Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) Number Explained

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An economic operator registration and identification (EORI) number is required for all companies and individuals moving goods inside or outside the customs territory of the European Union (EU) as part of trading activity. The number of EORI is divided into two parts:

  • Nation code of the issuing member state; and
  • A special code or number of the member state

EORI numbers are essentially identification numbers, which are recognised by all EU members state, to be registered on all customs statements.

Traders may face delays and costs in the absence of an EORI number (e.g. storage fees if HMRC can not clear goods).

Who does need an EORI number?

For customs purposes, economic operators need an EORI number, if:

  • They are located within the EU customs territory; or
  • We trade goods with the EU for a number of official customs situations (e.g. filing a customs declaration in the unions’ customs territory; submitting a summary declaration of entry; submitting a summary declaration of exit etc.).

Under Article 5(5) of the union customs code, the economic operator means a person engaged in activities covered by (EU) customs legislation in the course of his or her business. It includes individuals companies and other organisations.

There are certain cases in which persons other than economic operators will also need an EORI number- see European commission guidelines for further detail.

How do I register for an EORI number?

Apply online for an EORI number and it will either be available immediately or within 5 working days if further inspections are necessary. To fill in an application, the following information is required:

  • Date of start of business
  • Special reference taxpayer (UTR)
  • Industrial standard classification code (SIC) (for companies)
  • The global number of insurances (for individuals and sole traders)
  • VAT number and registration date valid (where applicable)

To use it for customs declaration in the customs handling of import and export freight (CHIEF) scheme, it may need to wait 48 hours after an EORI number has been released.

The status of applications with EORI numbers can be checked here (government gateway user-id required login). Once released all EORI numbers can be checked in the online EORI database.

After Brexit what happens to EORI numbers?

Economic operators in the UK will need an EORI number after the Brexit transition period if they sell goods with the EU unless goods are transported only between northern Ireland and Ireland.

According to GOV.UK guidance from 1 January 2021 (currently scheduled to be the first day after the end of the transition period) any moving goods in or out of the UK will need an EORI amount starting with GB.

For companies making customs declarations or taking customs decisions in the EU, a separate EU EORI number will also be needed.

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