A certificate of origin is an official document, signed by the exporter, certifying the country of origin for each product contained in the shipment. With lower-value shipments (e.g., those under $1,000) customs officials will accept the country-of-origin information on the commercial invoice. Shippers may want to include a certificate of origin with larger-value shipments to ensure that nothing is held up in customs because of insufficient documentation. You can find sample certificates of origin, including the NAFTA Certificate of Origin, on export.gov, in the “International Logistics” section.
NAFTA requires a specific certificate of origin; you should familiarize yourself with it because you’re likely to send goods to either Mexico or Canada. You can find details on how and when to use this document on export.gov. Sometimes a certificate of origin isn’t required. If the goods are valued at $1,000 or less, the exporter may simply add an explanatory statement to the commercial invoice. You can find information about such statements on export.gov.
The country of origin is listed on two documents used during shipping: the commercial invoice and the certificate of origin. Every shipment must include a commercial invoice that lists the country of origin for each product it contains; the information on that invoice will be used to determine the tariff rates for exports. You can view samples of commercial invoices on export.gov, in the “International Logistics” section.
The Doral Chamber of Commerce, Inc. is an IRS approved 501c(6), Registered Florida non-profit corporation. Occasionally, a country’s customs authority requests that the certificate of origin be certified by the exporter’s chamber of commerce. If this happens, contact your local chamber for details on obtaining certification. For more information about this process, contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center (buyusa.gov).