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A Guide to Economic Operator Registration

Fair View Accountants > Blog > Guides and Articles > A Guide to Economic Operator Registration
Guide to Economic Operator Registration and Identification Scheme

The EORI number is a unique number that is assigned by HMRC to businesses who are VAT registered in the UK and individuals that import/export goods in the UK. The importer needs to register in one EU country in order to obtain an EORI number.

The EORI number is valid throughout the EU and therefore an EU importer only needs to have one EORI number in respect of all imports of goods throughout the EU. The EORI number should be used in all communications with any EU customs authority where applicable.

The EORI number should be used in respect of goods being imported from a country outside of the EU and for goods being exported to a country outside of the EU. The EORI number should be included on the customs declaration completed in respect of the import or export of goods.

Who needs an EORI number?

Any business who is established in the EU customs territories and is involved in the import/export of goods will need an EORI number. Persons who are not registered for VAT will require an EORI number. Businesses that are only involved with providing services do not require an EORI number.

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Businesses that move goods across the Ireland / Northern Ireland border do not need an EORI number.

A non-EU person will need to be registered by the customs authority in the EU country where the first customs declaration is lodged or apply for a decision other than a customs declaration made for goods imported under the temporary admission procedure.

An EORI number can only be issued to a legal person which is:

  • company
  • individual
  • partnership, or
  • sole proprietor

Therefore, an EORI number cannot be allocated to individual branches or divisions within a legal entity.

If there’s a no-deal Brexit

In order to move goods in or out of the UK in case of a no-deal Brexit, you will need an EORI number that starts with GB.

For dealing with EU customs you will need an EU EORI number.

When is an EORI number used? 

The EORI number needs to be provided to the relevant EU customs authority when the person gives the pre-arrival and pre-departure information in respect of any goods entering or leaving the EU customs territory. The EORI number is quoted on any customs declaration when goods are imported or exported from the EU customs territory.

The EORI number is used by the customs authorities to exchange information in respect of goods moved under a customs procedure.

The EORI number is also used to generate the form C79 (Monthly Import VAT certificate) that is used in order to recover import VAT incurred.

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Obtaining an EORI number

A UK VAT registered business should confirm whether it already has an EORI number.

Applying for an EORI number

Please note that if a business has submitted an application to register for VAT via the HMRC online services and have indicated that they also require an EORI number on the application, then they do not need to complete and submit another EORI application. The importer must complete and submit an application form to HMRC.

Importers/exporters requiring an EORI number need to use the following link to apply online Get an EORI number using the business’ Government Gateway ID and password.

Please note that a different form needs to be completed by:

  • a VAT registered business who did not apply when they registered for VAT
  • an exporter who is not VAT registered
  • an importer who is not VAT registered
  • a person who wants to submit their own customs declarations

The applicant must ensure that they complete the correct online form. The following information needs to be provided when applying for an EORI number:

  • VAT number and effective date of registration.
  • National Insurance number.
  • 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).
  • business start date and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)

When to apply for an EORI number

UK VAT registered businesses should apply for an EORI number as soon as it becomes aware that it will be importing or exporting goods. This will help to reduce the likelihood of experiencing delays importing or exporting goods from the UK (or other EU territories where applicable).

You can also get the services of customs clearance in UK all ports.

Please note that if the business is also submitting an application to register for VAT then it can indicate on the application that it requires an EORI number as well (in this instance there is no need to complete an additional EORI application form).

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Issuance of the EORI number

The EORI application is processed and a number issued via email within three working days for straightforward applications. Businesses can check the status of their application via the Government Gateway.

The EORI number can take 48 hours to be activated and businesses will need to wait until it is active before using the number to make declarations using CHIEF (to be replaced by the Customs Declaration Service).

Notifying HMRC of changes

Businesses should notify HMRC of relevant changes using the online form. The person’s name, address and EORI number are quoted on any correspondence. The following changes should all be notified to HMRC:

  • changes to the name and / or address of the business
  • VAT registration number changes or the business cancels its VAT registration number.
  • the business no longer requires an EORI number or is no longer eligible for a number
  • the business has registered for VAT
  • to add or remove the business’ details from the public EORI checker

EORI and multiple EU VAT registration numbers

If a business entity is registered in more than one EU country, it will be given separate VAT registration numbers in each country but will only receive one EORI number. The EORI number will be issued by the customs authority in the country where the entity has its business establishment.

Businesses can request that the customs administration which allocated the business’ EORI number includes all directly associated VAT registration numbers issued in all EU countries against its EORI number in order to prevent issues when completing a customs declaration. All of the VAT registration numbers must relate to the same legal entity.

HMRC has included a question on the UK EORI application form that enables businesses registering within the UK to provide details of all overseas VAT registration numbers that the UK business entity holds.

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If the business has already received its EORI number and it wishes to add some foreign VAT registration numbers then it should email HMRC at eori@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk providing the following information:

  • UK EORI number
  • name and address
  • name and position of the person contacting HMRC to provide this information
  • list of the overseas VAT registration numbers that have been issued to that business entity

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