EORI Numbers: Who Needs Them and Who Doesn't

Understanding EORI Numbers: Who Needs Them and Who Doesn't

In the world of international trade and customs, an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number is essential for businesses and individuals involved in the movement of goods. However, there are specific scenarios where an EORI number is not required. This article will delve into what an EORI number is, its importance, and most importantly, who is exempt from needing one.

What is an EORI Number?

An EORI number is a unique identification code used by customs authorities to track and register businesses and individuals involved in commercial importing and exporting goods. This system facilitates the efficient flow of goods across borders and helps UK Revenue & Customs to manage and monitor trade compliance.

The Importance of an EORI Number

Having an EORI number is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Customs Clearance: It is required for the customs clearance of goods entering or leaving the UK.
  2. Trade Compliance: It ensures that businesses comply with UK Customs regulations.
  3. Efficient Processing: It speeds up the processing of shipments through customs.

Who Needs an EORI Number?

Most businesses and individuals engaging in international trade will need an EORI number. This includes:

  • Importers and Exporters: Companies and individuals who import or export goods to and from the United Kingdom.
  • Freight Forwarders: Logistics companies handling the transportation of goods across borders between UK and EU
  • Customs Agents: Representatives managing customs procedures on behalf of clients.

To apply for an EORI number please follow the link: https://www.gov.uk/eori/apply-for-eori 

Who Does Not Need an EORI Number?

Despite the broad requirement for EORI numbers, there are specific instances where one is not needed. You do not need an EORI number if you’re moving goods that are both:

  • Not Controlled Goods: These are items that do not require special licenses or are not subject to restrictions. Examples include most personal items, non-commercial goods, and everyday consumer products like furniture, clothing, sport equipment.
  • For Personal Use Only: This applies to goods intended for personal use and not for commercial purposes. Personal use means that the items are for the individual's private consumption and not intended for sale or business activities.

Examples of Exemptions

  1. Personal Luggage: If you are traveling with personal belongings that are not controlled goods, you do not need an EORI number.
  2. Non-commercial Shipments: Sending gifts or personal items to friends or family in the UK that are not intended for sale.
  3. Purchasing items personal use only: importing goods to the UK for personal use only, for example: sport equipment, furniture 
  4. Household Moves: Moving household goods when relocating to another country for personal reasons.


Understanding whether you need an EORI number is esential for smooth customs operations and compliance with UK Customs regulation. While most businesses involved in international trade require this number, exemptions exist for those moving non-controlled goods for personal use. By identifying if you fall into these exempt categories, you can ensure a hassle-free experience when transporting goods across borders.

For more detailed information or assistance with obtaining an EORI number, feel free to contact our experts at Bright Customs. We are here to help you navigate the complexities of UK customs regulations.

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