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An EORI number (abbreviation for Economic Operator Registration and Identification) is assigned to businesses importing products to the EU. In this guide, we explain what an EORI is used for, how to apply for an EORI number, EORI applications for non-EU companies, processing time, and more.
What is an EORI number?
An EORI number is used for all customs-related matters, such as customs declaration forms. EORI numbers can also be used when applying for import permits and licenses.
An EORI number consists of an ISO country code (EU member state) and a maximum of 15 digits. For a German company, it can look like this: DE5512345678.
Do I need an EORI number for each shipment?
No, you don’t need a new EORI number for each shipment. You will be assigned a single EORI number for your company after applying. As such, you apply only once for each company.
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Do I need an EORI number when importing from China?
Yes, you need to apply for an EORI number from China, just as you need an EORI number when importing from any country. Imports in this case refer to shipments from outside the EU, not within the EU.
In which country should I apply for an EORI number?
You should apply for an EORI number in the country you import products to. For example, a company importing products to the Netherlands should apply for an EORI number with the Customs Administration of the Netherlands.
Do Amazon sellers need to apply for an EORI number?
Yes, Amazon sellers – regardless of whether your company is based in the EU or outside – must apply for an EORI number before importing products into the EU.
Can non-EU companies obtain an EORI number?
Yes, non-EU companies can obtain EORI numbers. However, the processing time can be up to a week. Further, non-EU companies should apply for an EORI number in the country where they intend to import their products.
For example, if our Hong Kong-based company would ship cargo to a warehouse in the Netherlands, we’d also need to apply for an EORI number there.
How much does it cost to obtain an EORI number?
It doesn’t cost anything to obtain an EORI number. The application is free, and there is no annual or other cost involved.
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, you will have to cover additional storage costs in the port – which can set you back at least 50 EUR per day.
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 ocean, air or railway.
Do I need an EORI number when buying product samples?
Yes, the EORI number requirement also applies if you’re buying product samples from a Chinese supplier. You’re still required to apply for an EORI number in advance.
We have received reports of the customs withholding product samples until an EORI application has been processed.
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?
Yes, your EORI number can be used in all other EU member states. As such, you don’t need to apply in all member states.
How do I apply for an EORI number?
You can apply online with the national customs authorities in the member state that you are located in – or first intend to import products to. You can follow the links in the list below to find more information about EORI number application in each individual EU member state, and the UK:
The processing time differs depending on the member state, and where your company is located. For example, an online EORI number application in Sweden (for local companies) can be processed in only an hour. However, non-Swedish companies need to wait up to 5 days.
Co-founder of Asiaimportal (HK) Limited and based in Hong Kong. He has been quoted in and contributed to Bloomberg, SCMP, Alibaba Insights, Globalsources.com, China Chief Executive, Quartz Magazine and more.
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