As many UK and European companies prepare for the UK transition period to end, this has been one of the most googled questions lately. See the ‘What’ and ‘How’ below and, if you trade between the UK and EU, take action.
What does EORI stand for?
EORI is an acronym and stands for Economic Operator Registration Identification. The system began in July 2009 and replaced the Traders Unique Reference Number (TURN).
EORI numbers are used in all 28 EU countries and must be recorded on all customs declarations. It is not possible for businesses to ship goods into or out of the EU without an EORI number. So for companies (UK or EU) that have only ever traded within the EU you may not have heard of an EORI number before because you have never needed one. This (like other non-EU customs procedures) is what is causing confusion for many businesses.
So, do I need an EORI number?
If you are a UK business and will be importing or exporting with countries outside of the UK after Brexit then yes, you will need an EORI number.
If you are a EU business and you will be import or exporting with the UK after Brexit (or other non-EU countries) then yes, you will also need an EORI number.
EORI numbers are usually only issued to VAT registered companies but it is possible to apply for one if your company is not VAT registered. Details of how to apply will follow below.
What happens if I import goods and don’t have an EORI number?
Since an EORI is mandatory to import goods from any third country, if you don’t have an EORI number, the goods can’t be cleared through customs. Customs will not release the goods until your business is able to obtain a valid EORI number. So not having one can cause delays (and storage costs), which should be avoided.
EORI and Intrastat Report
An EORI does not effect your intrastat report – continue to submit your company intrastat in the usual way.
After the end of the UK-EU transition period, businesses importing goods into the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) from the EU will still be expected to prepare monthly Intrastat reports if over the £1.5m reporting threshold. This will only apply for 2021.
You do not have to submit Intrastat declarations for goods exported from UK (excluding Northern Ireland) to the EU. Northern Ireland movements to and from the EU will be required until at least 2025.
How to apply for an EORI
In the UK you will need to complete an application form with HMRC:
- VAT registered companies apply here
- Non-VAT registered company (or individual) exporter apply here
- Non-VAT registered company (or individual) importer apply here
It only takes around 3-5 working days to obtain an EORI and it is valid the day after issue. Once you have your EORI number you can check its validity here.
If you are within the EU you will need to contact your local customs office.