EORI Number - do I need one?

An EORI number is a unique identification number used for customs declarations. Which type of EORI number you need and where you get it from depends on where you’re moving goods to and from. You may need more than one.


Maybe, maybe not – depending on your terms!

Any shipment for the EU won’t be able to be shipped without everything being provided correctly beforehand. So you need to get your house in order well in advance of any planned shipment date.

All shipments need to be cleared at origin for export, but UK sellers need to be clear on their terms. Are they selling DDP or DAP'

If you’re delivering ‘Delivery at Place’ (DAP) terms, it’s the buyers (or importers’) responsibility to lodge the customs clearance and clear the goods into the destination. This means you will not need an EU EORI but you will need a GB EORI.

If you’re delivering ‘Delivered Duty Paid’ (DDP) terms, you will need both an EU EORI (which comes with complications around VAT for EU exports) and a GB EORI.

If you move goods to or from Northern Ireland you will usually need an Economic Operators Registration and EORI number that starts with XI.


EORI stands for ‘Economic Operators Registration and Identification number’

Since January 1st 2021 there have been two key types of EORI numbers.

An EU EORI number and a GB EORI number. A GB EORI number is issued by HMRC and only valid for importing goods into or exporting goods from the United Kingdom. So you’ll need a GB EORI if you import or export whatever your terms.

If you’re based in the UK need to export goods to anywhere in the European Union on DDP terms, you’ll need an EU EORI number specific to the member state country. The difficulty is you need a fiscal EU business with the relevant VAT number.


• EU EORI number - for importing goods into or exporting goods from the European Union

This number is a unique identification number for customs purposes and enables any EU member state customs authority to identify the import recipient or exporting company. 

The purpose of the EU EORI number is to:

  • Enable European National Customs Authorities to identify traders importing or exporting goods to or from the EU.
  • Monitor the circulation of goods and consequently to strengthen customs security within the European territory.

Traders from outside the EU who ship to an EU country need to provide the importer's EU EORI number on the commercial invoice. New security law means that you must also declare your goods arriving or leaving the European Union within set time limits.


EU EORI numbers are typically only granted to EU VAT registered companies

This is because an EU EORI number is usually the extension of a traders’ VAT number. The EU EORI number consists of two parts: the country code of the issuing Member State plus followed by 9 digits of the company’s fiscal code (i.e. VAT registration in the respective member state).

E.G. An Austrian EORI number is made up of the letters AT (the code for Austria) followed by 9 digits of the company’s fiscal code. An EU EORI number is valid in all other EU member states – but it isn’t as simple as that!

GB business can get themselves an EU EORI number, but the related VAT number must be registered in the Country of import; for example you can’t use a German vat number to import into France, so it’s not EU wide. T1 transit document would be required in this instance, to transit through the member states, to be discharged in Germany. The entry would need to lodged in Germany, duty and tax paid in DE, and only then your are in EU free-circulation.


The ‘Rest of the World’ (ROW) is a different matter

EORI was an EU requirement and the UK have chosen to continue it as a way of referencing UK businesses importing or exporting since we left the EU. Which means EORI is not a factor for ROW, it’s about how the specific Country requirements must be complied with relevant to export or import. Some Countries requirements are more complicated for imports and exports – just as some are more straightforward.

This is why when looking into import or export you need to talk to an expert. Spatial Global provide free advice on any individual shipment being planned for import or export. This is because the questions and answers will differ, depending on the scope and requirement of each shipment. Typically there are too many angles to cover when speaking generally.


• GB EORI number - for businesses shipping goods into or outside of the UK

A GB EORI number is issued by the HMRC and only valid in the United Kingdom. A GB EORI number is used as an identification number in all customs procedures when exchanging information with Customs administrations when moving goods:

  • between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) or the Isle of Man PLUS any other country (including those in EU)
  • ·between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • ·between Great Britain and the Channel Islands
  • ·between Northern Ireland and countries outside the EU

UK business wishing to export out of or import into the UK must be GB EORI registered; this is done by issuing ‘EORI’ to your GB vat number. Number sequence is country code ‘GB’ followed by 9 digits (i.e. vat number) then 3 further digits usually 000, this signifies different addresses under the same vat number (i.e. 001 / 002, etc). If non-vat registered then a unique number in the same format is issued GB 123456789 000, for example, and you are good to import / export.

In the UK you can import / export without a VAT number, just a GB EORI is okay. Overseas business can apply for a GB EORI number in a territory and are subject to rules and regs in that territory on issuing EORI.

A GB EORI number is issued by HMRC and to get a GB EORI number, your business typically needs to have premises based in the country - this is called ‘being established’.

Your premises needs to be one of the following:

  • a registered office
  • a central headquarters
  • a permanent business establishment - premises where some of your customs-related activities take place and your HR and technical resources are permanently located


What if your business is not based in the country you’re moving goods to or from'

If you’re not eligible to apply for a GB EORI number yourself, you’ll need to appoint someone to deal with customs on your behalf. The challenges of leaving the EU are on-going and although there is a great desire to support a positive attitude to free trade, the complexities of the system are proving less than straightforward. Our team at Spatial Global review each import or export requirement individually and can help you navigate the legislation to ensure you’re able to trade as freely as the relevant customs processes allow.

If you want to have a no-obligation chat about your requirements please call +44 (0)1332 289220 and speak directly with one of our freight team.  For more information on GB EORI visit https://www.gov.uk/eori

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