The Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) System was created and implemented for security measures in the European Union (EU). This measure managed to speed up formalities and customs operations for traders and other persons engaged in business and customs activities , like goods import and export activities. Every country whithin the European Union has created its own EORI system, which is now part of the entire EU EORI system.
One of the purposes of the EORI system was to implement security measures introduced for European Economic Community (EEC) in 1992, then amended in 2005 by a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council. Finally, the Economic Operators Registration and Identification numbering system was introduced by the EU in 2009. All costs for implementing the EORI system were shared between the Community and the EU Member States.
As all experienced Belgian lawyers know, every trader can apply for EORI registration in Belgium. Then, in one or two working days, he will receive a unique EORI number, which he will be obliged to use for identification in all transactions and activities of customs whithin the EU.
Applying for EORI registration in Belgium
All companies that import and export goods can register for an EORI number, which will be valid in every EU Member State. Any trader who intends to import products for commercial purposes (such as buying and selling products) from outside the European Union must apply for EORI registration in Belgium or any other EU Member State.
The EU EORI system offers complete information about all economic operators involved in customs activities.The EORI number is needed for each trader required to provide pre-arrival or pre-departure information for his import, export or goods transportation activities.
Starting with 2009, traders from Belgium registered at the customs were automatically also registered in the EORI system.
In some cases, persons other than economic operators are required to register for EORI purposes. The situations in which this can occur are the following: when the registration is required by the law applicable in a Member State or when the person engages in operations for which an EORI number is mandatory.
All new economic operators and traders must complete and fill in a registration form that can be found on the EORI website. The registration form will be then sent by fax or postal service to the Administration of Customs and Excise from Brussels, that also handles Belgian EORI registration.
Where are the EORI registrations submitted?
All new economic operators and traders must complete and fill in a registration form that can be found on the EORI website. The registration form will be then sent by fax or postal service to the Administration of Customs and Excise from Brussels, which also handles Belgian EORI registration.
For EORI registration in Belgium, traders that are not established in any of the EU countries will need to fill in a different registration form (also available on the EORI website) and send it (together with the documents related to the legal existence of the economic entity) to the Belgian Administration of Customs and Excise. The Finance Federal Public Service
oversees the Customs and Excise authorities.
What is teh EORI number format?
In all EU countries, an EORI number consists of an ISO country code and a maximum of 15 digits number. For Belgium, where the EORI number is the formed based on the VAT number, the ISO country code is accompanied by a 10 digits number (such as BE 1573845630).
EORI usage for companies
The EORI number allows for a streamlined economic operator identification across the EU, however, what are some of the specific situations in which it is used? We list these below.
- • declarations: the number is used by companies that need to lodge a customs declaration within the Union.
- • entry and exit formalities: the EORI number is also required when economic operators submit the entry and the exit summary declaration.
- • temporary storage: when the need for temporary storage within the EU arises, the number is used to lodge a declaration for this purpose.
- • other purposes: the EORI number is used by companies that act as carries in the context of sea, inland water or air transportation.
For the purpose of these actions fulfilled with the help of the EORI number, it is not relevant whether or not the economic operator is a legal or natural person. This can mean that sole traders in Belgium that engage in trading within the EU are also required to perform this registration.
Entrepreneurs who wish to know more can reach out to the team at our law firm in Belgium for more questions about the customs procedures.
EORI number verification
Companies that register for the EORI number in Belgium or in another EU Member State should know that the database of registered economic operators can be verified. Via the online portal, users may validate EORI numbers and search for information on the EORI sharing authorities as well as the registering authorities.
The data on the registered economic operator that is being stored in the central EORI system is the following:
- - the assigned EORI number;
- - the name of the legal or natural person (in full);
- - the address of the establishment or residence and the establishment in the customs territory of the Union;
- - the VAT identification number that was assigned by the Member State in which the company performed the registration;
- - the start date of the EORI number and the expiry date.
An economic operator will also include consent for the disclosure of the personal data listed within the first three points of the list above. Our lawyers in Belgium can provide more information about the data that is available in the EORI system.
EORI for foreign companies in Belgium
A special category of economic operators is those that are not based in an EU country and trade with the Member States. In light of the recent changes regarding the UK’s departure from the Union, British companies are also included in this category. Upon the completion of the exit process, UK companies will no longer have a valid EORI number that will allow them to perform their usual activities. This means that they will need to request a Belgian EORI by sending an enclosed form to the General Administration of Customs and Excise.
The EORI number that is allocated following this procedure will be valid throughout the EU for a UK company that engages in trade both with Belgium and with other countries in the Union. It is important to note that a company can have only one valid EORI number attributed to usage throughout the Union. This means that if a UK-based company chooses to register for this number with the Belgian authorities, then it will not need to send another request to a different Member State in which it may also engage in trading activities.
According to the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the Union, references to the Member States in the context of the EU taxation and customs procedures will also include the UK until the end of the transition period.
One of our lawyers in Belgium can provide complete details about this process to investors from the UK as well as other foreign nationals who are interested in obtaining an EORI number in Belgium.
Doing business in Belgium
Located at the heart of Europe, Belgium offers excellent connectivity to the important Member States as well as a favorable business climate. This is why many economic operators establish their headquarters here and, consequently, register for the EORI number when they engage in trading activities and customs procedures. Our lawyers in Belgium present a set of statistics on the number of companies:
- - 976,309: the number of VAT-registered companies in Belgium on 31st December 2018.
- - 96,536: the number of companies that were created in 2018.
- - 19%: the percentage of the total number of VAT-registered businesses mentioned above that engaged in professional, scientific or technical activities.
- - 18%: the percentage of the total VAT-registered businesses that were part of the retail trade and wholesale sector.
The data was provided by StatBel, the Belgian Statistical Office.
You can obtain detailed information about EORI registration in Belgium or personalized consultancy in various legal matters by contacting our law firm in Belgium.