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HMRC internal manual


Import entry procedures: Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI)

When is the EORI number used

This unique number will be used by EOs, for example, on the provision to the customs authorities of pre-arrival and pre-departure information on all goods entering and leaving the customs territory of the Union. The EORI number is also included on the customs declaration when you import your goods from or export goods to countries outside the EU. This includes if you occasionally buy items for your business from outside the EU for example machinery or equipment, goods for exhibition, samples, office supplies and so on even though your business is not usually involved in importing or exporting.

In addition it will be used for the exchange of information between the customs authorities as well as between customs authorities and other authorities for example other government departments but only in respect of the movement of goods involving a customs procedure

Do I need an EORI number and where can I apply

If you are involved in customs activities and are established in the customs territory of the Union, you shall be registered by the customs authority of the Member State in which you are established.

If you are not established in the customs territory of the Union, you will be registered by the customs authority of the Member State where you first lodge a declaration or apply for a decision other than a customs declaration made for the temporary admission import procedure (but see paragraph below)

What if I am importing or re-exporting temporary admission goods or hold an ATA Carnet

Non-EU economic operators declaring goods for relief under temporary admission are not required to obtain an EORI number. The code 00500 should be entered on the customs declaration (C88) in box 8 for imports or box 2 for re-exports. The code 00500 should be prefixed with the non EU country code, followed by the operators name and address. For example a trader from the US should enter US00500.

The ATA carnet replaces the normal customs declaration required however, where form C21 (customs clearance request) needs to be completed for inventory clearance purposes:

  • if the carnet holder is an EU resident, an EORI number will need to be entered in box 8 of the C21
  • if the carnet holder is a non EU resident they should complete box 8 of the C21 by entering 00500 in the identification field of the declaration preceded by the non EU country code followed by their name and address.

Am I eligible for an EORI number

The legislation restricts the issue of an EORI number to a legal person - sole proprietor, partnership, company or individual. It therefore cannot be allocated to individual branches or divisions within a legal entity. Only one number can be issued per legal person.