Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI)
The Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) scheme assigns a unique reference number to every economic operator who interacts with the customs authorities in any European Union (EU) member state; the number is valid throughout the EU. The EORI system has two separate and distinct parts. One element is at the national, or member state, level; the other is at EU level.
National EORI System
At the national level, each customs authority assigns a unique identifying number (the EORI number) to each trader who interacts with customs. Traders are required to use this number in all customs declarations lodged by them or on their behalf, irrespective of the member state where those declarations are lodged.
Central EU EORI Database
Customs authorities are required to provide details of all those traders who are assigned an EORI number to the EU. These details are held on a central EU database maintained by the EU that also contains similar information provided by the other member states.
The central EU database has a public-facing feature that allows agents to view certain limited details of all EORI registered traders (i.e., EORI number, name, and address) on behalf of the importer. This feature allows the agent to carry out some customs activity (such as making a customs declaration) on behalf of a trader provided the EORI number is known. However, database access by the agents is allowed only when a trader has given specific and informed written consent for the publication of those details.
The website of the European Commission provides a free online training course on the EU's EORI program as well as EORI validation.
Note that the EORI, which is required for all traders, is distinct from the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) scheme, which is a voluntary program.
Authorized Economic Operator (AEO)
A trader who is already established in the EU may also register for Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status, which enables the AEO trader to benefit from certain simplified customs procedures.
For more information on the EU's AEO program, see the Special Provisions page.
Note: The above information is subject to change. Importers are advised to obtain the most current information from a customs broker, freight forwarder, logistics professional, or the local customs authorities.
Sources: European Commission (www.ec.europa.eu); Estonian Tax and Customs Board (Maksu ja Tolliamet) (www.emta.ee)
Article written for World Trade Press by Brielle Burt, Jennifer Goheen, and Nina Bellucci.
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