EORI code: speeding up trade within the European Community

What is the EORI code?

EORI stands for Economic Operator Registration and Identification, meaning “registration and identification of economic operators”.  It is a unique economic operator registration and identification code, which is assigned and used to track and record customs information within the EU.


What is the purpose of the EORI code?

Any company with a registered office in the European Union that carries out import and export operations outside of the EU must have an EORI code. The EORI code is used to track and record all customs information and activities in the EU territory. If your company ships outside of the EU without having an EORI code, there may be delays in shipment or fines at customs.


At what stage of the shipping process is the EORI code used?

The only purpose of this code is at the customs level, not at the fiscal or administrative level. In particular, it was established with the objectives of:

  • Identifying economic operators in dealings with European customs authorities
  • Providing a common reference point for the exchange of communications between customs authorities of different countries
  • Simplifying the exchange of communications between customs and other bodies or authorities.

The EORI code must be indicated in every communication with all customs authorities of the different EU member states, in case of course that customs identification is required (both for goods arriving by sea and by air). The data relating to the EORI code is stored in a central electronic system that allows customs agents to quickly and easily trace it back to identify economic operators.

This code is shown on the commercial invoice.


Does my company already have an EORI code?

If you are not sure if your company already has an EORI code, it is important that you check. Each company is given a unique EORI code. If you already have an EORI code but you ask for it again because you are not aware that you already have one, you will not be given a different one. The EORI code of Italian companies corresponds to their VAT number preceded by the prefix IT, for a total of two letters and eleven digits: for example, IT01234567890.

You can check the validity of EORI numbers on the European Commission website.


What are the consequences after Brexit?

As of December 31, 2020 and with the entry into force of the Brexit, the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) has exited the EU. Among other consequences, this means that it will no longer enjoy the benefits of the EU’s customs union and common market, with the exception of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland will still be able to benefit from the agreement on the free movement of goods within the EU due to certain special treaties.


How do we apply for an EORI number?

The EORI number must be registered with the customs authority of the European country where your company is established.

The procedure for requesting an EORI number in Italy is very simple and straightforward.

  • You will have to fill in the appropriate application form and submit it at any Customs Agency office together with your identification document
  • Usually, the receipt of your EORI number does not take long, but you may still have to wait a few days.

In the form you will be asked for the following data (among others):

  • Applicant data, such as VAT number and country of residence or registered office
  • Identification codes assigned to the applicant in third countries
  • Contact information
  • Proof of identity or registration in the commercial register.


What happens if my company doesn’t have a code when the goods arrive at customs?

First of all, it is good to say that you do not risk any fines or penalties. It should also be noted that the goods will not be seized. However, the release time could become longer than expected, with inconveniences both for the trader and for suppliers and customers: in fact, the goods could be held in customs until the trader requests – and obtains – his code.

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