EORI Number in the European Union

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The European Union has presented certain challenges for the member nations. For instance, it can be difficult to enforce laws across the borders of the different countries. Since the participating nations are governed collectively, it can make it difficult to track packages through customs. 

Denmark , for example, is regarded for its lenient narcotics laws, but it would be illegal to ship narcotics from The Kingdom of the Netherlands to other countries. 

The Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI number) scheme is meant to help the European union deal with customs issues since it was introduced in 2009.

What is the EORI Scheme?

The Trader's Unique Reference Number (Turn) system was the Union's initial means of dealing with customs in participating nations. The more advanced system is meant to better enforce the guidelines of the Security Amendment Council Regulations 648/2005. In essence, every business or Economic Operator (EO) within the EU is to obtain an EORI in order to do business. 

The number is used throughout the community of included countries, but only when the EO communicates with a customs agent. Each EORI number is unique to a particular EO within the union, making it easy for agents to identify exactly which company or individual is responsible for a particular package or shipment. 

The EO responsible for the goods can be tracked in any country that's a member of the EU, which makes it much easier for customs agents. 

The EO uses the same number every time there's an exchange of information with customs in any participating country.  

Though each country has its own customs agents, these agents can track a single EO with a universal code.

The EORI: A Simplified System

One of the best features of the EORI number is the country code that's contained within each. At a glance, the custom's agents can decipher the EO's country of origin. Each state has its own unique code or number which proceeds the other characters in the EORI number. For instance, a Dutch EO would have the NL code which would be followed by the EO's specific, nine digit tax reference number.

Who Needs an EORI

An EORI is to be assigned by the member country in which the EO is actually registered. This single code is valid for all member states, allowing EO's of the union to more easily conduct international business. However, EORI's are only assigned to the legal entities within participating countries. Departments and branches of legal entities are required to use the same number as the head office. In most countries, even EO's with excise tax permits are required to have an EORI number. This is to prevent customs agents from having to deal with so many different numbers and codes.

Applying for an EORI Number

Economic Operators who already have  Legal Entities and Partnerships Identification Number in their countries of origin may not need to apply for the EORI,  because the number can be deducted with this information. However, it may be best to physically apply for a new number to ensure the customs agents within the country are aware of it. The steps to apply for an EORI number are fairly universal from one country to the next. EO's can join by completing an EORI number application form for each participating country. Most countries even allow EO's to apply for an EORI number online.   Any EO is also permitted to check the validity of any other EO's number. Some EO's even give consent to have their names and addresses published within the union's database. The information of every participating EO is stored within an EORI database. In order to apply, an EO must submit the following information.

  1. His or her full legal name
  2. The full address where the applicant resides including the country's identifying characteristics
  3.  Any VAT identification numbers that have been assigned by a member state
  4.  Any applicable legal forms that are stated within the deed of incorporation
  5. The incorporation date or the birth date if the number is for a natural person
  6. The type of entity (natural person, legal person, etc.) applying for the number in coded form, the contact information (name, address, telephone number, etc.) of the contact person

There may other required information depending upon a number of different factors. For instance, EO's that are not establishes within the EU must have qualified representatives of the third country supply all applicable identification numbers. The only requirement is for the EO to be operational in one of the member countries.  

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