What is an EROI Number and Do I Need One?

Last Updated: Mar 19, 2021
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EORI stands for Economic Operator Registration and Identification. It is a unique number that is recognised throughout the European Community and is issued by a customs authority within any EU member state.

Should you plan for your business to trade within Europe, then by registering for an EROI number you will be able to use your assigned number for customs purposes in countries throughout the EU community. When dealing with any EC customs, the number is to be used during all communications, such as for customs declarations.

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The EORI system came into effect across the whole of the EU on 1st July, 2009. The system was introduced to help smooth the transportation of goods through customs and to ease delays and time-consuming checks and hold-ups. Your unique EROI number is provided to the customs authorities at pre-arrival and pre-departure for your goods when entering or leaving the customs territory.

Your EORI number is also used for customs declarations when importing or exporting goods between different countries outside of the EU Community. So for example you may trade your goods within the EU, but need to source essential goods or equipment from outside of the EU to use within your business operation.

Different customs authorities will also share your EROI information between each other and relevant government authorities should your movement of goods cross different customs areas on its way to a final destination.

Do I already have an EORI number?

If you are not sure whether you have already been assigned an EORI number, you can check to find out via the HMRC website. You can also use this link if you have lost your EORI number or have a query about it.

If you don’t have an EORI number and want to register for one with HMRC, then you can apply for a number if:

  • you are not a registered VAT company and want to export
  • you are not a VAT registered company and want to import

You can apply for an EORI number as soon as you plan to start trading outside of the UK and will need to transport goods through customs. You should give yourself plenty of time to register before you start importing or exporting goods to avoid delays and possibly causing you to miss delivery deadlines set by your customers.

VAT Registration

If you are planning to register your business for VAT, then you can obtain an EORI number while you are going through the process of registering for VAT in the UK. You will be issued with a temporary EORI number to use until your VAT registration is complete and you receive your VAT registration number. Once you have registered for VAT and have your VAT registration number, you will need to apply for a new EORI number using your VAT registration number.

You must inform HMRC of your previous EORI number that you used before your VAT registration was complete. This will allow HMRC to cancel that number and issue you with a new one. This will allow you to receive C79’s that you can use to reclaim your import VAT as Input Tax.

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VAT Group Registration

Should you be part of a VAT group registration, you can still obtain an EORI number. Because each group member is registered as a legal entity in their own right, they will be entitled to receive an EORI number for use with their own customs activities.

When you apply for your EORI number you must clearly state that you are a group member on your application form.

Applying for an EORI number

It is quite straightforward to apply for an EORI number. You can choose to apply using a hard copy application form or you can do it electronically online.

  • Use form C220 if you are registered for VAT in the UK
  • Use form C220A if you are not registered for VAT in the UK

When registering online, you will be asked to download the application form and save it on your computer as a Word document. You must then complete the document in full and email the completed application form back to the EORI team at HMRC. You may also need to supply supporting documents, if applicable.

If you choose to complete a hard copy application, then you can obtain a copy from the Excise and Customs helpline on 0845 010 9000. The completed application should be signed for by a responsible person within your company (this can be a company director, partner or the sole owner) then you can post it back to HMRC at the following address:

HM Revenue & Customs, EORI Team,

13th Floor South, Government Buildings,

Ty Glas, Llanishen,

Cardiff, CF14 5FP

Processing your application form usually takes as little as 24 hours, but may take up to three days during busy times. You can expect to receive your EORI number in three to five working days. If you don’t hear anything back from the EORI team after a week, you can send an email reminder to eori@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Further reading:

What is a Business D-U-N-S Number and How do you Get One?

The Positives and Negatives of setting up a Partnership

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