An EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number is a unique identification number that is used by customs authorities throughout the European Union (EU). Instituted on 1 July 2009, this system replaced the older Trader’s Unique Reference Number (TURN). The EORI number serves a critical role in facilitating the import and export of goods both within the EU and with countries outside of it. For those based in the UK, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are responsible for allocating these numbers.
Having an EORI number is essential for anyone engaged in international trade, as it allows customs to monitor and track shipments effectively. Whether you are a business or an individual, understanding the EORI system is crucial if you plan to import or export goods.
EORI numbers for UK VAT-registered businesses typically follow the format:
Structure of the EORI number
Here is a breakdown of the EORI number:
- GB: This indicates that the business is based in the UK.
- 205672212: This is the business’s VAT Registration Number.
- 000: These are the three zeros that are always added to the end of a UK EORI number.
Table of content
Who Needs An Eori Number?
An Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number is typically required for businesses and individuals involved in international trade or customs activities within the European Union (EU) or in countries that have trade agreements with the EU.
You will need an EORI if:
- You import or export international commercial goods to and from the EU.
- You are planning to import or export goods with countries outside the EU.
- You trade with countries including Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Iceland, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, and Switzerland.
You do not need an EORI if importing or exporting products for private use.
Requirements for Obtaining an EORI Number in the UK
In the United Kingdom, the responsibility for issuing EORI numbers lies with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). To qualify for an EORI number, you must meet the following requirements:
- Business Entity: You must have a registered business in the UK. Individuals can also apply if they are involved in the import or export of goods.
- Valid Tax Identification: You will need to provide a VAT registration number if your business is VAT-registered.
- Business Address and Contact Information: A valid business address in the UK along with contact details, including an email address, is required.
- Type of Goods: Information about the type of goods you intend to import or export is often required for statistical and regulatory purposes.
- Additional Documentation: You may need additional documents such as trade licences or certifications, depending on your trade’s nature.
After meeting these requirements, you can apply online through the HMRC website.
How To Get An EORI Number: The Application Process For An EORI Number In The UK
- Visit the HMRC Website: The first step in the application process is to visit the official HMRC website. Navigate to the EORI application page, you will need to fill out the online form available via your HMRC Government Gateway account (used for tax returns) or contact the HMRC EORI Team on 0300 322 9434.
- Fill Out the Application Form: The form requires information such as your business name, VAT number (if applicable), and other relevant details. This is also where you’ll specify the types of goods you’ll be importing or exporting.
- Submit Supporting Documents: If required, you will need to upload additional documents, like trade licence or certifications.
- Review and Submit: Before submitting the application, ensure all information is accurate and complete by reviewing it.
- Wait for Confirmation: After submission, HMRC will review your application. This usually takes around 5-10 working days, although times may vary. You will receive your EORI number via email once your application is approved.
- Activate Your EORI Number: Once received, there may be additional steps to activate your EORI number. Follow the instructions provided in the confirmation email.
- Start Trading: With an active EORI number, you are now eligible to participate in importing or exporting goods to or from the UK.
Applying for an EORI number is straightforward, but it’s crucial to ensure all information is accurate and complete to avoid delays or complications.
Remember that the specific steps and procedures may change over time, so it’s advisable to visit the official HMRC website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information on finding or obtaining your EORI number for UK businesses.
How Long Does It Take To Get An Eori Number?
The process usually takes around 5-10 working days, but it’s advisable to apply well in advance to avoid any delays in your trading activities.
Common Issues and Solutions When Applying for an EORI Number
- Incorrect Information: One of the most frequent issues applicants encounter is the submission of incorrect or incomplete information. Double-check all entries before submitting to avoid delays.
- Missing Documents: Failing to attach required documents can halt the application process. Make sure you’ve attached all the necessary paperwork.
- Processing Delays: Sometimes, the HMRC may take longer than expected to process applications, especially during peak trade seasons or due to administrative backlogs.
- Technical Errors: Technical issues on the HMRC website can also cause delays. If you encounter a glitch, try again later or contact customer service.
- VAT Number Confusion: If your business is VAT-registered, ensure that your VAT number is correctly entered, as it’s an essential part of the verification process.
- Status Updates: After applying, you may not immediately receive updates on your application status. You can check the status by logging into your Government Gateway account.
- Denial and Appeals: In the rare case that your application is denied, you have the option to appeal the decision. Thoroughly examine the denial notice for guidance on your next steps.
