January 09, 2022
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EORI number in EU

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What is EORI number?

An Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number is a unique identification number assigned by a customs authority to an economic operator or to another person1 in order to track and register customs information in the EU.

In other words, persons planning to import or export goods into or from the customs territory of the EU or to carry out other customs-related activities, e.g. apply for a customs decision, should have the EORI number in order to be identified by customs authorities for the above-mentioned purposes.

An EORI number consists of letter and digit parts. Letters mean the country code of the Member State in which the EORI number is issued. Digits indicate a unique code or number used in this Member State.

Who should obtain EORI number?

Any economic operator established in the EU should obtain the EORI number from his national customs office before commencing customs activities in the EU.

Economic operators not established in the customs territory of the Union may also apply for an EORI number. They are registered with the customs office responsible for the supervision of the place where they first lodge the customs declaration or request a decision, e.g. Binding Tariff Information decision.

In addition, the EORI number may be assigned to persons who are not economic operators but have dealings with customs.

When is EORI number used?

Customs authorities require an EORI number in all communications with its holder where a customs identification is obligatory.

How to obtain EORI number?

As a rule, in order to receive an EORI number, an application should be submitted to the appropriate customs office. National legislation of the Member States determines the form and provides instructions for completing and submission of the application. Obtaining an EORI number is free of charge.

An EORI number assigned in one EU Member State is valid throughout the European Union. 

Validation of EORI number

EORI number can be validated using the database of the European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/dds2/eos/eori_validation.jsp. EORI numbers of Northern Ireland (starting with the “XI” code), as foreseen by the Northern Ireland Protocol, are available for the query as well.

Legal basis

Customs registration of economic operators for EORI number is governed by the Union Customs Code, however, the detailed rules of the registration process are set out in the national law of the EU Member States.

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1'Economic operator' means a person who, in the course of his or her business, is involved in activities covered by the customs legislation. 'Person' means a natural person, a legal person, and any association of persons which is not a legal person but which is recognised under Union or national law as having the capacity to perform legal acts. Both definitions are provided in Article 5 of the Union Customs Code.

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lt
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A customs warehouse stored bottled alcohol (vodka). Customs audited the warehouse, took a sample, and found that there was water instead of vodka in the bottles! Customs ordered the warehouse to pay €308,455 customs debt (import duties and taxes, fines and interest). A dispute arose regarding who must pay the customs debt, as the customs warehouse is not obliged to take samples of the goods. Let's look at the clarification of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania (SACL) in this case.

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