With Brexit, think of your EORI number! By Géry Brusselmans

January 28, 2019

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union is announced for March 29. If there is no flexibility agreement, companies will then be subject to administrative formalities at customs. So get an EORI number now.

The exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union will not make things any easier for Brussels companies exporting or importing goods and services to the United Kingdom. While this may reassure some, a transitional period could make some customs rules more flexible. Officially, the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union on 29 March. A withdrawal agreement is currently under discussion, but Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposal, rejected on 15 January by British parliamentarians, does not bode well for relaxation. In the case of an agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union, any company that exports or imports goods and services to the United Kingdom would benefit from facilities until the end of 2020. Among these facilities, you should not, for example, fill in specific documents and will not be subject to customs controls. As you read these lines, the probability of an agreement being signed is low. If this agreement is not signed before 29 March next, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union definitively. In this, each company that imports or exports will have to complete formalities to clear customs and will be subject to possible customs controls from 29 March. We therefore advise companies wishing to continue their commercial relations with the United Kingdom to already have an EORI number.

Request your EORI number from the General Administration of Customs and Excise

But what is an EORI number? Contravention of Economic Operator Registration and Identification, this number has been mandatory since 1 January 2017 for European Union companies that import and export outside the European Union. This number is mainly used for electronic procedures related to the customs clearance of goods. The European Commission requires companies that come into contact with customs to identify themselves by means of an EORI number. Without a customs declaration, the goods cannot be loaded or unloaded and there will therefore be no export or import. The economic operator must register in only one Member State. For Brussels companies, the request should be addressed to the FPS Finance. Go to the FPS Finance website, in the General Administration of Customs and Excise section ( You will need to complete a form that includes details such as your company’s contact information and the natural person responsible. The form should be returned to you within 48 hours. Companies that have not yet had any experience with customs formalities and filing a customs declaration may be assisted by a customs representative. To contact a customs representative, go to the site mentioned above and select the “customs representative” tab.

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