From the 1st of January 2021, From 1 January 2021, you’ll need an EORI number to move goods between Great Britain and the EU.
What is an EORI number?
Businesses and individuals wishing to trade must use the EORI number as an identification number in all customs procedures when exchanging information with Customs administrations.
It is a unique ID code used to track and register customs information in the EU.
Having one universal type of identification number across the EU is more efficient, both for economic operators and customs authorities.
It is also beneficial for both statistical and security purposes. It important to note, that if your company is part of a larger holding group, then the application for an EORI number must be processed by the parent company, not the subsidiary.
Format of the EORI number
The EORI number comprises two parts:
- the country code of the issuing Member State; followed by
- a code or number that is unique in the Member State
Here is an example:
- VAT registered businesses: GB + VRN (VAT registration number) + 000
- Non-VAT registered businesses: GB + unique number issued by HMRC
Importance of an EORI number
A EORI number is required to move goods between the UK and non-EU countries.
From 1 January 2021, you will require a EORI number to move goods between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the EU and possibly Northern Ireland; if you move goods to or from this location.
If you don’t have an EORI number then you can’t import or export goods from the EU legally. This is because the EORI number is used for customs declarations of all goods entering or exiting the EU.
If you have not obtained a EORI number, you may have increased costs and delays resulting from storage fees imposed on your products that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot clear.
Who needs an EORI number?
If you move goods to or from the EU
From 1 January 2021, you’ll need an EORI number to move goods between Great Britain and the EU.
It is best to apply soonest as the process can take one week or longer.
A EORI number from an EU country will be required if your business will be making declarations or getting a customs decision in the EU. This can be obtained from the customs authority in the EU country where you submit your first declaration or request your first decision.
Circumstances where you may not require a EORI number: if you only:
- provide services
- move goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland
If you are using a postal company, the parcel company will inform you if you require a EORI number.
If you move goods to or from Northern Ireland
From 1 January 2021 you’ll need an EORI number commencing with XI to:
- move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries
- make a declaration in Northern Ireland
- get a customs decision in Northern Ireland
In order to acquire a EORI number that starts with XI, you must first have a EORI number that starts with GB.
If you do not have one, you should apply for a EORI number starting with GB as soon as is practical.
If you already have an EORI number that starts with GB and HMRC thinks you need one that starts with XI, they’ll automatically send you one in mid-December 2020.
Before submitting your application for a new EORI number, it is worth checking that your company is not already registered, because if your company is registered for VAT, it may have automatically been issued a EORI number.
EORI numbers are permanently associated with the company that they are issued to – so an alternate EORI number will not be issued, if you have misplaced the previously issued EORI number.
You can check here if your company already has a EORI number: EORI number validation (europa.eu).