This article explores what registering your business will mean for you as a sole trader, what the benefits of registering a business are, & why to consider it.
An EORI number, or Economic Operators’ Registration & Identification number, is a unique code that appears after your registered VAT number. EORI numbers are used at a governmental level to monitor and track customs information when goods are being moved to and from the UK.
Who needs an EORI number?
If you're a business moving goods in and out of the UK, you’ll need an EORI number.
What happens without an EORI number?
Without an EORI number, your goods will not clear customs. Instead, they will be held at the port or airport. You won’t be able to access these goods, and worse yet, you’ll have to pay extortionate fees for their storage (demurrage). Put simply, without an EORI number you can expect to spend a lot of time and money for no gain.
The process of getting an EORI number is completed online, however, there are different forms depending on your situation. All applications must be completed by parent companies where applicable.
If you’re VAT registered
If you’re not VAT registered
- And you’re exporting from the UK, this is the correct EORI form.
- And you’re importing to the UK, use this form to get an EORI number.
How long does it take to get an EORI number?
As the application is completed online, you’ll receive confirmation of your EORI number via email, to the address used during your application. This process will take up to 3 working days, and you should monitor your spam folder just to be sure.
Give the number to your courier or freight forwarder. They’ll use it when making customs declarations on your behalf.
EORI checker if you are UK/EU VAT registered
To check or confirm your EORI number, add “GB” before your UK VAT code and insert “000” at the end of the sequence. (i.e. GB123456789000). When you have this information, input it into this EORI checker.
Contact the EORI team
It’s crucial that you contact the EORI team at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in any of the following circumstances:
- A change of business name, address or VAT number
- If you’ve lost your VAT number
- If you register for VAT after you’ve been assigned an EORI number
- If an EORI number is no longer required
- To add or remove your EORI information from the public