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EORI number: what it is, who needs it, and how to get it

Individuals and all business entities, including sole proprietors, that wish to perform commercial customs operations in the European Union eventually come across an EORI number requirement on their customs declarations. As a result, the following questions arise. What is an EORI number and in which situations is it required by the EU customs legislation?

EORI number: what it is, who needs it, and how to get it

Posted 21 February 2021

Summary

EORI stands for Economic Operators’ Registration and Identification Number

Business entities or natural persons need an EORI Number if they wish to perform customs operations in the EU. An EORI number could also be required by the national legislation of an EU Member State

The registration process can take anywhere between 3 to 10 days depending on the country, where the registration takes place

Natural persons, sole proprietors, and other business entities that operate in the EU and wish to perform customs operations need an EORI number

Definition

An EORI (Economic Operators’ Registration and Identification) number is a European Union registration and identification number used in all customs procedures performed by economic operators. An economic operator is an individual or a business entity that is registered in the EU and is involved in international trade. Every economic operator needs an EORI number to exchange information with the EU customs administrations during trade operations and procedures. An EORI number guarantees a smooth and efficient process of exchanging information with the EU customs authorities. The Economic Operators’ Registration and Identification system has been in place since July 1st, 2009.

Who is eligible to receive an EORI number?

There is a common misconception that only individuals registered as business entities or as legal persons are eligible to receive an EORI number. However, both natural persons and legal persons may receive an EORI number. Natural persons shall receive an EORI number if they engage in trade operations that fall under the EU customs legislation, or if such registration is required by the legislation of the EU Member State.

All business entities, including sole proprietors, need an EORI number to perform trade operations, such as importing and exporting goods or performing transit procedures within the European Union. With trade operations in the EU, the customs authorities use the EORI number to process customs paperwork.

In other cases, individuals may need an EORI number if they are not registered within the customs territory of the EU, and they do not have the status of an economic operator. For example, natural persons, who are not registered as economic operators, must receive an EORI number if the following cases apply:

  • An EORI number is required by the national legislation of the EU Member State, where the person is established;
  • The person takes part in operations that require an individual to have an EORI number according to the EU customs legislation.

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EORI Number Registration Process

The length and complexity of an EORI number registration process differ across the EU. (For more details please contact our specialists.) It is important to note that the process varies based on whether a business entity is established within the EU or not. A company or a sole proprietor established in one of the EU Member States can receive an EORI number in the country of their establishment. However, those business entities that are established outside the EU will receive their EORI number registration at their first customs entry point in the EU.

Once the registration process is complete, the EORI number is valid in any country within the European Union. An EORI number makes the trading procedures more efficient for both customs authorities and business entities.

An EORI number comprises two parts. First comes the code received in the country of initial registration, followed by a unique economic operator identification number. The EU-wide EORI database includes individual EORI databases of all EU Member States.

All EORI numbers can be verified online through the EU – EORI Online Database. Although, it is worth pointing out that the site might not sometimes list newly registered EORI numbers.

How long does it take to complete an EORI number registration?

It all depends on the country, where the registration takes place. However, on average it takes about 3 to 10 days to complete the whole process. In some countries like Finland, Latvia, or Poland the process is simple and takes less time to complete compared to countries like France and Germany. In addition, the applicant’s original country of registration or business establishment coupled with other additional factors may affect the length of the process.

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