What Is a Movement Reference Number (MRN), and Why Do I Need One

lorries at port

One thing that will not change after Brexit is the need for a MRN. Both the Customs Authorities in the European Union and the Customs Authority in the United Kingdom will keep issuing MRN’s. So, what is an MRN?  

What is an MRN?  

MRN stands for Movement Reference Number. The Customs Authority issues a Movement Reference Number (MRN) in each member state. The MRN number is the customs registration number that enables the customs authority to identify and process your shipment in the customs system. It is the primary reference for customs declarations and the most important link with your goods. Each time an import or export declaration is submitted to any of the Customs Authorities in the European Union or the United Kingdom, a unique number is created for that shipment.  

To follow up the process of the movement there is a database to track this movement.  

An MRN is 18 characters long. The first two characters are the year in which the goods are shipped, e.g. 20 for 2020. The next two characters are the two-letter country code of the country where the shipment originated, e.g. DE for Germany. The last 14 characters are an alphanumeric code which is automatically generated by the Customs Authority.   

An MRN is unique. No two shipments can have the same MRN. 

Why Do I Need an MRN?  

The Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union has published that European Customs transit is a customs procedure used to facilitate the movement of goods between two points of a customs territory, via another customs territory, or between two or more different customs territories. It allows for the temporary suspension of duties, taxes and commercial policy measures that are applicable at import, thereby allowing customs clearance formalities to take place at the destination rather than at the point of entry into the customs territory.  

Customs transit is particularly relevant to the Union where a single customs territory is combined with a multiplicity of fiscal territories. It allows the movement of goods under transit from their point of entry into the Union to their point of clearance where both the customs and national fiscal obligations are taken care of.  

Questions and Assistance  

The many customs related processes and procedures can get complicated. If you run a business and have any questions regarding MRN or other import- or export-related issues, please contact one of our experts.