Transferring an Amazon UK/EU Account: How to Prepare Before the Sale
2020 was a mixed bag of positive and negative events (you can decide which is which):
- The toilet paper shortage (and the toilet paper calculator website that sold for $30k)
- The rise of TikTok influencers
- Amazon finally allowing transfers of UK and EU accounts!
The ability to transfer UK and EU accounts is definitely one thing to celebrate! Migrating Amazon UK and EU businesses from sellers to buyers has always been a far more “invested” process. Prior to Amazon enabling the transfer feature, the only option for transferring a UK/EU business was by transferring product listings and inventory, which—compared to a US account transfer—can be a drawn-out and sometimes costly process.
While this is excellent news for those looking to sell or buy an Amazon business with a UK/EU component, there are still very specific requirements for buyers and sellers performing this transfer.
Learning what these requirements are, prior to the deal completion, can save buyers and sellers weeks—if not months—in the migration process.
To take full advantage of Amazon’s new transfer policy for UK and EU accounts, we’ll break down what you need to know before it’s time to migrate the business.
How to Prepare as a Seller
You might have thought sellers don’t have to prepare much in advance other than to pass their credentials over to the buyers.
However, sellers need to complete one small but important step to ensure a buyer’s preparation is not in vain: verifying or validating their account.
Without a verified account, Amazon will not display the option to transfer the account.
Verifying/Validating your Account
Amazon only allows the option to transfer accounts with a “Verified” or “Valid” status.
To view your account status, log into your Amazon Seller Central account and click on Settings >> Account Info:
This section indicates whether your account is Verified/Valid or not. If your account is not listed as valid, click on the link next to “Account Status” to complete the process.
If your account is not yet verified/validated, follow the steps below to complete this process:
- Log in to Seller Central
- From the upper right-hand corner of the dashboard, click on Settings >> Account Info >> Identity Information
- On the ‘Identity Information’ page, Amazon will request verification on various identity items.
- After completing these items, if you continue to experience issues with the application or nothing is on the Identity Information page, reach out directly to the Seller Verification team at firstname.lastname@example.org, and in the message, state that the account is unverified and request to be provided with the items that require verification.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, the timeline for verification can be around 30 days, though this can vary.
How to Prepare as a Buyer
For buyers to start selling in the EU and UK marketplaces immediately, a number of documents will need to be submitted according to Amazon’s requirements. Paying attention to detail is crucial here as any missed information can lead to documents being returned and a lengthy delay on completing the deal or being able to legally operate in the EU or UK.
1. Setting up Your Legal Entity: US LLC vs. UK LTD
While a foreign entity can take over a UK/EU Seller Central account (for example, a US LLC), buyers who set up a UK LTD can benefit from a quicker verification process, as Amazon has verification systems that work directly with Companies House in the UK.
Another benefit of operating under a UK LTD is waiving VAT requirements if annual revenue is under a certain threshold.
We recommend contacting an accountant to understand the tax implications and determine if this path is right for you. Additionally, the steps required for setting up a UK LTD can be found on gov.uk.
Timing of this process during the migration phase
As part of our migrations process, we have a 14-day Inspection Period where buyers can verify that an FBA business performs as advertised, in terms of traffic and revenue performance.
During this period, you will be added as an admin user to the seller’s account. This also allows time for buyers to prepare all of the documentation that will be required for the transfer.
Once the inspection period has passed and all documentation is prepared, we can initiate the transfer.
2. Preparing your Owner Identification Documentation
During the transfer process, Amazon will request different types of identification from the new owner.
It’s incredibly important that these documents are aligned and in the format in which Amazon requests. Failure to comply may result in a severely delayed transfer process.
Once the Seller Central account has been transferred to you, there will be a verification period that will last from 1–3 months, depending on Amazon’s verification team workload. Amazon will specifically be reviewing the submitted documentation to ensure all requested information is provided and that it aligns with their expected formatting. During this period, the account/listings will be active and disbursements can also be made to your bank account.
- Names and addresses on each document need to be uniform and in the same format across the board.
