This is a guest post by John Kabawat from Cargocost, a freight comparison website powered by Unsworth Global Logistics..
During my time within the logistics industry, I have noticed that many people don’t fully understand what is the EORI number for and whether they need to apply for it.
EORI or Economic Operator Registration Identification is basically a method for tracking exports and imports within the EU so any shipments can easily identified by customs. All businesses within the EU need an EORI number when importing or exporting any commercial cargo from or to any country outside the EU.
For those of you who are unaware or need help about all this, I am going to break down what the EORI number is and how it can be tackled.
UK EORI numbers start with the letters “GB” and most of them are followed by a 12 – digit number based on the trader’s number. They are based on an already expired number called Trader’s Unique Reference Numbers (TURNs).
For instance, an EORI number will look similar to GB123456789000.
When do I need an EORI number
You will need to apply for an EORI number if you import goods from or export goods to countries outside the EU.
Note that, this applies also if you just occasionally purchase items from outside the EU, not in a regular basis. For instance, when buying machinery for your business or items for exhibitions you will need an EORI number.
It will also be required if you need to provide to the customs authorities with pre-arrival or pre-departure information on goods.
In addition, it is used by customs authorities to exchange information and share it with government departments and agencies when the movement of goods involves a customs procedure.
Who should get an EORI number
Generally, the person lodging the declaration should get the EORI number. For instance, if the carrier is lodging the declaration, the carrier will have to apply for the EORI number.
How to get an EORI number
It’s a simple process. You just need to fill in the application form and send it to HMRC.
If you’re VAT registered you can complete the Application for Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) form.
If you’re not VAT registered then you can complete one of the relevant forms below.
I recommend all non VAT registered applicants to apply for the EORI number after the first shipment has been dispatched as you will need the carrier and tracking information for the application.
Many people wonder whether the EORI number is only valid for one shipment, but the truth is that once you apply for an EORI number you can use it on all your future imports and exports.