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What is a CIN number – in simple words

What is a CIN number - in simple words

A Company is a separate legal entity in the eyes of law formed by two or more persons, having a separate existence from its Owners. Every company which is registered is a separate legal entity and has a unique number. The company might be a Private limited company, Public limited company, One person company, Nidhi company, producer company or a Finance Company. The unique number is known as the CIN number of a company. It is a common question asked by many that what is a CIN number?

What is a CIN Number?

CIN number of a company is an abbreviation of the term Corporate Identity Number (CIN). It is allocated by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to all the Companies incorporated in India. CIN is a 21 digit alpha-numeric unique identity number comprising of numerous information relating to the company. It contains information such as type of company, state of incorporation, year of incorporation, etc.
It is pertinent to note that CIN is a unique identifier same as LLPIN in case of an LLP and GSTIN in case of GST Registration.
In this article, we will decode what is a CIN number allocated to Companies incorporated in India.


CIN number of a company has many advantages:

1. Distinct identity: The CIN number of a company provides a distinct identity to each company registered with MCA. Once a business has been given a unique alphanumeric code then there is no scope of ambiguity

2. Easy Reference: As the code provided is unique, it is an easy reference when dealing with financial institutions and others.

3. MCA log: We can find the entire details of a company on MCA portal using CIN number

4. Display purposes: The CIN number is mandatorily required to be displayed at the registered office of a company. Also, companies need to mention CIN number of letterheads, invoices, receipts, annual reports, interaction with MCA and other Government bodies and so on

When does a CIN number change?

The CIN is a unique number and changes when there are one or more of the following criteria:

  • Changes in the listing status of a company
  • Changes in the registered office of the company. The changes in the office might be within the state or different states. We have to remember that there is a process for changes to the registered office and needs to be followed.
  • Changes to the industrial activity of the company
  • Changes to the sector of the company

Decoding what is a CIN number?

CIN is a 21 digit unique identification number which is categorized in the image below:

Decoding what is a CIN number

As the image shows that the CIN of a company is divided into various parts, we will discuss each part of the CIN below:

I. Listing Status:

The First Letter of CIN number states about the status of the Company i.e. whether the company is Listed or Unlisted. If the Company is listed on Stock Exchange CIN starts with “L” and if it is an unlisted company then it starts with “U”.

II. Industry Code:

The next five digits of CIN refer to the Industry Code issued by the Registrar of Companies (ROC). These five digits are allocated to the company depending upon its area of activity. For example, if a company’s business activity is the manufacturing of readymade garments then it will fall under the Textile Manufacturing Industry for which code is 18101. Similarly, if a company is engaged in real estate business then it will have “70200” as its next five digits in CIN number of a company since it is a code of Real Estate Industry.

Thus, it may be said that the next five digits of CIN represent the industrial activity of the company.

III. State Code:

Now the 7th and 8th digits of CIN of a company represent the State in which the company got incorporated. For example, if a company is incorporated in Mumbai, Maharashtra then the 7th and 8th digits of CIN of that company will be “MH”. Similarly, if the company has been incorporated in West Bengal then it will “WB”.

IV. Year of Incorporation:

The 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th digits of CIN represents the year of incorporation of the company. Year of incorporation means the year in which the company got registered with Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). Suppose if a company got registered on 01st January 2020 then the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th digits of CIN of that company will by “2020” respectively.

V. Type of Ownership:

The 13th, 14th and 15th Digits of CIN represent the ownership type of the company. It means that these digits represent that who is having the ownership of the company i.e. whether it is publicly held or held by private individuals or by Government. For example, if it is a Private Company these digits will be “PTC” and if it is a Public Company then it will be “PLC”.

VI. Registration Number:

The last six digits of CIN is registration number allotted by Registrar of Companies (ROC). It is a sequential number starting from 000001 to 999999. It is a unique number for every company.

Thus, if we consider all the aforementioned details, it helps us understand what is a CIN number.

Abbreviations used:

  • FLC: Financial Lease Company as Public Limited
  • FTC: Subsidiary of a Foreign Company as Private Limited Company
  • GAP: General Association Public
  • GAT: General Association Private
  • GOI: Companies owned by Government of India
  • NPL: Not-for-Profit License Company
  • PLC: Public Limited Company
  • PTC: Private Limited Company
  • SGC: Companies owned by State Government
  • ULL: Public Limited Company with Unlimited Liability
  • ULT: Private Company with Unlimited Liability

Penalty for Non-Compliance

The penalty is 1000 per day on company and office and the maximum penalty is up to 1 lakh if the conditions are not met or no application made for CIN number

StairFirst is an e-service platform which provides company registration services. Contact Us for details

Every company which is registered is a separate legal entity and has a unique number

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