International trading after 31st October (including eBay)

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Before we had a referendum and a large proportion of the voters voted leave, trading with Europe was simple: You contacted a seller or a buyer contacted you, then the items were shipped with no questions asked, since the UK was in the EU trading and customs unions. However, with a government set on getting us either a poor deal or no deal at all, we face the prospects of a complicated situation.


EORI is short for Economic Operators Registration and Identification number and is a code that anyone who imports or exports products and/or services into and out of the EU.

What is EORI used for?

Think of an EORI as a tracking number, an address and category of goods transferred. Both ends must place their EORI clearly on the packaging and transfer documents as well as the invoice.

In order to send a package, for instance from the UK to France, you must obtain the recipient’s EORI and put that on your package along with your own. Failure to do so may result in the package being refused at the customs check.

Who does it affect?

Both  businesses and individuals that trade internationally. Business that trade from more than one country need a specific EORI for each country.

Where do I get one?

Each country has their own government department to handle issuing EORI numbers, in the UK that is

The Application is free, but it can take some time to process.

What do I need to apply for my EORI?

  1. If you are VAT registered, you need to supply your VAT number
  2. If you are an individual or sole trader, you need your National Insurance number (sometimes referred to as NINO)
  3. You need your Unique Taxpayer’s Reference (UTR) which is also called your tax reference, a 10 digit code, obtainable from your tax return.
  4. Business start date and Standard Industrial Classification code for every product you wish to buy/sell.
  5. Government Gateway ID and Password.

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