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How to get an EORI number

An EORI (“Economic Operators Registration and Identification number”) is the European Union (EU) registration and identification number for businesses that want to import or export goods into or out of the EU.

An EORI is used for completing customs procedures, it is quoted in customs documentation and it enables Member State customs authorities within the EU to identify a business or individual that is importing or exporting goods (not services).

EORI numbers: What’s changed post-Brexit?

Many UK businesses didn’t need an EORI number before the end of the Brexit transition period (31 December 2020) because, as an EU Member State, the UK was part of a free trade area. EORI numbers were only required if UK businesses were exporting to or from non-EU countries. Brexit has changed that.

An EORI is a 12-digit number that begins with a two-letter code that’s used to identify the country that issued the number.

You need an EORI number if you want to move goods between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) or the Isle of Man and other countries. These start with the prefix GB.

You may also need a separate EORI number if you move goods to or from Northern Ireland. These start with the prefix XI. To get an EORI number that starts with XI, you must already have an EORI number that starts with GB. If you do not have one, apply for one as soon as possible.

Even if you plan to use a customs agent, freight forwarder or couriers to complete customs declarations on your behalf, you’ll still need to give them your EORI number to complete the required paperwork.

What if I don’t have an EORI number?

If you don’t have an EORI number and try to export or import goods it can result in increased costs and delays. For example, if HMRC cannot clear your goods, you may have to pay storage fees.

If you use a post or parcel company, they will let you know you if you need an EORI number or not.

Customs declarations and decisions

If your business will be making customs declarations or getting a customs decision in the EU, you’ll need to get an EU EORI number. This is available from the customs authority in the EU country where you submit your first declaration or request your first decision.

What do I need to apply for an EORI number?

To apply you will need your:

  • VAT number and effective date of registration, if you’re VAT registered. Both will be detailed on your VAT registration certificate.
  • National Insurance number, if you’re an individual or sole trader.
  • UTR (Unique Taxpayer Reference) ­– a 10-digit code used by HMRC to uniquely identify you or your business as regards your tax affairs. You can visit government website GOV.UK to find your UTR if necessary.
  • Your business start date and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, which are recorded in the Companies House register.
  • Your Government Gateway user ID (the one for your business or your own if you’re applying as an individual) and your password. If you don’t have a Government Gateway user ID, you can create one when you apply.

Applying for an EORI number

You apply for your EORI number online via government website gov.uk and will need to sign in using Government Gateway, the government’s online services system. 

  • According to the GOV.UK, it takes no more than 10 minutes to apply online to find out your EORI number.
  • However, it can take up to four working days if you’ve applied for an EORI number starting with XI, for example, if you plan to move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries or make a declaration or get a customs decision in Northern Ireland.
  • In all cases, it can take up to five working days if HMRC wants to make further checks.
  • You may have to wait 48 hours to use your EORI number for customs declarations in the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system.

If you sign into your Government Gateway account you can check the status of an application you’ve made.

What if I forget my EORI number?

You can contact the EORI team by filling out an online form. Alternatively, You can contact the EORI team by phone on 0300 322 7067 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed bank holidays). Call charges apply.

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