What is an EORI number?
EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number is required by a person or dealer who is carrying out custom activities in the European Union (EU). This system began on 1 July 2009 by all EU member states and replaced the old Trader’s Unique Reference Number (TURN). 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 and export of goods under a transit process. In the UK, an EORI number is allocated to an importer and exporter by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). An importer or exporter can use this number for the purpose of custom access declaration and custom clearance for shipments travelling to or from the EU and countries out of the EU. The EORI number is exclusive and granted for an indefinite time period by the Customs Authorities.
According to a new security law, an importer / exporter must declare the goods arriving or leaving the EU within a set time limit. If an individual supplies normal import or export declarations, they will be covered under the new law, but if they are not declaring in the standard way, it becomes imperative to have an EORI number to complete an Entry Summary Declaration or an Exit Summary Declaration.
Who needs an EORI number
An individual will be required to furnish an EORI number if he / she are planning to import or export merchandise with countries outside the EU. An EORI number is required for countries such as Andorra, Gibraltar, Jersey, Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Guernsey, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Moldova.
How to get an EORI number
Importers and exporters trading outside the EU can apply for an EORI number by filling an application form. The application form varies depending on whether an individual is:
- registered for value added tax (VAT) – if an individual doesn't get while registering for VAT online. Click here to access the form
- not VAT-registered and an individual is exporting. Click here to access the export form
- not VAT-registered and an individual is importing. Click here to access the import form
Changes can be informed to the HMRC by contacting the EORI team and letting them know:
- about changes of the business name and address, or VAT number
- if the business is already VAT registered
- if the EORI number is no longer required
- to add or remove the business details from the public EORI checker
If a firm is headquartered in the UK and has customs operations with customers based outside the EU, then DNS Accountants can help the business to apply for an EORI number (EORI application usually takes upto three working days to process). It is important to note that EORI numbers are usually granted to VAT registered firms only. However, there is a possibility to apply for an EORI number if the business is not VAT registered; DNS Accountants will have to fill-in separate forms for import and export. We will provide the business with a list of queries about the firm and its customs operations so that we can handle the proceedings of the EORI number swiftly.
Format of the EORI number
EORI numbers in the UK begin with the letters 'GB'. The number is then followed by a 12-digit number which is based on the trader's VAT number (For example, GB987654312000). Also, a minute number of 'dummy' EORI numbers can be issued for non-VAT-registered operators. Businesses can also call the HMRC Excise & Customs Helpline on 0300-200-3700. If a business has a UK VAT number, they can check to see if it has an EORI status.
Without VAT registration, an EORI number will be smaller than the usual EORI number. This will automatically change once a trader has registered for VAT in the UK. It is important to note that there can only be one EORI number per trader, regardless of the number of offices they may have. For example, with TURN each office would have its own trading number: For example;
- Office1: GB123456789014
- Office2: GB123456789015
- Office3: GB123456789016, and it can continue depending on the number of office
What may happen if an importer does not have an EORI number?
The customs authority is likely to take possession of the consignment until a business is able to produce an EORI number. However, the authority will not destroy the cargo. It is always advisable to have an EORI number before placing an order and an importer must apply for one before the consignment has departed from the country of origin. An EORI number is obligatory irrespective of whether an importer is getting the consignment delivered by Sea Freight or Air Freight.
In several European states, it is not mandatory to register a company in order to perform business activity. However, it is imperative to apply for an EORI-number even if the products are imported as an individual instead of a registered business entity. Also, it is important to note that, an individual / business needs to apply for one EORI number for each country where it is established. This may also apply to businesses in non-coastal countries or other businesses that import goods through a port in a different EU state.