EORI Number in UK: What is and How to get it?

Find information about what is an EORI number, why is it important and how to get it in the UK.

What is an EORI number?

EORI number stands for Economic Operators Registration and Identification Number. This is an identification number that businesses, or economic operators, must provide at Customs when making imports or exports.

In the UK, EORI numbers start with GB.

UK EORI numbers are different from EU EORI numbers. You can have two EORI numbers, one in the UK issued by HMRC and another one in the EU issued by an EU country.

In what countries do you need an EORI number?

EORI numbers are used at least in the UK and the European Union countries. Other countries may have similar identification numbers for Customs purposes.

  • UK EORI numbers are Customs ID numbers valid in the UK only. These are different from EU EORI numbers, which are valid in all EU member states. Following Brexit, HMRC started issuing customs identification numbers for each business trading their goods internationally from or into the UK. As mentioned above, it is important to note that these are ID numbers for customs purposes in the UK only.
  • An EU EORI number, or Economic Operators Registration and Identification Number, is a unique identification number for customs purposes in all EU countries. This number is required to make imports into the EU from non-EU countries. This number will appear on import documents and will be used to identify businesses when dealing with customs.

Typically, an EORI number consists first of the country code of the country where it was obtained followed by a unique set of numbers. EORI numbers issued in Northern Ireland are also considered as EU EORI; they start with XI.

Who needs an EORI number in UK?

Economic operators that want to trade with goods making imports or exports between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and other countries, need a UK EORI number.

You do not need an EORI number if you are moving goods for particular use as a private individual.

More specifically:

  • If you want to make imports or exports of goods between Great Britain and the Isle of Man.
  • If you want to make imports or exports of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • If you want to make imports or exports of goods between Great Britain and the Channel Islands. However, if you are a business based in the Channel Islands and you make imports or exports in the UK, you do not need an EORI number unless you use HMRC’s customs systems like Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF).

When is an EORI number required in UK?

You will need a UK EORI number at the moment of making the Customs declarations of imports or exports or applying for a Customs decision. You should get this number prior to this requirement.

How to get an EORI number in UK?

The application for a UK EORI number is made online via the HMRC portal. You will need Government Gateway Id and password. If you do not have you, you can create the account at the moment of applying for the EORI.

What information do I need to apply for an EORI number?

When completing the online EORI registration, the information requested depends on whether you are a UK-based business or a foreign company.

UK businesses must provide the system with the following information:

  • Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).
  • Start date and SIC code (Standard Industrial Classification). This information can be found on the Companies House database.
  • Online access to HMRC portal – Gateway user and password.
  • VAT number and effective date of registration – in case you are VAT registered.
  • National Insurance Number, in case of sole traders.

Foreign businesses do not need to include those details which are specific to UK-established businesses. Instead, the information required concerns the company data in the country of establishment, address, contact details, etc.

Learn more about UK import VAT accounting.

Format for EORI number in the UK

UK EORI numbers all start with the code GB followed by your UK VAT registration number (VRN) and three zeros in the end. This is GB + VRN + 000. Of course, if you do not have a VAT number in the UK, the system will assign different numbers.

  • As a foreign business, you may apply for a UK EORI number without being previously registered for VAT in the UK. However, the EORI number issued is known as a non-VAT EORI number.
  • In case you are registered for VAT purposes in the UK, you need to complete a different application form, and you will receive a VAT EORI number. This number is based on your GB VAT number. A VAT EORI number is required to introduce the import VAT amounts in your UK VAT returns. 

In case you are registered for VAT purposes in the UK, but your business already had a Non-VAT EORI number in the UK, you will need to de-register the Non-VAT EORI and get a new VAT EORI number. You shall contact the HMRC’S EORI team for this transition.

Get in touch!

Do you have further questions? Do not hesitate to contact our team.


How long does the EORI application take?

Normally, GB EORI numbers are issued immediately, unless the HMRC has some checks to perform. In that case, it can take up to five working days to receive the EORI number.

Once you receive the UK EORI number, you should also consider that may take around 48h for its final activation.

Have a look at our guide on importing goods in the UK.

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