EORI number: What it is and why it is important?

EORI Number Importance

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Brexit Transition Period

We have some updates to share with you as we reach the end of the transition period for Brexit which is scheduled on the 31st December 2020.  At the end of the transition, the UK’s relationship with the EU will be determined by the new agreements it has entered into on trade and other areas of co-operation. 

Regardless of the outcome of negotiations, it is evident that when the transitions end, the cost, effort and time for moving goods between the EU and the UK will increase.

There will be broad and far-reaching consequences for public administrations, businesses and citizens as of 1 January 2021.  These changes are unavoidable, and stakeholders must make sure they are ready for them.

What is an EORI?

EORI stands for “Economic Operators Registration and Identification number”.

  • Businesses and people wishing to trade must use the EORI number as an identification number in all customs procedures when exchanging information with Customs administrations.
  • An importer/exporter can use this number for the purpose of customs access declaration and customs clearance for shipment travelling to or from the EU and countries out of the EU.

Format of an EORI

There are two different formats for the 12-digit EORI numbers: those for VAT registered businesses https://www.gov.uk/vat-registration/how-to-register and those for businesses that are not VAT-registered.

  • EORI for VAT-registered businesses: comprised of a country code (‘GB’, for example), combined with the business’ VAT number, followed by ‘000’
  • EORI for non-VAT-registered businesses: a country code such as ‘GB’ combined with a unique number that is provided by HMRC

Does your business need an EORI?

  • Any individual or business, no matter the size, that is dealing with the import or export of goods in the EU must possess an EORI number. This also applies to businesses in countries such as Switzerland, Norway, Jersey, Guernsey, etc.
  • The EORI number is used for goods that are imported or exported for commercial reasons.
  • If you have a business that is operating imports/exports in different countries within the EU, it is necessary to have an EORI number in each country that is involved in any of the imports or exports.

If your business does not have an EORI number?

  • Without an EORI number, a business that is importing/exporting goods outside EU will face lengthy wait and costly fees for storage while waiting for the goods to be cleared by the customs.
  • In the worst-case scenario, the goods may not be released without any refund for the storage fees.

Apply for an EORI here

  • It is a fairly simple process to apply for an EORI number for your business.  HMRC has a dedicated page https://www.gov.uk/eori for the EORI page with all the necessary information.  The online application takes around 5 and 10 minutes to complete.
  • After the submission of the application, a confirmation is received with the EORI number either immediately or within 5 working days if there is no requirement for follow up from HMRC. 
  • Currently, HMRC are suggesting that any businesses currently importing or exporting goods with the EU (not even outside the EU) should apply as soon as possible for a GB-based EORI number.

You can apply for EORI number here.

Some Useful links to help you

Temporary import tariff rates

Finding commodity codes (imports and exports)

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