Trading goods into and out of the UK – EORI
Jul 12, 2019
If you trade goods into and out of the UK then doubtless you’re following the developments of Brexit very closely. And if, come Halloween, the UK does end up leaving the EU without a deal, you’ll need to be ready to continue trading as effectively as possible.
In order to do this you’ll need to register in advance for an ‘Economic Operator Registration and Identification’ number (EORI). An EORI number from the UK starts with the initials ‘GB’ and is followed by 12 digits, which will include your VAT number if you’re registered for VAT. If you’ve already traded goods between the UK and countries outside of the EU then check that you don’t already have an EORI number.
When do I need an EORI number?
You’ll need an EORI number if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, and it can take at least three days to get one. You’ll need it in order to:
- Trade goods into and out of the UK
- Submit declarations using software
- Apply to be authorised for customs simplifications and procedures
If you only ever import or export goods to and from Ireland, or you import or export services rather than moving physical goods, then you don’t need to worry about applying for a UK EORI number.
How do I get an EORI number?
It only takes 5 or 10 minutes to apply for a UK EORI number, but first you’ll need a Government Gateway user ID and password – either for yourself or your organisation, depending on whether it’s a company or sole trader application.
The other information you’ll need includes:
- Your VAT number and effective date of registration
- Your National Insurance number (if you’re an individual or sole trader)
- Your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
- Your business start date and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, available from the Companies House register.
There are various different versions of the application form, depending on whether or not you are VAT registered, whether you are importing or exporting goods, and whether you are using freight forwarding services or completing customs declarations yourself.
When do I receive my EORI number?
It can take up to three working days for you to receive your EORI number via email. Once you’ve received it you may then need to wait a further 48 hours to make any declarations using the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. Going forwards, make sure you always use your EORI number when contacting HMRC about customs issues. You’ll also need to pass it to your freight forwarder to use for customs declarations.
If you’d like to receive further guidance from HMRC about the getting the right trade authorisations in place then you can sign up for their EU Exit email alerts. If you have any other queries, or would like help applying for an EORI number, please contact the PT team.