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Importing into the EU: FAQs

Imports into the European Union require an EU Importer of Record, EORI number, and a VAT.


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To import into the EU with Flexport, companies will need to have an importer of record, an EORI number, and a VAT number.

Importer of Record

In most countries in the EU (European Union), the importer of record (IOR) needs to be established in the EU, meaning the importer needs to have an EU entity or a physical presence.

Entities importing to the UK do not need to be established in the EU, but they will need an EORI number and a VAT number.

Who is the IOR for a non-EU importer?

If a company is importing to the EU but is not established in the EU, a third party will need to act as the IOR. This third party could be a third-party service, or the non-EU company could arrange for the EU client (the EU party receiving the goods) to act as the IOR.

Note that Amazon will not act as the importer of record for shipments going to an Amazon FBA warehouse in the EU.

EORI Number

An EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number is required of any party intending to import from or export goods to countries outside the EU.

Do I need an EORI number for every EU country?

No, a company will only have one EORI number per legal entity and this EORI number will be used for Customs in every EU country.

How do I request an EORI number?

An EORI number can be requested from the local Customs website. The EORI number is usually requested from the EU country that the company’s goods will first arrive in, or the EU country the company wants to export out of.

VAT Number

A VAT (value added tax) number is required to import goods into the EU with Flexport. See the European Commission’s VAT identification numbers page for more information on who needs a VAT number.

Do I need a VAT number for every EU country?

Yes. VAT numbers are country specific, so if a company is importing or exporting to multiple EU countries, they will need a VAT number for each country.

How do I request a VAT number?

VAT numbers can be requested from the local government of EU countries, and can often be completed online.

When do I pay VAT?

VAT will need to be paid upon import into the EU, unless the importer has a VAT deferment license (common in the Netherlands).

For tax guidance please consult a tax professional.

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