Businesses should act now if they need to keep or restore their XI EORI number to move goods into Northern Ireland.

HMRC has announced plans to remove XI Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers from some businesses trading in Northern Ireland. These XI EORI numbers were issued before 14 September 2021.  

HMRC is going to remove XI EORI numbers from businesses unless they confirm they have a permanent business establishment in Northern Ireland, or they still require the XI EORI number for specific customs activities. HMRC sent out letters to these businesses earlier this year. The response deadline was 30 June 2023. 

The removal of XI EORI numbers will take place from 31 July 2023 for those businesses that have indicated they no longer need them. The XI EORI numbers will also be removed for businesses that have not responded to HMRC’s letter. The process will be conducted in phases over a three-week period throughout August to ensure a smooth transition. This is intended to ensure minimal disruptions to the physical movement of goods. 

HMRC has collaborated closely with the Trader Support Service (TSS) to identify affected businesses. In case of any unexpected disruptions, businesses are encouraged to call HMRC on 0300 322 9434 as soon as possible. 

Having an XI EORI number or an EU EORI number is a legal requirement if a business wishes to be named as the ‘declarant’ on import or export declarations in Northern Ireland (or any EU country). Businesses without an XI EORI number can still conduct import and export activities in Northern Ireland by using an ‘indirect representative’ established in Northern Ireland or the EU.  

If businesses later discover they need an XI EORI for a specific customs activity or have a permanent business establishment in Northern Ireland, they can have their XI EORI number restored within five working days by reapplying for it at Businesses should contact the designated HMRC helpline on 0300 322 9434 if they require an XI EORI number urgently.

A business without a permanent business establishment in Northern Ireland that does not use an indirect representative would need an XI EORI for the following specific customs activities:

  • Making customs declarations for transit or temporary admission.
  • Applying for customs decisions.
  • Making ‘entry or exit summary declarations’ (for safety & security).
  • Making temporary storage declarations.
  • Obtaining a guarantee for temporary admission or a re-export declaration.
  • Acting as a carrier to transport goods by sea, air, or inland waterways.
  • Acting as a carrier to receive notifications and declarations via a direct online connection to the customs system.
  • Making a declaration under the transit procedure as a pre-departure declaration or instead of an entry summary declaration.

For movements into Northern Ireland, a business can use or continue to use the TSS, which can be accessed free of charge. From 16 August 2023, TSS will bring in new functionality to allow alternative information (name and address) to be automatically provided instead of an XI EORI number. This will mitigate against the risk of businesses submitting safety and security declarations from receiving error messages when the consignee or consignor’s XI EORI number has been removed. 

Further reading:

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