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Everything you need to know: What is an EORI number and how do you get it?

15-11-2022
Ocean vessel with containers

Any business engaged in the importation, transit, exportation or other customs operations in the European Union will eventually come across and need an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

In fact, it is required when exporting or importing goods in any member state by the EU customs legislation. This unique identification number is used to identify your business as an importer and allows you to reclaim your import VAT.

So, who exactly needs an EORI number, where is it used and how to get one?

Who needs an EORI number?

By definition, an EORI number is required for any economic operator registered in the EU who is involved in international trade. An EORI number is also required for any third country operator looking to transport or sell goods into the European Union.

This number is used by EU customs administrations in every member state during all kinds of trade operations and procedures.

It should be noted that an EORI number is not limited to just businesses but can be issued and used by individuals engaging in international trade as well. In short: anyone looking to perform trade operations from within or with the EU will need an EORI number.

The only time you will not require an EORI number is when your business activities are contained within one member state – e.g only in Estonia and there’s no import/export with other countries – or when moving goods for personal use only.

Where is an EORI number used?

Since EORI is basically the business’s identification number in the EU, it is used in all customs procedures performed by economic operators. It does not matter whether you are importing goods into the EU, the UK or other countries – when dealing with the European Union customs, you will need an EORI number.

Why do you need an EORI number outside and inside the European Union?

Any customs authority in the EU will need an EORI number to process the paperwork of any company or individual. While EORI numbers are required for all businesses and persons established in the European Union, economic operators looking to import, transport or otherwise engage in trade with a member state will also need an EORI number for customs legislation.

Situations, where an economic operator not established in the Union will need an EORI number, are:

  • for lodging a customs declaration in the customs territory of the EU;
  • lodging an Entry (ENS) or Exit Summary Declaration (EXS);
  • submitting a temporary storage declaration in the customs territory of the EU;
  • acting as a carrier for the purposes of transport by sea, inland waterway or air;
  • acting as a carrier who is connected to the customs system and wants to receive any notifications provided in the customs legislation.

Individuals or persons other than economic operators will need to register for an EORI number in the same situations.

How to register for an EORI number?

Any company wishing to conduct business in the European Union or with any of its member states must therefore register for an EORI number. Persons or companies established in the customs territory of the Union should request the assignment of the number to the customs authority of the country in which they are established.

Economic operations or individuals outside of the EU should file their request for registration to the customs authorities of the EU country responsible for the place where they first lodge a declaration or apply for a decision.

This is usually the country of the first port of entry within the EU – e.g when your goods first land in Malta, you should register for an EORI number with Malta’s EU customs authority.

You can find a list of all European Member states’ national customs websites from this link.

The registration process itself is fairly straightforward and should not take too long. It might differ across the member states but on average it takes about 3 to 10 days to complete the whole process. In some countries like Estonia, Finland or Latvia it might be much simpler and quicker while in countries like France and Germany the process might take longer.

Processing time may also depend on the applicant’s original country of registration as well as other factors.

Good to know, third party registration

Registering for or even figuring out whether your business needs an EORI number might seem a bit tricky at first. Especially when dealing with other countries’ customs agencies. Some companies may prefer having a external help or organise their EORI number registration process for themselves, although it’s possible to do it on your own as well.

Such companies can help make sure everything is in check with the application and give advice about the best practices and latest updates on European customs regulations. At MyDello, we pride ourselves on our expertise and knowledge on the subject as well as positive customer feedback, whether it concerns EORI registrations or any other customs requirements.

Feel free to contact us if you are unsure about your regulatory or logistics needs in the EU and outside. We also recommend you check the official information about Economic Operators Registration and Identification number here.