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An Economic Operator’s Registration and Identification number (or EORI number for short) identifies your business as having permission to move some types of goods between Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland) and other countries. In this article we explain who should apply for an EORI number, and how to get one.

You might need to apply for an EORI number if your business moves goods between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the rest of the world.

Businesses which sell services don’t usually need an EORI number to provide them in other countries.

 
The rules are slightly different in Northern Ireland, so you’ll need an EORI number to move goods between Great Britain (Wales, England, Scotland) and Northern Ireland, but you don’t need one to move goods between Northern Ireland and the EU.

Who needs an EORI number?

You may need an EORI number if you move goods between:

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

Depending on where you move goods to and from, you might need more than one EORI number. You’ll need to apply for an EORI number which starts with ‘GB’ to move goods to or from Great Britain.

You might also need to have an EORI number that starts with XI so that you can move goods between Northern Ireland and countries that aren’t in the EU. If you’re moving goods between Northern Ireland and the EU and you already have an EORI number from an EU country, then you won’t need one starting with XI.
 

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You can apply for your EORI number online, although the documents you’ll need are slightly different depending on whether you’re applying for a GB EORI number, or an XI EORI number.

Applying for an EORI number which starts with GB

To apply for an EORI number starting with GB you will need:

Applying for an EORI number starting with XI

You’ll need an EORI number starting with GB in order to apply for an XI EORI number, as well as:

  • Your XI VAT number (if you have one)
  • Any VAT numbers that have been issued by an EU country
  • 2 documents which prove your permanent business establishment is in Northern Ireland (unless your business is based elsewhere and you’re applying for an XI EORI number to make certain declarations or act as a carrier)

Yes, you’ll need to show your EORI on your customs documents, and you won’t be able to move goods across the border without them. Documents must include your own EORI number, as well as that of the sender or receiver.

For example

You export goods from Wales to France.

Your export documents must show your GB EORI number, along with the French EORI number of the importer.

If you are moving goods across the GB border to send to your own warehouse in the EU (or in the other direction), you’ll need to register for your own EU EORI number, as well as a GB one.

Your EORI number will start with the country code that issued it, and then your 12 digit VAT number. If your business isn’t VAT registered, your EORI number will start with the country code, and then a unique number generated by HMRC.

Learn more about our online accounting services for businesses. Call 020 3355 4047 to chat to the team, and get an instant online quote.

About The Author

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible. Learn more about Elizabeth.

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