- The details on each document need to match the details that are going to be entered into the Seller Central account for both the primary contact person and legal entity that will be taking over the account.
- All documents should be in one of Amazon’s support languages. Support languages are: English, Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Turkish, and Japanese.
(If the original document is not in a supported language, please provide a copy of both the original document and a certified translation)
- All documents must be dated within the last 90 days.
Documents for Preparation
For the legal entity taking over the account (the buyer):
- A copy of the company’s Certificate of Status. This document must be issued by the Department of State, and it must confirm that the business is in good standing.
(You can request the company’s certificate of status via your company registry agent, the document can be retrieved within 24hours via the expedited option.)
- A copy of the company’s Bylaws (Articles of Association). This document should include rules on the corporation’s objectives, its management structure, and its internal processes. You can create Bylaws online. This document should be signed and dated by all the business owners. It must also include each business owner’s shares in the company as a percentage. If you do not have a Bylaws document, you can use HMRC’s Model Articles of Association.
- A copy of a proof of address document showing the business name and address. Amazon will accept any of the following documents:
- Utility bill (gas, water, electricity, TV, Internet, mobile phone, or landline).
- Bank statement (You can use the Payoneer bank statement which shows the business name and address).
- Credit card statement or bill.
- Building society or credit union statements.
- Rent receipt from a local council or letting agent.
For the primary contact (company owner):
- A copy of a proof of address document showing the individual’s name and residential address:
- A utility bill (gas, water, electricity, TV, Internet, mobile phone, or landline).
- Bank statement
- A credit union or building society statement.
- Credit card statement or bill.
- Mortgage statement.
- Rent receipt from a local council or letting agent.
- Benefits agency letter (for example from the Department for Works & Pensions, JobCentre Plus, or Veterans Agency) confirming your rights to benefits.
3. Applying for a VAT Number
This may be the first time you’ve heard of value-added tax (VAT), but you must have a VAT number to sell in the UK or EU. An Amazon seller must have a VAT number for every country where inventory is stored. At a minimum, we recommend buyers apply for and have a UK VAT number, given that UK/EU accounts usually store inventory in UK FBA fulfillment centers.
Acquiring a VAT number can take up to a few months and is often the cause of the longest delays in a migration. Many Amazon businesses sold on our marketplace operate in the UK/EU, so if you plan to purchase an Amazon business, applying for a VAT number in advance can significantly streamline the process once you close the deal.
Check out our in-depth guide on VAT with information on which countries to apply in and how to apply as well as other tips.
If you thought about buying an FBA business that was selling on the UK and EU marketplaces, you could apply for a VAT number yourself.
However, buyers who aren’t confident in applying for a VAT number often work with companies that assist with the VAT application process. The following two companies are often used to help with VAT registration:
4. Preparing all bank, legal entity, and credit card information.
Similar to our US account transfers, buyers must have all bank, credit card, and legal entity information available for migrating an account.
Important: buyers who currently operate or previously owned an Amazon Seller Central account MUST use new credentials to acquire their new account. Amazon accounts with duplicate information are in direct violation of Amazon’s terms of service and won’t be able to be used for the migration.
A buyer should prepare the following information:
- Bank account account number, routing number, and name associated with the account
- Credit card number, name on card, expiration date, and address associated with the card
- Legal entity name and EIN number
- Phone number (unused even on an Amazon.com customer account—not just Seller Central)
Prepare the Above and the Rest is a Breeze
Preparing all the necessary information and documents to transfer an EU or UK Amazon Seller Central account can seem intimidating at first.
It’s mostly just paperwork to be handled one step at a time. Once all the required documents are prepared, the hard work is done, and our Migrations team will be happy to guide you through the rest!
If you’ve made it this far but you have more questions about the process or you just want to chat about purchasing a digital asset, schedule a time to talk to us here.
We list 8–15 new businesses every week. Many are FBA businesses that operate mainly in the EU and UK marketplaces. If you haven’t already, register as a buyer on our marketplace so we can update you with the businesses you’re looking for.
Once you’ve found a deal that’s the right fit, let us handle the migrations so you can focus on scaling your new digital asset.