arrival; failure to do so may lead to the auctioning of the goods by authorities.
Other RequirementsIGM is the initial document filed by the carrier, and the Bill of Entry is subsequently based on the IGM.Details in the Bill of Entry should align with those in the previously filed IGM for smooth customs clearance.

Here are some of the differences between Import General Manifest (IGM) and Gateway IGM (GIGM):

AspectImport General Manifest (IGM)Gateway IGM (GIGM)
MeaningThe carrier of goods files it upon arrival at the destination customs location.Filed by the carrier at the base port upon the arrival of goods.
Use Relevant for goods arriving directly at the destination customs locationApplicable when goods arrive at a gateway port before being moved to an inland customs location.
Inland Customs LocationConsignee files customs clearance documents at inland customs points like Container Freight Station (CFS), Inland Container Depot (ICD), or other bonded locations.Gateway IGM is filed at the base port, such as Mumbai, when goods are moved to an Inland Container Depot (ICD) at a different location, like New Delhi.
Container ShipmentsIn cases where one container holds multiple shipments for different customs locations in the country, the consol agent files necessary documents at the gateway port.The consol agent splits out each shipment, sends them to respective customs locations under customs supervision, and files IGM at each destination customs location.
Matching DetailsWhen filing an IGM at the destination customs location, no specific mention of Gateway IGM is required.When filing the IGM, the consol agent must mention Gateway IGM details, which must match the IGM filed by the carrier at the gateway port.
Importer’s RoleImporter or their customs house agent files necessary import documents to take delivery of goods after IGM is filed.The importer’s role remains the same – filing necessary import documents – but is influenced by the information in both Gateway IGM and IGM.

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International trade and customs clearance involves the preparation of many important documents like Import General Manifest (IGM), Air IGM, Bill of Entry, and Gateway IGM. These are like building blocks, ensuring goods move smoothly and are released properly. Understanding how each works is crucial for everyone involved – from importers to carriers and customs authorities. As global trade evolves, getting these processes right becomes even more critical, emphasizing the need for accuracy and coordinating with concerned authorities to ensure goods move easily between countries.

Is the Air IGM required for all types of goods carried by air cargo?

Yes, the Air IGM is a mandatory document for all goods imported via air cargo. Regardless of the nature or type of goods, the information in the Air IGM is vital for customs clearance procedures.

How is the information in Air IGM utilized?

The data collected through the Air IGM is often used for statistical analysis of imports. This information aids governments and relevant agencies in understanding trade patterns, making policy decisions, and ensuring the import-export ecosystem’s overall efficiency.

What distinguishes a bill of lading from an IGM?

IGMs are often submitted using the carrier’s Bill of Lading or Airway Bill as support documents. The information on the shipper, consignee, quantity, type of packages, description of commodities, airway bill or bill of lading number and date, flight or vessel information, and other data are all in the IGM Import General Manifest.

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    IEC: A unique 10-digit alpha numeric code required to start import or export from IndiaAD code: A 14-digit numerical code mandatory for exports customs clearanceGST: GSTIN number can be obtained from the official GST portal https://www.gst.gov.in/