Obtaining an EORI number is a mandatory step for any company wanting to export its products outside the European Union or to import goods in order to market them within the European market. In this guide, you will find all the practical information you need on this subject.
1. What is an EORI number and why do I need one?
EORI stands for Economic Operators Registration and Identification. Any company or person wanting to export (and/or import) must have an EORI number. In other words, it is a unique identification number in the European Union customs territory and is used in all your customs procedures and when communicating with the customs authorities.
It is therefore not possible to export without an EORI number, or with the number of a third party. The EORI number must be that of the declarant and must appear on the export declaration.
2. How do I apply for an EORI number?
You must apply for an EORI number to the customs authorities of the Member State in which you are established, in this case Belgium. If you have a registered office in Belgium, you can apply for an EORI number using the Application/BE/EORI/A3 form. It is important to communicate your VAT number or CBE number and to indicate this information on the form.
Your VAT number will then be automatically linked to your EORI number. Your number will be recognised by all customs authorities in all EU Member States.
The application procedure and receipt of the EORI number are free of charge.
How long does it take to get an EORI number?
In general, obtaining an EORI number is quite quick. If your file is complete, it usually takes no more than two days, depending on the administrative load of the EORI unit of the Belgian administration.
How can you check the validity of your EORI number?
You can easily check the validity of your EORI number in the online EORI database. Simply enter your company number (or VAT number) without spaces or punctuation.
Does the EORI number remain valid forever?
In principle, a company keeps its EORI number, but it can expire. The EORI number is intrinsically linked to the professional activity of the operator who holds it. Consequently, when an operator ceases his professional activity, the EORI number loses its validity.
Similarly, the customs authority may decide to withdraw an EORI number. As a general rule, this withdrawal takes place under the same conditions as those mentioned above. A company whose activities no longer require it to deal with European customs may have its EORI number withdrawn. Customs will do this if the company goes bankrupt, for example.
However, an economic operator whose EORI number has been withdrawn may apply for an EORI number to be reallocated when it starts trading again. In this case, the trader will have to submit a new application for registration to the relevant customs authorities. They will then be able to reassign the identifier.
Finally, traders may themselves request to be removed from the Customs EORI database. This is equivalent to deleting the EORI number.
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