Purpose: When filling in the commercial invoice, it is mandatory to include an EORI and VAT number. This article explains what a commercial invoice is and an EORI number and how they are used when shipping outside of the EU.
If you are shipping to a destination country outside of the EU, you will need to ensure that you attach a commercial invoice to your commercial shipment to allow for safe passage through customs. This can be done by attaching either multiple copies of a physical commercial invoice form or digitally via paperless trade with UPS or DHL Express.
What is a commercial invoice?
The commercial invoice is a mandatory document that allows for customs authorities to determine which taxes and import duties to apply to a shipment. Adding the correct customs documents helps prevent delays and unwanted additional costs when shipping internationally. You can read more about how to fill in a commercial invoice here.
When filling in the commercial invoice, alongside the necessary information it is essential that you include an EORI and VAT number.
What is an EORI number?
Companies that sell products outside of the EU need to have an EORI number. The EORI number is a EU registration and identification number assigned by the Member State of the country in which your company is established. It consists of a country code and a unique number and is registered in the EORI database for all customs authorities when exchanging customs information. For example, in the Netherlands the EORI number is the country code NL followed by the VAT number.
Note: If you are based in the UK and shipping to a country within the EU, you will need to make sure you have an EORI number starting with GB from January 2021. Click here to apply.
How do I apply for an EORI number?
If you do not have an EORI number, you can request one for free from the customs authorities of your country. The procedure for receiving an EORI number differs depending on your Member State. Below are some helpful links for applying for an EORI number based on your country:
How do I add my VAT & EORI number in Sendcloud?
You can add both your VAT and your EORI number in your sender address in the Sendcloud panel. If you have multiple companies with different VAT/EORI numbers, you can add them across multiple sender addresses.
If you add these numbers to your Sendcloud account, we will include them on any customs forms or documents we generate for you automatically where applicable.
To add your VAT and EORI number to your account, go to Settings > Addresses > Sender address and select or create the correct sender address. Add the numbers in the appropriate field, and save the address.
How do I add my EORI and VAT number for shipping to the UK?
Now that the UK has left the European Union, new custom rules apply which require online retailers to provide an EORI and VAT number specifically for the UK which must be visible on commercial invoices.
Attention: For shipments from Europe to GB (and vice versa), both EU and GB EORI and VAT numbers are required. If these numbers are not provided, parcels will be returned to sender.
To add your UK EORI number:
- Settings > Addresses > Sender address
- Edit the sender address which will be used to send shipments to the UK
- Scroll down the page until you come to Business Details
- In the section "Business Details - UK Only" enter your GB EORI and VAT number into the appropriate fields
- Click Save.
From now on these numbers will be used to generate commercial invoices for shipments to and from the UK.
If the EORI and VAT number are required for label or commercial invoice creation but not provided, the label will fail and an error message will be displayed.
What countries require an EORI number?
Any economic operator established in the customs territory of the Union needs, for customs purposes, an EORI number. More information can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/customs-procedures/general-overview/economic-operators-registration-identification-number-eori_en
What are the customs procedures for import and export in Europe?
Please check the following link for more information on customs procedures for import and export: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/customs-procedures_en
How do I contact custom authorities?
If you need to contact the customs authorities in the European countries, here below you will find the list of their websites: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/national-customs-websites_en
Please note that the responsibility for correctly filling in and providing true information on customs documents is the responsibility of the sender. Sendcloud takes no responsibility for the validity of such information.