What is an EORI number and do you need one when you’re importing or exporting? Here’s what you need to know.

EORI stands for Economic Operators Registration and Identification, read on to find out more

Sarah Woodrow

May 14, 2024

In what circumstances does a UK business need an EORI number? 

While the acronym EORI stands for “Economic Operators Registration and Identification”, there is much more that needs to be understood about EORI numbers for individuals and organisations that are interested in moving goods from one location to another. 

Not everyone requires an EORI number – for example, you will not need one merely for the movement of non-controlled goods for particular use as a private individual. 

Otherwise, though, you may need to obtain an EORI number in your capacity as an economic operator. It is an identification number that economic operators, or businesses, need to provide at customs when making imports or exports. 

What is the difference between UK and EU EORI numbers? 

It is important to appreciate that UK EORI numbers and European Union (EU) EORI numbers are separate entities. This means it is perfectly possible for a business to have two EORI numbers – a UK EORI number issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), and an EU EORI number issued by an EU member state. 

Other countries may have their own identification numbers for customs purposes, and for which the acronym EORI is not used. 

  • A UK EORI number is a customs identification number; after the UK’s departure from the EU, HMRC began to issue these numbers for businesses that traded goods across national borders, from as well as into the UK. These ID numbers are only applicable for customs purposes in the UK. 
  • An EU EORI number is a unique identification number that can be used for customs purposes across every member country of the EU. If an economic operator from a non-EU country – such as the UK – wishes to make imports into the EU, it will need one of these numbers. 

It is usually obvious from looking at the EORI number itself, what “type” of EORI number it is. Those moving goods to or from Great Britain, for example, will need to obtain an EORI number starting with GB. 

It should be noted that Northern Ireland EORI numbers start with XI. As these are considered a form of EU EORI number, businesses that already have an EORI number from an EU state will not need an XI EORI number if they wish to move goods to or from Northern Ireland. 

Do you require an EORI number? 

As set out by UK Government guidance, it may be necessary for your business to obtain an EORI number if your business moves goods: 

  • Between Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) or the Isle of Man and any other country (such as countries in the EU) 
  • Between Great Britain and Northern Ireland 
  • Between Great Britain and the Channel Islands 
  • Between Northern Ireland and countries outside the EU 

It will also be necessary for you to get an EORI number in order to register for an export licence via the online exporting licensing system (SPIRE) of the UK’s Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU). 

Do you have any further questions or need assistance with any aspect of import and export consultancy, including EORI numbers? If so, please don’t hesitate to contact the KTL UK team today

More News...