What Is An Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number (EORI)?

Economic Operator Registration and Identification numbers are an essential component of custom activities in the European Union. This guide from DeltaNet International explains what Economic Operator Registration and Identification numbers are, where they’re relevant and how to apply for one.

What Is An Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number (EORI)?

Compliance Knowledge Base | Customs Controls Training

Posted by: Rosie Anderson Published: Fri, 19 Jul 2019 Last Reviewed: Fri, 19 Jul 2019
What Is An Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number (EORI)?

You will require an Economic Operator Registration Identification (EORI) number if you carry out custom activities in the European Union (EU). EORI is mandatory if an individual is required to provide information for goods both at pre-arrival or pre-departure, or is engaged in import or export of goods under a transit process. In the UK, an importer or exporter receives their EORI number from the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). This EORI number is used to identify you and your shipments across all EU countries. This system was introduced in July 2009, replacing the Trader's Unique Reference Number system.

EORI numbers are made up of the relevant country's code, followed by a 12-digit number. So, in the UK, begins with the letters 'GB'. For businesses registered with value added tax (VAT), the unique number relates to their VAT registration number. For non-VAT registered businesses, the digits are comprised of a unique number issued by HMRC.

Where are they relevant?

You will need an EORI number if you want to import or export merchandise with countries outside the EU. It's advisable to have an EORI number before you place an order and the importer must apply for one before the consignment has departed from the country of origin. It doesn't matter if the importer is getting the consignment delivered by Sea Freight or Air Freight, you will still need an EORI number.

You can apply for an EORI number by filling in an application form. There are different types of applications depending on whether the individual is registered for VAT, if they are not VAT-registered and want to export, or if they are not VAT-registered and want to import. These application forms can be accessed online. The information required varies depending on which application form is relevant. For example, if you are a business registered for VAT, you'll need:

  • Full name and contact details
  • Position in business
  • VAT registered number
  • VAT registered name
  • VAT address

It usually takes up to three working days for an EORI application to process; you will receive it by email. Once you have your EORI number, you can pass it on to your freight forwarder to use for customs declarations. However, it's important to check that your company isn't already registered for an EORI number before you apply. Sometimes when a business registers for VAT, they are automatically assigned an EORI number. You can check whether you already have an EORI number online using an EORI number validator.

If you have any queries about importing or exporting in the EU, it's worth contacting the EORI team, either online or by telephone. You may also need to contact them if:

  • You have updated your company details, for example, the registered name
  • You are registering for VAT for the first time
  • You don't want to use your EORI number anymore
  • You want to remove your company details from the public EORI database

Why are they important?

You may have increased costs and delays if you do not get an EORI number. For example, if HMRC cannot clear your goods you may have to pay storage fees. If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, UK businesses will need to apply the same processes to EU trade that apply when trading with the rest of the world. The UK might introduce its own system to replace the EU EORI scheme. HMRC have reportedly written to over 140,000 businesses who currently trade with the EU only, advising them to apply for an EORI number now.

What Is An Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number (EORI)?

It usually takes up to three working days for an EORI application to process; you will receive it by email. Once you have your EORI number, you can pass it on to your freight forwarder to use for customs declarations. However, it's important to check that your company isn't already registered for an EORI number before you apply. Sometimes when a business registers for VAT, they are automatically assigned an EORI number. You can check whether you already have an EORI number online using an EORI number validator.

If you have any queries about importing or exporting in the EU, it's worth contacting the EORI team, either online or by telephone. You may also need to contact them if:

  • You have updated your company details, for example, the registered name
  • You are registering for VAT for the first time
  • You don't want to use your EORI number anymore
  • You want to remove your company details from the public EORI database

Why are they important?

You may have increased costs and delays if you do not get an EORI number. For example, if HMRC cannot clear your goods you may have to pay storage fees. If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, UK businesses will need to apply the same processes to EU trade that apply when trading with the rest of the world. The UK might introduce its own system to replace the EU EORI scheme. HMRC have reportedly written to over 140,000 businesses who currently trade with the EU only, advising them to apply for an EORI number now.

Get in Touch

When you send us a message one of our friendly, knowledgeable eLearning experts will contact you as quickly as possible

* Required Field

Get in Touch

Get in Touch

+44 (0)1509 611 019

We'd love to talk to you about how we can help. Please leave your details below and a member of our team will get back to you.

* Required Field