New customs identification number
A new customs identification number known as the Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) is being launched on 1 July 2009. The EORI number will be used anytime a customs identifier is required and will replace the existing identification used in the UK known as the Trader Unique Reference Number (TURN).
Most businesses that hold a valid TURN will automatically receive an EORI number without having to apply. Relevant businesses should have been notified during May 2009.
However branches and divisions which held TURN numbers will not be eligible for an EORI as they are not legal entities. The parent company will need to hold a valid EORI number in order for the branch / division to continue importing and/or exporting. Businesses which have a TURN number which has been inactive for two or more years will also need to reapply.
The EORI numbers issued in the UK will use the same format as TURN numbers and in most cases the new number will be exactly the same as the current TURN number.
Businesses or Economic Operators (EO’s) will be able to obtain an EORI number in the member state where they are established. The same EORI number will be valid throughout the EU. In the case of an EO who is not established in the EU, registration will take place in the first EU country where a relevant customs action takes place such as lodging certain customs declarations.
The new measure has been designed by the European Commission to assist in security issues and to make it easier to recognise and better monitor business activities throughout the EU.