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Apply for a UK EORI number to import or export within the EU

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From 1 January 2021, one of the changes is that UK businesses will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number to continue importing or exporting goods with the EU. The EORI number is also known as the Exporter Reference Number (ERN) or the exporter's Registered Exporter (REX) number.


What's an EORI number for?

An EORI number is issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and allows you to:

  • Trade goods into or out of the UK.
  • Submit declarations using software (or allow your agent to make these declarations on your behalf).
  • Apply to use simplified customs processes.

Who needs an EORI number?

HMRC advise you need a UK EORI number if you’re going to import or export goods with the EU after the UK leaves the EU and:

  • You’re a sole trader, resident in the UK, or
  • Your company or partnership has a registered office in the UK, or
  • Your company or partnership has a permanent place of business in the UK where they carry out their business activities.

You don't need to apply if you already have an EORI number, or if you only import or export goods with Ireland across the Northern Ireland and Ireland border. You also don't need one if you only import or export services that don't involve moving physical goods. For more information, visit the HMRC website.

Where do I use an EORI number?

EORI numbers are required for customs declarations and are therefore usually included on a commercial invoice. However, there is no requirement to include EORI numbers on a VAT invoice. 

How do I apply?

In preparation, HMRC announced in August 2019 that all VAT-registered firms in the UK who didn't already have an EORI number would be automatically enrolled, so you may have received one already.

If you haven't received an EORI number, it costs nothing to register for one and it only takes around 10 minutes to apply on the HMRC website. So even if you don't currently import or export, it's still a good idea to get one.

To check what details you need to provide, and apply for an EORI number online, visit the HMRC website at

Applying is quick and easy, it takes around 10 minutes to complete the application, then you should receive your EORI number from HMRC within a few days.

For more information about other changes to imports, exports, customs and tax, visit GOV.UK