What are EORI Numbers?

EORI stands for Economic Operator Registration and Identification. It is a number that is issued and recognised by customs authorities throughout the EU. It is used in the process of customs entry declarations and customs clearance for items being imported and exported to and from countries both within and outside of the EU.

A bit of history about EORI

The system came into effect in July 2009 and was intended to help with the smooth transition of transporting goods. Your EORI number is provided to customs authorities pre-arrival and pre-departure of your goods when entering or leaving a customs territory.

Different customs authorities will also share your EORI information with each other (as well as relevant government authorities) should your goods cross different customs areas in transit to the final destination.

Do I already have an EORI number?

If you're unsure as to whether you have been assigned an EORI number, or if you have any queries about it or have lost it, then fill out this contact form on the HMRC website.

If you don't already have one and would like to get one then you will have to register with HMRC. There are three different ways to apply depending on if you are:

  • registered for VAT but didn't get an EORI number
  • not registered for VAT and are exporting
  • not registered for VAT and are importing

It is best to apply for an EORI number as soon as you plan to start trading outside of the UK and need to transport goods through customs. Applying as soon as possible can help to prevent any delays.

Ship at a port

How long does it take?

Once all the forms are filled out, it can take up to 5 working days in order to receive your EORI number. If, after a week you haven't heard back then fill out the Contact EORI team form and tick the box that says it is a Query regarding a current EORI number application".


All information correct at time of writing. Professional advice may need to be sought before making any decisions based on the information in this post.

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