Familiarising yourself with these typical challenges can facilitate a smoother application process and enhance your chances of success.
Utilising Your EORI Number: Best Practices
- Documentation: Always include your EORI number on all customs and tax documents related to international trade. This ensures that your transactions are processed smoothly.
- Communication: Make sure to share your EORI number with any partners, suppliers, or freight forwarders involved in your trading processes. Miscommunication can lead to delays or complications.
- Data Protection: While it’s essential to share your EORI number where necessary, it’s equally important to ensure that you do not disclose it inappropriately. Treat it as sensitive information.
- Compliance: Having an EORI number doesn’t exempt you from complying with all other customs requirements and trade regulations. Ensure that you adhere to the rules to avoid fines or legal issues.
- Record-keeping: Keep a record of all transactions where your EORI number has been used. This will make it easier to audit your activities and resolve any disputes or issues that may arise.
- Updates and Renewals: Keep an eye on the expiration date, if applicable, and any changes in regulation that may affect your EORI status. Renew or update the number as required.
- Customs Broker: Consider hiring a customs broker to handle import and export procedures if you’re unfamiliar with the complexities of international trade. They can assist in making the most out of your EORI number.
Understanding how to properly use your EORI number can make the complex world of international trade significantly more manageable.
How To Find My EORI Number?
To find your Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, you can follow these steps:
- Check Your Previous Customs Correspondence: If your business has previously engaged in international trade or customs activities, check any previous customs documentation, such as import/export declarations or customs correspondence. Your EORI number may be mentioned there.
- Contact Your Customs Agent or Broker: If you use a customs agent or broker for your import or export activities, they may have your EORI number on record. Contact them for assistance in retrieving it.
- Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC): HMRC is the authority responsible for EORI numbers in the UK. You can contact HMRC’s EORI team directly for assistance with finding or obtaining your EORI number. You can reach HMRC through their helpline or by email. Contact details are typically available on the official HMRC website.
EORI Number Checker: How To Check EORI Number
In order to check a UK EORI number, starting with GB, the UK government provides an online service called “Check an EORI number” that allows you to verify an EORI number. While this service is primarily for checking the validity of an EORI number, it can also help you find your own if it’s been issued to your business.
If your EORI number begins with XI or any other letter combination, please verify non-GB EORI numbers online, you can use the EORI Checker provided by the European Commission.
To recap click on the links below:
Troubleshooting EORI Issues: What to Do
- Invalid EORI: If you find out that your EORI number is invalid, contact the issuing authority immediately. The issue might be as simple as a typographical error, or it could be more serious, requiring reapplication.
- Lost or Forgotten Number: In case you’ve lost or forgotten your EORI number, the issuing authority should be able to assist you in recovering it. Make sure to provide them with adequate identification for security purposes.
- Unauthorised Use: If you suspect that your EORI number is being used fraudulently, contact the authorities immediately. They can guide you through the steps needed to resolve the issue.
- Updates and Changes: If there are any changes in your business details, such as address or legal structure, make sure to update your EORI record. Neglecting to do so could lead to complications in your trade activities.
- Discrepancies in Documents: If you notice any discrepancies or inconsistencies between your EORI number and your trade documents, resolve them immediately. Contact the other party and/or the issuing authority to sort out the issue.
- Customs Delays: If you experience delays at customs and suspect that it has something to do with your EORI number, get in touch with the customs office to inquire about the hold-up.
- Legal Issues: If you find yourself facing legal complications related to your EORI number, consider seeking professional legal advice.
- Closure or Sale of Business: If you’re closing down or selling your business, make sure to inform the EORI issuing authority so they can deactivate or transfer the number appropriately.
By proactively addressing these common issues, you can avoid many headaches related to international trade.
Conclusion and Next Steps
In summary, obtaining and maintaining an EORI number is an essential part of international trade for businesses within the UK and EU. By understanding the application process, keeping your information updated, and knowing how to troubleshoot potential issues, you can ensure smoother customs procedures and fewer delays.
- Application: If you haven’t applied yet, begin the EORI application process as soon as possible to avoid any trade disruptions.
- Documentation: Keep all relevant documents, such as trade invoices and shipping manifests, in an organised manner. This will expedite any future customs procedures.
- Regular Checks: Periodically verify that your EORI number and business details are up-to-date, especially if there have been changes to your business structure or operations.
- Consult Experts: For complex trade scenarios or if you face legal issues, consult professionals for advice tailored to your specific needs.