EORI Registration

In many countries today, registering your intent to import or export has become a necessity.  The situation in the UK is as follows:

If an importer is importing goods from outside the European Community, then unless the value of the goods is below US Dollars 300, everyone importing into the UK needs to be registered with Revenue and Customs as an importer/exporter and the proof of registration is an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) Number. This system started on 1st July 2009 as part the Customs Code Implementation Provisions.

The implementation of EORI replaced the previous identification system, known as TURN, which ceased to exist from 1st July 2009. If an organization already had a TURN number, then this was automatically changed to an EORI number.

Once an organization is registered for Customs purposes in one European Community Member State then their EORI number is valid throughout the Community. This number (if obtained through the UK) starts with GB and is followed by 12 digits unique to each organization.

This number needs to be given to the Customs Clearance Agent responsible for clearing the goods through UK Customs. Without it they are unable to start the Customs Clearance procedure. The only exceptions are if the organization is importing or re-exporting temporary admission goods or if the goods have travelled with an ATA Carnet.

Any organization applying for an EORI Number must be a legal entity (not individual branches or divisions within a legal entity) and involved in Customs activity. Only one EORI number can be issued per legal entity.

To apply for an EORI number, the organization must submit an application form C220, either by electronic mail or as a hard copy version through the post. Fax applications are not accepted. Both Form C220 Electronic application and Form C220A (hard copy version) can be downloaded from www.hmrc.gov.uk. Click on Import and Export under Businesses & Corporations and then click on Forms on the left hand side of the screen. In the Search box at the top of the screen, type in C220 and click on the Search tab. This will bring you to all the information held by Revenue and Customs about the EORI scheme. Click on the option for the form and follow the instructions to download the relevant form.

The form has three sections – A, B and C (and if sent as a hard copy must be completed in capital letters and black ink). Sections A and C must be completed by all applicants. Section B is only completed by organizations not registered for VAT or organizations not established in the European Community. If an organization has to complete Section B, then supporting documents will be required to be sent with the form, which will be listed depending on the type of organization making the application. A sole trader, for example, will need to send a copy of their passport. The forms must be signed by an owner or director/senior manager of the organization.

The HM Revenue and Customs EORI Team is based at 13th Floor South, Government Buildings, Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff, CF14 5FP. It can take between 24 and 72 hours for the application to be processed and a further 24 hours before the EORI number can be used once HM Revenue and Customs have sent notification of the EORI number. The best way of communicating with this office is by e-mail and their e-mail address is eori.customs&intl@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk (as of 28th June 2010).

It is, therefore, important that if an EORI number is required for the import, this is obtained and in place before the shipment physically arrives in the UK and needs to be cleared through Customs.

Maria Narancic from Point to Point Export Services is an independent international trade adviser who assists organisations world wide with their international trade projects, documentation, Documentary Credits and import/export training.  She is based in the United Kingdom.  If you require any further assistance with the matters mentioned above, please do contact us by e-mail on info@point-point.com or check out other international trade articles on the Point to Point Export Services website at www.point-point.com.

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