Since Switzerland is not a member state of the European Union (EU), the EU laws do not apply on the Swiss territory. However, in order to ensure good trading relations among the two entities, the Swiss authorities have created a legal framework which is compatible with the EU regulations.
Businesses incorporated in this country do not have to complete the steps for EORI registration in Switzerland, as the EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) system is not applicable here. However, there is a corresponding identification number available for Swiss businesses, which is represented by the Enterprise Identification Number (UID). This number is necessary for Swiss businesses involved in the import or the export of goods andour team of consultants in company registration in Switzerland can present the legal requirements for obtaining this identification number.
EORI – what is it and why do Swiss companies need it?
The Economic Operator Registration Identification, simply known as EORI, was created by the European Commission in 2009 and was meant to ease customs operations at EU level. Even if it targeted companies from EU member states, it also became mandatory for businesses registered in non-EU countries and that had to complete import and/or export activities within the EU.
EORI came as a need to replace the Trader’s Unique Reference Number (TURN) that was outdated. Moreover, the new system provided for quicker customs operations requesting by far fewer documents (with respect to certain products) and reducing the overall time spent with the Customs.
Swiss companies are among the businesses that have to benefit the most from this system as the country has various agreements with the EU facilitating trade.
Our company formation specialists in Switzerland are at the service of companies and businesspersons who want to obtain EORI numbers. We can offer information on how to apply for EORI registration in various countries in the EU.
VAT registration – a mandatory requirement for obtaining EORI numbers
A mandatory condition to obtain an EORI number is for a Swiss economic operator to register for VAT. This means that even companies that do not fall under the minimum VAT registration threshold are required to apply for VAT numbers in order to register for the EORI system.
The VAT number will be verified by the customs representative issuing the EORI number to theSwiss business.
Our company registration representatives can help with VAT registration procedures in Switzerland.
What are the regulations for import-export operations in Switzerland in 2023?
Businessmen who want toopen a company in Switzerland that develops business activities related to the import or the export of goods should consider the fact that the legislation in the field was modified a few years ago. During the procedure of company formation in Switzerland, a legal entity must also obtain the UID number. Since 2014, the UID number is used by a wide range of Swiss institutions, such as the Commercial Register of the VAT Register.
With regards to the UID number for customs operations, it is necessary to know that the Federal Customs Administration also uses the UID number for the verification of the company. Starting with the 1st of January 2016, the customs authorities can process customs declarations completed by Swiss entities only if they provide the UID number. Our team of specialists in company formation in Switzerlandcan assist with more details on the new rules.
Although the EORI number in Switzerland does not apply to Swiss companies, it is necessary to know that Swiss entities developing trading activities in the EU, or other activities that are related to the EU customs, will need to apply for an EORI number. Thus, in the case of Swiss businesses that fall under these categories, the EORI in Switzerland will not apply, but, in 2023 the entity will need to obtain an EORI number in the EU country where it is considered a customs declarant.
From here, Swiss companies should follow the EORI registration procedure available in the country where they develop their trading activities, but only in the case in which the entities are considered active declarants. The application for an EORI number has to be done prior to engaging in customs operations. If not, the goods that will be traded between Switzerland and the respective EU country will be blocked by the customs authorities of the importing country.
What are the requirements for importing goods into Switzerland?
As a business located outside Switzerland which imports goods into this country, various procedures will apply. European companiesimporting products into this country must present their EORI number in Switzerland. In the relation with the Swiss authorities, including the customs authorities, all such businesses are required to present their EORI number in various types of documents required by the local institutions.
The rule is available for importers, exporters, transportersand other entities engaging in trading operations. Businesses located outside the EU must also present their EORI in Switzerland and, considering that the country is not a member state of the EU, it is necessary to know that all the products imported here must obtain customs clearance.
When is EORI registration required to Swiss companies?
Most trading activities completed with EU countries require an EORI number for a Swiss company.
There are plenty of benefits associated with obtaining EORI numbers for all companies in Switzerland, but also for natural persons who import or export goods into/from Switzerland to other EU countries.
These are the main activities that can be completed after completing the EORI registration in Switzerland in 2023:
submit summary and customs declarations with the Customs authorities of other EU states;
submit exit and entry summary declarations for temporary admission export procedures;
temporary storage facilities on the territory of EU states upon the export of goods;
obtain various authorizations and certificates, including Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) certificates with Customs authorities;
import-export-related activities are also based on the EORI number.
If you have any questions about obtaining an EORI number for a Swiss company, our local specialists can provide the necessary support. You can also rely on us if you want to open a company in Switzerland.
EORI number assignment for Swiss economic operators
Even if Switzerland is not an EU member state, it has specific mechanisms that enable domestic companies to operate in complete safety and through effective procedures with the boundaries of the European Union. In exchange, EU-based companies benefit from similar simplified procedures.
The EORI system enables not only Swiss companies, but all companies registered in countries outside the EU, including from Asian states, for example, to register thus providing unified and simplified customs operations at the level of the EU.
EORI numbers are issued under the EU Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 to economic operators registered in EU member countries primarily. However, upon their first operations within an EU state, companies registered outside the EU must also apply for EORI registration. In the case of Swiss economic operators, the registration must be completed in the first country in the EU they engage in customs operations.
When it comes to the term economic operator, it will include:
- Swiss companies importing or exporting goods into/from an EU country,
- natural persons importing or exporting goods into/from an EU state.
