October 20, 2023
Sarah Seiler

Demystifying EORI Numbers: Navigating the Essentials for International Trade

An EORI, or Economic Operator Registration and Identification Number, is a passport for businesses and individuals importing and exporting goods to or from the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK). Below, we’ll outline when and why EORIs become essential, explain how Arta simplifies gathering these details, and address frequently asked questions.

What is an EORI Number?

An EORI number is a unique identification code with a significant role—it tracks and registers customs information in the EU and UK.

Who Needs an EORI Number?

EORI numbers are necessary for businesses and individuals importing and exporting goods within the EU and UK. The EORI being utilized must belong to the exporter, and be associated with the country the item is being exported from. The sender is not permitted to employ another person's EORI for exporting purposes. Let's break down the categories of who requires an EORI number in more detail:


  • If you're part of a business entity engaged in importing or exporting goods to or from the UK and the EU, securing an EORI number is non-negotiable.
  • It’s important to note that if your business is under a larger holding group, remember that the application for an EORI number must be processed by the parent company, not its subsidiary.


  • Private individuals may need an EORI number if their imports or exports to or from the UK and the EU are for commercial purposes, such as selling or lending.
  • If your imports or exports are strictly for personal use, like relocating household items, technically, an EORI number isn't obligatory. However, it’s always simplest to apply for one to streamline customs procedures and avoid potential delays, given that customs authorities still require you to declare the identity of the importer/exporter. The free application process takes less than five minutes, so it's well worth it.

If you need an EORI number, instructions for application can be found on your local government's website. You can initiate the application process for EU countries by visiting the European Commission's taxation and customs website. The official UK government website is the place to go for UK-based applicants.

What Happens if I Don’t Provide an EORI Number?

Failing to supply the requisite EORI number when required can lead to costly consequences, including customs delays, storage charges, and the possibility of returned shipments. Thus, whether you're a business or an individual, ensuring the correct EORI number is crucial for the uninterrupted flow of your imports and exports.

What Does an EORI Number Look Like?

EORI numbers are more than just random combinations. They follow a specific format, carrying valuable information. Here's what an EORI number for UK businesses typically looks like:

  • VAT registered businesses: GB (country code) + VRN (VAT registration number) + 000
  • Non-VAT registered businesses: GB (country code) + a unique number issued by HMRC

Keep in mind that customs requirements can evolve. Therefore, it's vital to stay informed and ensure that your EORI information remains up-to-date to ensure the smooth sailing of your trade operations.

How does Arta collect EORI numbers?

Many elements are at play when filing exports, all of which are automated through Arta’s Export Customs Documents (ECD) feature. Communication is made directly with the seller, collecting only the information required to export based on the shipment’s attributes, such as an EORI number.

Remember that customs requirements change, so it's essential to lean on the experts for guidance.

Sarah Seiler

Sarah is a marketer at Arta. She is driven by her curiosity around complex processes and her enthusiasm for utilizing technology to simplify and make these systems more accessible.

About Arta

We provide end-to-end logistics solutions for merchants and marketplaces worldwide.

We’re continuously evolving our e-commerce infrastructure for the global collectibles industry through automated transaction, fulfillment, and post-purchase technology. Arta's software provides instant shipping and handling quotes for any item type, regardless of size, material, or price point. Our API automates shipping and fulfillment for high-value items, providing a frictionless purchasing experience for our clients’ buyers.

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