All Your Questions About EORI Numbers and CDS Answered


From 1st October, all import declarations in the UK must be processed through the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS). From 1st April 2023, export declarations will no longer be accepted on the old Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system, either.

Migrating from CHIEF to CDS means that traders like you need to register on the new system, as well as processing the changes with your customs brokers. One essential piece of information that you need to complete your registration is your Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. 

In this article, we’ll explore what an EORI is, and some of the frequently asked questions surrounding EORI numbers and CDS. 

What is an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number? 

If you or your business wants to trade, you need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number for your customs activities to be associated with. Different countries, both within the European Union and externally, have different formats for EORI number. However, they are typically constructed of the country’s ISO code and 12 numbers. In Great Britain, an EORI number has the following format: 


In the UK, EORI numbers are often generated at the same time as VAT registration. For this reason, it is common to see that a trader’s EORI is their nine-digit VAT number sandwiched between a “GB” and “000”. 

What is an EORI number used for? 

EORIs are usually required for all your customs and trading activities; however, this varies between countries. Typical uses include, but aren’t limited to: 

  • Association with a customs declaration, whether you are a trader or a broker. 
  • Holding goods at a temporary storage inside a customs territory (bonded warehousing). 
  • Acting as a carrier of goods. 
  • Connection to a customs system when the EORI holder requires updates on the customs status. 

If you are unsure whether you require an EORI number for your trading activities, speak to one of our customs consultants for assistance.  

Can I have multiple EORI numbers?  

You cannot have more than one VAT number or EORI associated with your Government ID. 

CDS and EORI numbers 

Migrating to CDS requires the use of your EORI to register your company and authorise representatives for some customs activities.  Here are some of the frequently asked questions surrounding EORI numbers and CDS: 

I have an EORI number, do I need a new one? 

You do not need to change your EORI when moving to CDS if your business’ activities and circumstances have not changed. An example of changing circumstances is your company registering or deregistering from paying VAT, or when you are processing a merger. 

Will it be a problem if I change my EORI number at the same time as moving to CDS? 

CDS supports a change in EORI number on the system; however, it is best to change your EORI before migrating where possible. This allows you to ensure everything is in order before completing your move to CDS, and prevents the need to update your EORI later. 

If you are already on CDS and need help planning a change in your EORI number, or want guidance on other considerations, contact our customs consultants for assistance

Do I need to subscribe to CDS multiple times if I have multiple EORI numbers managed under the same duty deferment account? 

This depends on how your group administers your customs activities.  If you only use one EORI number on all of your paperwork, then you only need to associate this group EORI with CDS. However, any EORI numbers that you are actively using (as an importer, exporter, or declarant) will also need to be registered alongside your group one. If they are not, then there is a chance that a declaration will not be processed as the EORI is not live in the Customs Declaration System. 

If you are stuck with multiple EORIs and no sense of where they are being used and why, then take the opportunity to tidy up your processes by enlisting our customs consultants for help today. 

Do third parties require authorisation to use my EORI number? 

No specific authority is required on CDS for a third party to use your EORI number on your behalf. However, a third party may also not act on your behalf without written instructions from you (note that authorisation is required for other third-party activities, such as the use of your deferment account). You should keep a record of who you have provided your EORI number to for the purposes of direct or indirect representation, so that you can easily identify if activity associated with your EORI is authorised or not. 

Customs Support are here for you throughout your move to CDS.

Our declarants are located in several strategic locations around the UK, providing traders like you with customs services every day. We’ve managed most commodities across all modes of transport, and have supported hundreds of importers with their move to CDS. 

If you need help with migrating your business to CDS, registering for an EORI, or any other customs-related activity, please contact our team for assistance.