For both types of operators, VAT numbers are required. Therefore, in order to be allowed to register for EORI in 2023, one must first register for VAT in Switzerland.
Our Swiss company formation advisors can assist foreign investors who open businesses here to register for taxation and VAT with the purpose of obtaining EORI numbers.
The procedures of obtaining EORI numbers in EU countries
As most businesspersons already know, obtaining an EORI number in one EU country will open the gates to all other member states when it comes to trading activities. It is worth noting that the procedure for registering for EORI is the same no matter one chooses to apply for in. As a matter of fact, economic operators must apply for this number in the first country they trade with in the European Union. There is also the question of choice when a business can apply for EORI registration in a country the owner decides for in the light of future import-export procedures, however, this is a seldom situation.
EOR registration from Switzerland is simpler in countries like Germany and Italy as both languages are used here, however, it is also possible to obtain such numbers in Croatia or Hungary, for example.
The procedure of obtaining an EORI number as a Swiss company in 2023
At the level of 2023, EORI registration for a Swiss company is not complicated and the application must be filed with the first country in which the respective business completes its first customs operations. For example, if a Switzerland-based enterprise will trade goods into Germany, the German Customs will issue an EORI number to it.
Swiss business owners must pay attention to the following when requesting EORI registration:
- the application must be filed prior to the goods being sent to the EU country,
- the application must be submitted via email and must be accompanied by certain documents.
The procedure of obtaining an EORI number as a non-EU company is not complicated or lengthy, and business owners must consider that it takes up to a week to be registered into the system.
If you have any questions about EORI number assignment for your Swiss company, our specialists can advise.
EORI registration for Swiss sole traders
The Swiss sole traderis the simplest form a business can be organized under and individuals operating as proprietors can engage in cross-border import-export activities that can require EORI numbers. With an application form that is duly completed and filed with the customs authority in the country the person exports goods to the EORI registration, the procedure is just as simple as in the case of companies.
EORI numbers for Swiss branches and subsidiaries
Switzerland is an appealing country for foreign companies that operate through branches and subsidiaries here. In their case, there are several aspects to consider when it comes to EORI registration.
In the case of subsidiaries things are quite simple as these are treated as domestic companies and they must apply for their own EORI numbers.
In the case of branch offices, these can be set up by EU companies (case in which, there is a great chance for the parent companies to already have EORI numbers), or by non-EU companies that can or cannot have EORI numbers. No matter the case, branch offices cannot apply themselves for EORI registration, as the procedure must be completed by the parent company. In other words, a branch office will use the same number as the mother business.
Format of the EORI number for Swiss economic operators
The format of the EORI number for an economic operator registered in Switzerland will be based on its VAT number and the country code of the state in which it was registered for EORI. Then, there is no need to apply for another number, as this is unique and can be used on the entire territory of the European Union. Once entered into the system, all customs authorities in member states will acknowledge the respective number.
De-registration and re-registration for EORI
There are cases in which Swiss companies cease their customs operations with EU companies, cases in which they can choose to de-register with the EORI system by filing an application. When these entities resume their operations, re-registration is possible, and, in most cases, the same numbers will be reassigned to them, as the businesses are still in the database.
In 2023, EORI registration is very useful for companies and other traders inSwitzerland as it enables them to go through simplified customs operations within the European Union.
You can also watch our video below:
How to check an EORI number
There are case of where companies are sold or merged with other companies and for which EORI number have already been obtained. In this case, there are two situations that can apply:
- the one where the purchased company retains its own legal personality, therefore the EORI number obtained previously;
- the one in which the merged company is absorbed by the other business, case in which the EORI number of the new company will be used.
In case, a Swiss economic operator does not know if EORI registration was completed, a simple verification with the EORI database which is updated regulated.
What is the current situation of the import-export levels in Switzerland?
TheFederal Customs Administration has gathered the latest data regarding the situation of the import-export levels registered by the customs offices in this country. Persons engaging in trading activities can request additional information on the current regulations from our team of consultants in Swiss company formation, who can advise on any particular requirements applicable to certain groups of products imported here. At the moment, the import-export activities in Switzerland are represented by the following:
• at the level of 2019, the total value of the exports accounted for CHF 312 billion (an increase of 2,6% compared to 2018);
• the total value of the imports into Switzerland accounted for CHF 275 billion (increase of 0,7% compared to 2018);
• the highest share of Swiss exports was represented by chemical and pharmaceutical products (with a total value of CHF 115 billion and a share of 36,7% of all the exports);
• the highest demand for an import product in Switzerland was observed in the case of precious metals and gemstones, accounting for CHF 68 billion and a share of 24,6%;
• the top trading partner was Germany (exports of CHF 48 billion and imports of CHF 57 billion).
Switzerland's total exports reached 35.4 CHF billion in January 2023, up from 32.3 CHF billion the month before. Switzerland overall exports from January 1988 through January 2023, is updated on a monthly basis and has an average value of CHF 11.0 billion.
If you need details on EORI registration in Swizterland for 2023, our agents can provide it to you.
Paul Gheorghiu is one of our experienced company formation agents. He will help you register your company in Switzerland as fast as possible.
Call us now at +41 41 266 0070 to set up an appointment with our experts in Zug, Switzerland. As a Sig Fiduciaire client, you will beneficiate from the expertise of our local consultants for opening a company in Switzerland.
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