The EORI number and rules for trading with European Union

New rules for businesses that trade with Europe have arrived. This means that since 1 January 2021, all businesses that move goods between Great Britain and countries in the EU, or under the Northern Ireland Protocol, need to follow new customs and tax rules.

What is an EORI number, and why do I need one?

You must have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number that starts with GB if you wish to move goods between Great Britain or the Isle of Man, and other countries. Without it you will not be able to complete your customs declarations and you may experience increased costs and delays.

You will also need a separate EORI number that starts with XI if you:

  • move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries (including Great Britain)

  • make a declaration in Northern Ireland

  • get a customs decision in Northern Ireland.

To get an EORI number that starts with XI, you must already have an EORI number that starts with GB.

An EORI number consists of two parts, the country code followed by a unique code or number. If you already have an EORI number and it does not start with GB you will need to apply for a new one.

If you don’t have an EORI number that starts with GB or XI for Northern Ireland, you can register for free on GOV‌‌‌.UK. It takes 5 to 10 minutes to apply and you will normally receive it in under a week.

How do I classify my goods, and how do I prove their origin?

We recommend that you hire a customs intermediary to help you ensure your goods are classified correctly. This is because if you do not classify your goods correctly or if you do not accurately record the origin of the goods in your customs declaration, you may be charged the wrong amount of tax or duty.

However, if you choose not to hire an intermediary, you will need to do this yourself. To help you make your decision, read the guidance on GOV‌‌‌.UK.


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This article intends to give only a general informative picture and should not, in any case, be taken as a rule. It is strongly recommended to seek a full and professional guidance specifically for your circumstances before making any decisions.

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