EORI Registration in Germany | 2021 Updated Guide

EORI Registration in Germany

Updated on Monday 24th May 2021

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EORI is the abbreviation of the Economic Operators Registration Identification system which was enabled in 2009 throughout the European Union. The Economic Operators Registration Identification system was enabled in order to help all EU countries’ customs authorities to have a common system in which they will recognize and keep track of all economic operators transiting their countries.
German companies and sole proprietors conducting business operations outside the country are the ones required to apply for an EORI number. Moreover, foreign companies from outside the EU are allowed to obtain an EORI number in Germany in 2021 if that is the first country they transit within the European Union.

What does the German EORI number look like?

The EORI number is quite similar to the German VAT number. This was decided in order to simplify the overall taxpayer identification system applicable a an EU level. Companies involved in trading activities, both import and export ones, need to apply for an EORI number with the German Customs authorities. The EORI numbers attributed to German companies are also valid outside the EU. The experts at our law firm in Germany can companies that need to apply for this type of identification number.
The use of the EORI number cannot be declined by those that are identified as economic operators engage in activities that fall under the scope of the customs legislation. Since the introduction of the ATLAS system, the Automated Tariff and Local Customs Handling System, the use of an EORI number of mandatory and using the system itself is subject to having this number (as it is used to identify within the system). An exemption can apply in some cases for those economic operators that have not yet been assigned an EORI number and need to lodge customs, export or transit declarations. In this case, it is important for the operator to be able to show that an application for obtaining an EORI number has been filed. This is proven either by providing a form (for Germany) or other documents that have the same validity to show that an application was made with the corresponding authorities in another Member State. 
The experts at our law firm in Germany can assist companies that need to apply for this type of identification number in 2021.

How is the EORI number obtained in Germany?


The German EORI number is issued based on a request filed with the Customs Information and Knowledge Management (Informations- und Wissensmanagement Zoll). Requesting an EORI number is Germany is not subject to any charges and can be obtained by filing a special. The application can be submitted by e-mail, by post or by fax with the German Customs authorities. This step is required for local and foreign German economic operators, both for legal and natural persons.
The request procedure is no longer available through an online operator, however, the procedure was changed to be available via a Portal. One of our lawyers can provide more details on the requirements to make the online submission and can assist investors who choose to follow this procedure. It is important to note that companies need to apply for a certificate before being able to make the request online. The ELSTER certificate is needed for security reasons. 
When entrepreneurs choose to submit the special form, form 0870, instead of going through with the procedure via the Portal, then they are required to also obtain an electronic signature. Moreover, the form will be sent together with the supporting documentation. 
Foreign economic operators are not allowed to apply for a German EORI number as an ATLAS participant (even if the said economic operator is involved in activities that are covered by the customs legislation). However, the ATLAS can be associated with the EORI number that is already used by the foreign legal entity and there is no need in this case for EORI registration in Germany.
Customs number are no longer handled in the ATLAS system since 2013 and the EORI number is the sole manner in which economic operators are identified.
For more information about the ATLAS system and how economic operators are expected to use this when involved in activities covered by the German customs legislation, please reach out to our team of lawyers in Germany.

What documents are required when applying for an EORI number in Germany?

In addition to the specific form, the following documents must be supplied when applying for EORI registration in Germany:
  • a valid identification document,
  • an extract from the German Companies Register or the national Trade Register of the foreign applicant, for companies,
  • a business registration number for sole traders.
It is possible to have a company representative lodge the application for an EORI number. In this case, it is mandatory to provide a letter of authorization signed by the economic operator who has chosen to be represented by another party. The representative will also stipulate his complete contact details. It is the representative who will be notified of the assignment of the EORI number by the German authorities. Our team can help those interested in making this registration through a representative in 2021, should travel to Germany be restricted for foreign company owners. Those who are interested in appointing one of our attorneys as company representatives through a power of attorney can reach out to us for more details.
Needed amendments to the EORI number can be easily performed by using the platforms indicated for individual or corporate users. Moreover, there is the option to notify any needed changes directly to the German authorities (GZD - DO Dresden - Stammdatenmanagement office). In this case, the request is to be accompanied by the relevant request form, proof of business registration or an excerpt from the commercial register.

