EORI (Economic operators Registration and identification), is a numbering scheme specific to the European Union. If you are not based in Europe you don’t need an EORI number. But if you are based in an EU country you should read the following.
EORI is mandatory for companies and individuals who are carrying out custom activities in the European Union.
An EORI number consists of an ISO country code (EU member state) followed by 12 digits number and maximum of 15 digits. It is based on the trader’s VAT number. For Germany it can look like this DE5512345678.
EORI number is required to provide information for goods both at pre-arrival or pre-departure or is engaged in import and export of goods under a transit process.
if you are importing and exporting just between EU countries, in this case you don’t need an EORI number.
How to apply for an EORI number:
The application process consists of filling an application form online. However, the application form varies from an individual to another depending if the individual is:
- Registered for value added tax (VAT).
- Not VAT- registered and the individual is exporting.
- Not VAT – registered and the individual is importing.
The application form you will fill in depends on the country you are in.
Changes in the company can be informed to the HMRC by contacting the EORI team, and letting them know about:
- Changes of the company’s name or address and VAT number.
- If the EORI number is no longer required
- Changing the business details from the public EORI checker
- EORI applications usually takes up to three working days to process, However, it’s important to know that EORI numbers are usually granted to VAT registered companies. NON-VAT registered companies will require special forms.
Format of the EORI number:
There are two forms of EORI number:
- For companies or individuals registered to VAT, the EORI number will begin with two letters GB for UK. The number is then followed by 12 digits.
- Dummy numbers can be issued for non- VAT – registered operators. The number will be smaller than the usual EORI
In case the trader changes his status from non-VAT-registered to VAT registered the number will automatically change.
Consequences of not having an EORI number:
In case you didn’t apply for an EORI number, the customs authorities will hold your cargo until you apply for an EORI number.
They will not impose any penalty or destroy your cargo that you have imported from china or any other county. However, it’s always advisable to have an EORI number before any import process.
In case you didn’t apply in advance, the best solution will be to apply before the shipment has departed from the country of origin.
It’s important to register an EORI number even if the products are imported by an individual, it doesn’t only apply for business entities.
Each EORI number is specific for each country, in case you are importing/ exporting to different countries you should get an EORI number for each country.
Does the EORI number applies to any mode of transportation?
YES, an EORI number is mandatory in every import/ export process, regardless of whether you are getting your imported products delivered by sea Freight or Air Freight you should get an EORI number.
DOES EORI number concerns non- registered companies?
EORI number is mandatory for any import process regardless whether you are registered or not. In many European states you are not required to register a company n order to perform commercial activities. Therefore, you must have an EORI number even if you are importing as an individual.
How to apply for an EORI number?
The EORI number is provided by the customs authorities in which you or your company reside. You can either apply online all fill a form an send it by mail or fax to the customs. Below you will find a list of links to different websites of EU customs authorities for more information on the application:
In some cases you will have to provide the EORI number to your supplier. Some international couriers requires the number before they process the shipment in china. But don’t worry your supplier will ask for it if needed.
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