EORI Number in the UK: Application, Verification, and Usage

EORI numbers are essential for asset finance as they help track and identify assets during international transactions. These numbers enable lenders and financiers to have accurate records of the financed assets, ensuring proper security and risk management throughout the financing process.

If you are applying for an EORI number for the first time, we can help. At Portman Asset Finance, we have answered all of your questions regarding EORI numbers, from how to get one to the importance of record keeping. 

What Is An EORI Number?

An EORI number is an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number used by customs and authorities to monitor and track shipments. It is a unique ID code used to register and track customs information in the European Union. 

EORI numbers were implemented in July 2009 and replaced the old Traders Union Reference Number System method.

What Is the Format of an EORI Number?

An EORI number consists of a country code where your business is registered, followed by a unique number. It differs depending on whether your company is VAT registered or not and again if the shipment is coming from Northern Ireland. 

  • If VAT registered: Your EORI number will be in a standard format. This includes GB + VAT registration number (VRN) + 000.
  • If NOT VAT registered: Your EORI number will consist of GB + a unique number. 
  • Northern Ireland Shipments: EORI starts with XI, and then follows the same format. 

EORI Number Application Explained

Now you understand what an EORI number is, we have broken down the application process. 

Who Needs an EORI Number?

Anyone who imports or exports goods from the European Union needs an EORI number. You will need an EORI number if you move goods between:

  • Great Britain or the Isle of Man and any other country (including the EU)
  • Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Great Britain and the Channel Islands
  • Northern Ireland and countries outside the EU

It is important to note that you will not need an EORI if you are moving not controlled goods that are for personal use only. 

How to Apply for an EORI Number

You can apply for an EORI number on the Gov UK website if you are a UK-based business. You need to fill in the online form, which is the same one used to complete a self-assessment tax return.  

The Documents and Information Required for EORI Application

If you are applying for an EORI number that starts with GB, you will need the following information available for application: 

  • UTR Number 
  • Business Start Date 
  • SIC Code (Standard Industrial Classification)
  • Government Gateway ID
  • VAT Number & Registration Date 
  • National Insurance Number 

If you are applying for an EORI that begins with XI, you will need:

  • XI VAT Number
  • VAT Numbers issued by an EU country 
  • Proof of your permanent business establishment in Northern Ireland (2 documents)

How Long Does the EORI Application Take?

Getting an EORI number is quick and easy. Completing the application form should take no more than five minutes, and getting the EORI number should be instantaneous. However, if the HMRC need to make any further checks, you can expect to receive your EORI number within five working days. 

Verifying an EORI Number

Verifying an EORI number is crucial as it ensures the authenticity and validity of a company’s international trading activities, enabling smooth customs procedures and reducing the risk of delays or penalties. Additionally, it helps maintain the integrity of the supply chain by preventing fraudulent or illegal trading practices.

How to Verify an EORI Number

You can verify an EORI number using official online tools provided by the UK government and the EU. To check the validity of an EORI number starting with GB, you can Check your EORI online using the GOV UK website.

For EORI numbers starting with XI or any other letters, you can use the EORI Number Validation tool.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with EORI Number Verification

If you are concerned about any potential issues in applying for an EORI number, you can find guidance on service availability and issues using the latest guidance by the Government. 

Usage of EORI Numbers

EORI numbers have a range of applications across international trade, including customs clearance, asset finance, declarations, VAT and duty payments, trade statistics, and compliance. 

Having an EORI number in place can help facilitate the smooth management and payment of tax bills, which can be daunting if you don’t know how to Register and Complete Self-Assessment with HMRC. For more help paying your VAT tax bills, find out how you can finance your VAT tax bill with the help of Portman. 

EORI numbers for import/export declarations & customs clearance

EORI numbers are essential for import/export declarations as they allow customs authorities to identify and track businesses involved in international trade. These numbers are key to the declaration process, ensuring compliance with customs regulations and facilitating efficient and transparent customs clearance procedures.

EORI numbers for VAT and duty payments

An EORI number allows tax authorities to associate VAT and duty payments with specific traders. This ensures accurate and efficient payment processing and helps prevent fraudulent activities in the tax system.

EORI numbers for trade statistics and compliance

EORI numbers provide accurate data on trade flows, allowing governments and organisations to analyse and monitor economic trends. Additionally, EORI numbers aid in compliance with trade regulations by ensuring transparency and accountability in cross-border transactions, supporting efforts to prevent illicit trade practices and maintaining fair competition.


Effective management of EORI numbers ensures smooth customs clearance, facilitates compliance with regulatory requirements and enables efficient tracking of goods. It contributes to streamlined supply chains and reduced trade barriers. 

Maintaining accurate and up-to-date EORI information is essential for businesses to avoid delays, penalties, and potential disruptions to their trade operations. This is why maintaining accurate record management of EORI numbers is critical to the smooth running of your business. 


News & Articles FAQs

Do I need an EORI number for personal use?

No, you do not need an EORI number to move goods for personal use. You only need to apply for an EORI number if you are moving controlled goods.

Can I use someone else’s EORI number?

No, you cannot use someone else’s EORI number. Doing so could lead to fees, fines and delays of your goods.

Can I have more than one EORI number?

Yes, you may need multiple EORI numbers depending on where you are moving your goods between.

Do EORI numbers expire?

No, EORI numbers do not expire. They are assigned to your company on a permanent basis.

Is EORI number the same as VAT number?

No, an EORI number is not the same as a VAT number. An EORI number is essential for a business to import goods to and from the UK and EU. A VAT number is required for registration depending on where you’re selling into or from.

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