What is an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) Number?

An Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number is an identification number used across the European Union (EU) for interactions with the customs authorities in each individual Member State. It was first introduced in 2009 to create a more efficient system for economic operators and customs authorities as the number allows businesses to import or export goods between Member State countries and also countries outside the EU.

Who needs to apply for an EORI?

Any trader who imports or exports goods into or out of the EU will need an EORI number to complete customs procedures or when exchanging information with customs administrations. If a business plans to use customs agents, freight forwarders or couriers to complete customs declarations they will need to have an EORI number, otherwise goods may be held in customs and additional fees may be incurred.

In some cases, economic operators not established in the customs territory of the EU may also need an EORI number;  for instance, if they wish to lodge a customs declaration in the customs territory of the EU or to act as a carrier for the purposes of transport.

A trader may also require an EORI number to apply for an Application for Action (AFA) in the EU which allows the applicant to monitor for counterfeit goods at the customs department designated by the Member State. The AFA engages customs to notify the applicant and detain suspected goods infringing intellectual property rights.

EORI Numbers in Ireland

In order to apply for an EORI number in Ireland, the EORI applicant must not have applied for an EORI in another EU Member State other than Ireland. The applicant must also confirm that Ireland is the first point of entry for goods being imported.

EORI Numbers and trading in the EU Post-Brexit

A UK-EU trade deal was agreed upon before the Brexit transition period ending on 31 December 2020 and as a result, from 1 January 2021 all businesses based in the UK that import or export goods to or from the EU require an EORI number starting with ‘GB’ to be used on all customs declarations and documents. The requirement applies when moving physical goods across the EU from the UK or between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK.

Before Brexit, most businesses in the UK didn’t need an EORI number because EU members did not require an EORI to trade within the EU but were only needed when exporting /importing  to/from non-EU countries.

Depending on the kind of business you carry out, a UK business would now require an EORI number in the following situations:

  • UK businesses trading goods with EU countries would require an EORI number starting with ‘GB’.
  • UK businesses moving goods to or from Northern Ireland would require an EORI number starting with ‘XI’.
  • Any business making declarations or getting customs decisions in EU countries would require an EORI from the customs authority in the EU country where the first customs declaration or request for a customs decision is made.

An exception applies if the business is based in Northern Ireland and trades only with the Republic of Ireland.

If the UK business has an EORI number that doesn’t start with GB, a new EORI needs to be requested.

We Can Help You Obtain an EORI Number

If your business imports/exports goods to/from an EU Member State and requires an EORI Number for customs purposes, feel free to contact MacLachlan & Donaldson on mail@maclachlan.ie or Ansons on info@ansons.co.uk for assistance.