The branch EORI number in Germay

Special provisions apply to representative offices and branches in Germany regarding the assignment of the EORI number. Because these forms of establishment do not have legal capacity, the formal application is to be submitted by the headquarters that possess a legal capacity. More on this matter can be found by reaching out to our agents who specialize in EORI in Germany.
When applying for the EORI number of a branch, the form will contain information on the branch number (if applicable), the name of the company and the branch, the business address and the EORI number of the head office. The data concerning the registration of the headquarters with the trade register is also provided (the type of company register, number in company register, establishment date, etc.).
The EORI number in Germany for a branch can be notified through a special form, as indicated by the authorities. 
Economic operators that already have an EORI number are able to use the branch number only for clearances through the ATLAS system performed in Germany and not in other Member States. It is useful to note that already registered economic operators that have an EORI number will be assigned a branch number by the authorities and the branch will identify itself with the EORI number belonging to the economic operator (head office) and its own branch number.
For companies that still have branches or establishments that do not have legal capacity and were assigned a former EORI number, the General Directorate of Customs’ Master Data Management office in Dresden will send special notices as per the procedure to change them to branch numbers. This change will be a uniform one; special rules can apply to ATLAS participants with customs authorizations and/or deferred payment accounts.
Obtaining the EORI branch number is important because it will allow the establishment to deal with the Customs administration in their own right. Any part of a business (branch or registered office) without legal capacity can receive its own number. One of our lawyers can provide more details.
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Issues to take into consideration about the German EORI number

The EORI number is separate from the code number of the company or the value-added tax. Therefore, careful consideration should be taken not to confuse these numbers. Below, our team of lawyers in Germany list the other numbers that are attributed to a company in the country and that are not to be mistaken for the EORI:
  • the code number: this is an 11-digit code number used for specific actions such as authorization requirements; it is used on paper and electronic customs statements. 
  • VAT number: this contains the country code (DE for Germany) and nine other numbers; this is required for all companies involved in intra-community commerce and for the provision of certain goods and services nationally.
  • the tax number: this is issued by the tax authority in the country when the company submits the tax returns; included a tax office number and a district number and other digits.
  • excise number: this is used to indicate that a company can participate in a tax suspension procedure; it is assigned by the customs office and includes 13 digits.
One of our attorneys can provide additional information about the manner in which these numbers are assigned and how they look. We can also answer any additional questions on how the EORI in Germany differs from these other numbers attributed to a company. 
German EORI number users should know that information about their address and name can be retrieved by interested third parties. According to law, the EORI data is transmitted to the EU where they are available to inquiries submitted by the authorities belonging to the other Member States. It is also possible to verify the validity of the number via an online search.
Intra-community business activities are subject to a higher degree of control, especially in terms of customs requirements and practices. If your company is currently involved in providing services or will provide services and products within the EU, you should clearly understand these requirements for VAT and EORI registration as well as the other mandatory customs procedures. The team of experts at our law firm in Germany is able to provide complete assistance in these cases.
The EORI number can also be used for approval procedures before the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control as well as the Federal Institute for Agriculture and Food. The operator’s data and any of the authorizations are recorded according to the applicable data protection regulations. 

Trade and customs operations in Germany

The EORI number in Germany is used to identify an economic operator and this number needs to be quoted accordingly when engaged in customs activities. The number is provided in written declarations and the following parties are required to provide their EORI number:
- the declarant and the customs representative;
- the consignee, for import purposes;
- the consignee and subcontractor in case of export purposes.
In the summary entry or exit declarations the EORI number of the following parties is indicated:
- the carrier;
- the declarant and/or the authorized declaration agent;
- the consignee;
- the exporter.
The entry summary declaration is lodged before the goods enter the customs territory of the Community. The main purpose of this statement is to allow for better risk analysis in order to maintain safety and security according to the Community standards.
The EORI number is also provided for temporary storage purposes. In this case, the following legal persons must provide it: the presenter, the depositary and the entitled legal person.
Specific rules also apply for excise goods and excise taxes applicable in case of certain types of products are payable at the same time as the customs duties. This makes it easier to dispose of the goods freely, however, businesses may also choose to pay the excise taxes later, in which case the goods will be monitored during the time they are transiting through the country. Some examples of goods for which the excise tax applies include alcoholic beverages, tobacco, coffee or energy drinks, as well as others.

