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Getting an EORI Number

The Economic Operators Registration and Identification number replaced the outdated Traders Union Reference Number on the 1st of July 2009. EORI is a system that allows customs agencies to track commercial cargos and shipments as they move in and out of the United Kingdom.

Who Needs to Get an EORI Number in UK?

Because the EORI system identifies traders for customs declarations, you will need the number to move goods between (any):

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

Note: A help guide explaining how to apply to get a valid EORI number is also available in Welsh language (cael rhif EORI).

The location you are moving goods from, and its destination, will determine which type you need (and how to get it).

In fact, many of the companies that are exporting products and services from the United Kingdom need to have more than one valid number.

In case you were wondering:

What happens if you have the wrong EORI number? If so, you may experience delayed services at the customs department. Furthermore, needing to have your goods stored while you get it corrected is likely to increase the costs.

Checking EORI Numbers for Validity

Anyone based in the United Kingdom would need to apply to get a GB EORI number (e.g. beginning with letters ‘GB’).

Furthermore, anyone moving commercial products to or from Northern Ireland may also need a number starting with the letters ‘XI’.

You may need one from a relevant EU country if your business makes certain declarations or it gets the customs decision in the European Union (unless you already have an XI EORI number).

EORI numbers would be required to make customs declarations, to apply for a customs decision, or any time you (either):

Important: Any business based in the Channel Islands does not need a number to move goods to or from the United Kingdom unless it uses an HMRC customs system (e.g. CHIEF).

Businesses need to have a valid EORI number to move goods between Great Britain (i.e. England, Scotland, and Wales) and another country. Furthermore, they would also need one to move goods from Northern Ireland to any of the non-EU countries.

You can check an EORI number online (the letters ‘GB’ means it was issued by the United Kingdom). It may also show the name and address of the business.

Note: The online service to check an EORI number is also available in Welsh language (gwirio rhif EORI) on the GOV.UK website.

Moving Goods to or from Northern Ireland

Your Economic Operators Registration and Identification number must begin with the letters ‘XI’ any time you are:

  • Moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
  • Moving goods from Northern Ireland to any of the other non-EU countries.
  • Applying for a customs decision, or making a declaration, in Northern Ireland.

You only need to declare certain goods that you move from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. Check if you need to make an export declaration and will need an XI EORI number.

Another section explains how to check if you need to declare goods that you are bringing into, or taking out of, the United Kingdom.

An EORI number is not required to move goods on the island of Ireland or between one of the EU countries and Northern Ireland.

Note: You must be based in Northern Ireland or the EU to be the person or organisation named as a ‘declarant’ on import and export declarations made in Northern Ireland.

Moving Goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The Trader Support Service provides guidance about any changes taking place because of the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Note: The Cabinet Office has further details and guidance about moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland.

How to Apply for an EORI Number

Numbers Starting with GB

Applicants of a Great Britain Economic Operators Registration and Identification number are going to need (all):

You can set up a Government Gateway user ID when you apply for a GB EORI number on the GOV.UK website. It may take up to five (5) working days to complete if HMRC needs to make any checks on the application.

Numbers Starting with XI

After applying for a GB EORI number you will be able to make an application for an XI number by filling in the enquiry form. Remember to tick the box that:

  • Confirms you will be trading with Northern Ireland (or you are based there).
  • States the enquiry is a “Query regarding a current EORI number application”.

Where to Get Expert Help

You will be able to use your Government gateway to check the current status of your application once you have made it.

HM Revenue and Customs
Telephone: 0300 322 9434
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm (closed UK bank holidays)
Information about phone call charges

Related Help Guides

Note: This short video presented by HMRC explains more about the new customs and tax rules when exporting goods from Great Britain to Europe.

How to Apply to Get an EORI Number in the United Kingdom