Guide to EORI numbers
This guide will cover the purpose of an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number, who needs one, and the specific EORI number requirements for each European country.
Introduced in 2009, an EORI is required for UK and EU businesses and in some cases private individuals (eBay sellers, etc.) in order to import or export goods into or out of the EU and/or the UK.
- To track goods in and out of Europe so that shipments can be quickly and easily identified by customs
- To avoid customs clearance delays
- To assist with qualifying for trade agreements and claiming preferential origin under the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement
Businesses outside of the EU and UK
If your business is not based in the EU or UK, you’re in luck; online merchants outside of the UK and EU [shipping to the UK or EU] do not need an EORI number. As an online retailer, your carrier is going to file for the customs entry on your behalf.
There are rare situations when a US company doing B2B (business-to-business) shipments may need an EORI when the business is going to file their own customs declaration directly with customs, which will only happen if they do their own in-house brokerage.
Do I still need an EORI number after Brexit?
An EORI number is still used in the UK since leaving the EU at the end of 2020.
Online retailers shipping from the UK to consumers and businesses in the EU need an EORI number beginning with “GB” (eg. GB987654312000). The only exception is for trade taking place between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, in which case an EORI number is not needed.
A UK online retailer will include their EORI number when exporting to the EU. As of July 1, 2021, to take advantage of the optional IOSS (Import One-Stop Shop) VAT scheme, the retailer should also reference their EU IOSS VAT ID.
An EU IOSS VAT number does not replace an EORI number. An EU IOSS VAT number is used to keep track of how much tax your business collects from sales and allows you to remit the VAT to the European country of registration. An EORI number is an identification number needed to export shipments from the UK and EU to keep track of shipments more smoothly.
An EORI number is also needed when shipping from the UK to the EU for the purpose of qualifying for preferential origin.
Find out how to register for an EORI number in the UK.
Merchants shipping from the EU to the UK and within the EU need an EORI number beginning with the two-letter identifier for their country of export (Ireland EORI number example: IE293847584930295).
If the EU online retailer is sending EU-originating goods and wishes the goods to qualify for preferential origin under the EU-UK trade agreement then the merchant must be registered in theRegistered Exporter System (REX). An EORI number is part of the REX system application process.
Find out how to register for an EORI number in each EU country.
Only five of the 27 EU countries, (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Lithuania, and Romania), require the consumer to register for and provide their EORI number at the time of clearance (for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer shipments).
Beginning March 1, 2023 (ICS2’s second release), EORI numbers must be collected from the recipient business by the sender. This is because carriers need this information before departure and the sender already having the EORI number will prevent shipment delays. Most EU countries [which don’t require the consumer to have an EORI number] will request the consumer’s tax ID number. Again, the carrier will initiate the request or it will be on file with the local government.
Although only five European countries require the consumer to register for an EORI number, any UK or EU business (sender or recipient) in a business-to-business shipment importing from the EU or UK needs an EORI number.
European Union Import Customs Requirements, Business to Consumers
|Destination Country||Country Code||EORI needed from consumer for clearance?||Tax ID needed from consumer for clearance?|
|Greece||GR||on shipments over €1000||on orders under €1000|
|Lithuania||LT||on orders over €1000|
|Poland||PL||on orders over €150|
An EORI number can be added to your Zonos account via Zonos Dashboard.
Simply log in to your account, and click on Settings in the left sidebar menu, then General. In the General settings, you will find the EORI number field in the Company information section.
Click here to learn more about the general settings available within Dashboard.
How can a business obtain an EORI number?
Businesses can apply online through the EU Commission website.
Do U.S. retailers need an EORI number?
A U.S. business will have a US-issued Employer ID number. This is a U.S. number. A business in the EU will have an EU-issued EORI. An EORI is required by a recipient business in the. EU for B2B shipments.
Where on the commercial invoice should the EORI number be entered?
The EORI number should be entered in the recipient tax ID field.
Does the carrier or sender obtain the EORI number for the shipment?
Under ICS2, the sender should collect the recipient business’ EORI number before sending the shipment so that the carrier has it as soon as they receive it.
Is the EORI number the same as a VAT or tax ID number?
An EORI and VAT number are different. A VAT number is used to access taxes. The EORI number identifies companies doing business in the EU. In most EU countries the EORI for business is based on the VAT number. However, in Germany, the EORI is based on the customs number.
Do I need an EORI number for services (non-physical goods)?
Yes, UK and EU retailers need an EORI number for any electronic or physical sales into any EU country or the UK.
Will a company in the EU and UK have more than one EORI number?
A company can only have one EORI for the entire EU even if the company has multiple VAT numbers throughout the EU. Therefore both the EORI and the VAT number are still required on the customs entry.
What will improve the customs clearance process?
- EU and UK online merchants/exporters should register for an EU EORI.
- Online retailers in the UK and EU are advised to provide their EORI number at the time of export in the sender's tax ID section of the shipping document.
In which country should I register for an EORI if my business has multi national locations?
Businesses have one legal headquarters. The country of registration should be the location of the business headquarters.
Do I need an EORI for my distribution centers within the EU?
An EORI is needed for every location that is an economic operator (supplies goods and/or services).
An economic operator is a business or other organization which supplies goods, works, or services within the context of market operations. The term is used in public procurement to cover suppliers, contractors, and service providers.
Example A: A company based in Germany has distribution centers in Belgium and Austria.
- An EORI is needed for Belgium and Austria but not Germany because Germany does not supply goods or services; the company headquarters in Germany only conducts administrative functions rather than selling goods or services.
Example B: A company’s headquarters in France conducts financial transactions with clients and has support offices in Estonia, Germany, and the Netherlands.
- An EORI is needed for the headquarters in France only. The offices in Estonia, Germany, and the Netherlands do not conduct sales of goods or services, but rather support the headquarters office.
Can I add an EORI number to my Zonos account?
Resource for U.S. businesses
Resources for merchants in the UK
- Application for a UK EORI
- Further information about UK EORI numbers
- UK EORI number checker/validation