The movement of goods in Germany

EORI registration in Germany is part of the broader movement of goods, a series of conditions under which the import and export of goods takes place in Germany. The procedures (including the EORI registration one and the others briefly listed above), along with the duties and taxes and the applicable restrictions all need to be taken into account when doing business in Germany if involved in international trade.
Below, our team of lawyers in Germany list the main restrictions that can apply to cross-border imports and exports of goods. In a broad sense, restrictions can be divided into three categories:
  1. Country-specific: the import of goods from selected countries can be restricted through special authorizations or prohibitions; security issues are often the main reason why this takes place;
  2. At an individual level: trade with certain individuals, groups, organizations or institutions can also be prohibited, mostly for concerns related to terrorism;
  3. Concerning certain specific types of goods: certain categories of goods are prohibited from being imported into Germany; the reasons for this may include industrial property rights, the protection of children and minors as well as issues concerning the protection of the Constitution and foreign trade legislation.
Please keep in mind that the motives for the restrictions listed above are only briefly summarized. It is advisable to reach out to our lawyers for complete details concerning import and export laws for selected categories of goods. Some of the goods that are subject to special regulations and legal provisions are the following: waste, chemicals, agricultural products, medicinal products, narcotics, rough diamonds, textiles and clothing, food and animal feed from non-EU countries, plants and products that contain vegetable substances, cultural assets and products or goods that are protected by industrial property rights.
There are many companies incorporated in Germany that are involved in EU and international trade. The positive evolution of the export sector is reflected by the following statistics provided by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany:
  • 1,317 billion euros exports in 2018;
  • 229 billion euros export surplus in 2018;
  • exports value in November 2019: 112.9 billion euros, 2.3% more compared to October 2019 and 2.9% more compared to the same month in 2018.
The companies involved in the trade sector need to follow the aforementioned rules for customs procedures, obtaining the VAT and the EORI number in Germany when they supply intra-community goods. Investors who need more information for this registration in 2021 can reach out to our tax lawyers.

Doing business in Germany

Investors who wish to open a trading company in Germany should be well aware of the customs procedures and registrations that are mandatory for all those that engage in the movement of goods. However, the EORI registration, as well as other customs issues, are dealt with once the company is registered as a legal entity in Germany (or as a branch that does not possess legal entity but can conduct the same activities as the parent company abroad).
Our team of lawyers has extensive experience in business and commercial law, as well as the applicable tax law. We are able to provide assistance for those investors who wish to start an import and export company, a logistics business or any other type of business that is involved in imports.
For companies that are already incorporated, our team can provide legal assistance concerning the current tax matters, such as VAT registration, in addition to the EORI registration needed when performing customs procedures. Companies are subject to value-added tax that is levied on the sale of goods at a standard rate of 19% and a reduced rate of 7% for certain types of goods. Selected categories are fully exempt from this tax. VAT registration is not mandatory for companies that had a turnover that did not exceed EUR 17,500 in the previous calendar year and it is estimated that will not exceed EUR 50,000 in the calendar year for which the assessment is made. In some cases, entrepreneurs can choose a VAT scheme designed for small companies, a situation in which no VAT is imposed.
Our team of lawyers provides complete assistance during the company formation procedure, from the earliest pre-registration stages, such as choosing the right type of company, to the post-registration phases that include obtaining special permits and licenses and the EORI registration. If you need assistance in registering with the tax authorities, as well as if you require legal aid in any other matter, you can contact our law firm in Germany.


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