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VAT Compliance

EORI number

The EORI number (Economic Operators' Registration and Identification number) is an operator identification number that is valid throughout the European Union and replaces the German customs number. Since Regulation (EC) No 312/2009 amending provisions for the implementation of the Customs Code came into force on 1st July 2009, this number is a prerequisite for customs clearance in the European Union.


Who must have an EORI number?

If your company is an “economic operator”, that is, a person who, in the course of his business, is involved in activities covered by customs legislation, then your company must have an EORI number (Article 1(12) Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93). “Persons” are either natural or legal persons (for example, a Limited or PLC) or multiple persons with legal capacity (in particular partnerships such like as LLC).

Persons who “in the course of business are involved in activities covered by customs legislation” are not only all those directly involved (for example exporters, declarants, representatives) but also all those indirectly involved, and in particular those taking part in the IT-assisted ATLAS procedure, even if they do not have a technical role (as, for example, someone transmitting technical messages). EORI numbers are issued free.

How can I obtain the EORI number?

EORI numbers are assigned on request by the Customs Information and Knowledge Management department (IWM Zoll) free of charge. In order to lodge the request, the economic operator must complete and return form 0870 (Operator – EORI number master data) by post or fax to IWM Zoll.

How many EORI numbers may an economic operator have?

As an economic operator you must have a single EORI number, because the EORI number is used as a Europe-wide unique identifier (Art. 1 (16) and Art. 4l (6), CCIP). This also means that any unincorporated part or parts of your company (branch or permanent establishment) can not have its/their own EORI number(s).

Should the Customs Information and Knowledge Management service (IWM Zoll) establish that you are registered as an economic operator with several EORI numbers, one or more of which had been assigned to unincorporated parts (branches or permanent establishments) of your company – which may be the case during the transition period – you will be contacted by IWM Zoll. Any such EORI numbers assigned provisionally to unincorporated businesses (branches or permanent establishments) will be deactivated on a specific date which will have been agreed in consultation with you. In the course of such changeover, the relevant unincorporated parts of your company may, where appropriate, be assigned a branch number, and must thereafter identify themselves in ATLAS with both the EORI number and such additional branch number.

Assistance by WW+KN in order to apply for an EORI number

WW+KN can assist foreign companies by applying for an EORI number in Germany and especially by preparing all relevant forms as well as by communicating with the German Zoll. 

Summary of the most important points

  • A foreign company doing imports into the EU needs an EORI number.
  • The EORI number is only issued for doing the Customs Clearance.
  • A company can have only one EORI number for all EU countries. If a company got an EORI number from one EU country, the EORI number can be used by the company also in all other EU countries.