Yes! You need one.
EORI stands for The ‘Economic Operator Registration and Identification’. It was introduced in July 2009 in order to replace the VAT number, for statistical measurement purposes.
Prior to this, an Importer or Exporter used either their VAT number as the identifier, or had to apply for a Pseudo Turn number.These days, if you’re already a VAT registered business and begin international logistics outside of the EU, your EORI will be the same as your VAT number with 000 on the end, or for non VAT registered businesses, you’ll get a new unique number allocated to you.
The EORI does not qualify you for reclaiming vat!
The EORI is purely a requirement for government tax offices to keep a record of stats on what is being imported, exported, when, and where to and from (oh, and who by!).
You can apply for an EORI number here but, you will need information regarding how your first shipment is arriving. I.e which aircraft/air way bill number, or container number and sea voyage name. All this info may seem a little alien for first timers but don’t worry, your Freight Forwarder (If they’re a friendly bunch like us!) should help you fill out all of that info which relates to the shipment itself.
It takes just 48hrs to generate an #EORI number. You can apply beforehand but you will need to go back and advise ‘first shipment’ details so in our opinion, you may as well complete the form during transit - once you have all those details.
HM Customs & Revenue will select your first shipment, or two, for a routine document inspection which may delay your delivery by a day or two. That is usually the case so it’s best to be forewarned.