• EORI Number – Everything you need to know

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    EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) is a numbering scheme that was introduced by the European Union in 2009. If you’re not based in the European Union you can stop reading right now and move to some of our more interesting topics. However, if you happen to be based in any EU country and plan to import products for a commercial purpose (i.e. buying and selling products) from outside the EU, then you must apply for one.

    An EORI number consists of an ISO country code (EU member state) and a maximum of 15 digits. For Germany, it can look like this: DE5512345678. Let’s have a look at some of the most common questions asked by importers regarding EORI numbers.

    What may happen if I don’t have an EORI number?

    The customs authorities are quite likely to hold your cargo until you’ve applied for one. However, they will not impose any penalty or destroy the cargo you’ve imported from China or elsewhere. Yet, nobody likes delays, and you’re better off applying for one before your cargo has departed from the country of origin.

    I plan to get my products delivered by Air Freight, do I still need to apply?

    Yes, an EORI number is mandatory regardless of whether you’re getting your imported products delivered by Sea Freight or Air Freight. This also applies if you’re buying product samples from a Chinese supplier. You’re still required to apply for an EORI number in advance.

    I don’t have a registered company, do I still need to apply for an EORI number?

    Yes, in several European states you are not required to register a company in order to perform commercial activity. Therefore, you are required to apply for an EORI-number even if you’re importing products as an individual rather than a registered business entity.

    Do my suppliers need to declare my EORI number on the export cartons?

    No, the customs authorities check the cargo consignee (that’s the company receiving the cargo). As long as your supplier sends the cargo to the right consignee the customs authorities can find out whether or not your company is registered in their database.

    We’re established in several EU states, is one EORI number enough?

    No, you need to apply for one EORI number in each country where it’s established. This may also apply to businesses in landlocked countries or other businesses that import through a port in a different EU state.

    How do I apply for an EORI number?

    Believe it or not, but it’s actually quite easy to get an EORI number online or by filling in a form that you send by mail or fax (some member states are still stuck in the 50s). The process usually takes less a few days and is only needed to be done once. Therefore, you don’t need to apply for an EORI number every single time you import products.

    Since the EU has not yet merged into one super state (well, it seems like we’re getting there, but let’s stick to business rather than politics), an EORI number shall be granted by the customs authorities in which you or your business is based. Below follows a list of links to various customs authorities websites in the EU for more information about the application:

    Alright, that’s all we had to tell you about EORI numbers. However, we thought you might be interested in reading some of our other shipping and logistics related articles:

    Air Freight & Importing from China – The Ultimate Guide

    Plan to buy samples or import small volumes from China? Then Air Freight might be a viable shipping option. While the shipping process is simple, Air Freight can be rather expensive for products with a low density.

    Sea Freight & Shipping from China – The Ultimate Guide

    The most cost efficient way to get your products transported from China is by sea. While the cost per kilogram can be incredibly low, the shipping process can be rather complicated for those without prior experience.

    FCL & LCL shipping from China

    We often get asked whether it’s possible to ship small quantities by sea. Yes, it certainly is. That’s why there’s something called LCL (Less than Container Load). In this article we explain how it works and the difference between LCL and FCL (Full Container Load).

    Incoterms and shipping from China

    An incoterm specifies the extent of transportation included in a quotation. A Chinese supplier may quote a price that brings your cargo to Shanghai, or all the way to your front door. However, the incoterm has a major impact on pricing. Without knowing which incoterm a supplier.

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  • 10 Responses to “EORI Number – Everything you need to know

    1. Julie Hubbad at 12:51 am

      I have a shipment leaving China for the Uk in a week. I can’t get my EORI number until I receive my UTR number, this is slowing down my application. My shipment will set sail before I receive my EORI for the LTD company. I am using a freight forwarder, will my shipment be held up in China waiting for my EORI number or can it set sail, as do I only require this in time for the landing of the shipment in the UK?

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 11:29 am

        Hi Julie,

        I think the main risk is that your cargo will be held up upon arrival in the UK without an EORI number, not in China. That said, should be enough time to get an EORI before arrival. Should just take a few days.

    2. Sina at 1:47 am

      Dear Mr. Fredrik

      We have started registering a company in Portugal. Our activity will be import & export from EU to the middle East or sth like these.
      Do we need to get an EURI number or Fiscal code (NIF) is enough for our main goals?

      Thanks and best regards,

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 7:44 pm

        Hi Sina,

        All importers need an EORI number

    3. Francesco at 12:50 pm

      Hello i have a question, i have my eori number , not vat registered, i ll import soon stuff from china to uk, ( where my company is ) , i ll make around 100 watches and let s say the cost should be around 700 pounds . How can i use the eori? Where should i write it ? Is there any possibility that custom stops my stuff and i have to pay to releas it , even with the eori number? Thanks

      1. ChinaImportal at 3:28 pm

        Hi Francesco,

        I think the customs authorities will be able to link the receiver (importing company) with the EORI number on their own.

        That said, they may stop the goods and request proof of the customs value, like an invoice.

    4. Caiying at 4:12 am


      We are a Chinese company wants to export goods to the U.K. The agents in the local told us that we have to apply an EORI number first. However, we are concerned that there might be risks if we give out our company info. .
      1. Are there any potential risks if we let the agents help us to apply an EORI number?
      2. Can we apply an EORI number all by ourselves? How?
      3. Any suggestions for us?


    5. abdel at 11:23 pm

      Hello Frederik

      The plan is to send goods to amazon.com we will be using DHL as a freight forwarder.
      The goods will be send first to be inspected and labeling etc… by fbainspection.com
      so my question is
      will i require a U.S. based Ultimate Consignee and their EIN #. and how can id get it

      thank you

    6. abdel at 3:02 pm

      Hello Frederik

      I live in Belgium and we want to buy goods and import them in the USA where it will be sold do i need a LLC and EORI number,,?


      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 6:28 pm

        Hello Abdel,

        You need either a US entity (e.g. LLC or Corporation) or a representative in the US. However, EORI is only used in the EU, not US. That said, there are plenty of other things to consider when opening a US company, and importing into the states. I suggest you contact an incorporation agency.

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