Certificate Of Origin Information

Common Export Documents

This section covers documents that are commonly used in exporting, but specific
requirements vary by destination and product. It is divided into the following
subsections: common export documents, transportation documents,export
compliance documents
, certificates of origin, other certificates for shipments of specific goods, other
export-related documents
, and temporary shipment documents. Learn
more about export documentation

For additional assistance with country-specific documentation requirements, please email the Trade
Information Center


Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is a bill for the goods from the seller to the buyer. These
invoices are often used by governments to determine the true value of goods when
assessing customs duties. Governments that use the commercial invoice to control
imports will often specify its form, content, number of copies, language to be
used, and other characteristics.

Export Packing List

Considerably more detailed and informative than a standard domestic packing
list, an export packing list lists seller, buyer, shipper, invoice number, date
of shipment, mode of transport, carrier, and itemizes quantity, description, the
type of package, such as a box, crate, drum, or carton, the quantity of
packages, total net and gross weight (in kilograms), package marks, and
dimensions, if appropriate. Both commercial stationers and freight forwarders
carry packing list forms. A packing list may serve as conforming document. It is
not a substitute for a commercial invoice. In addition, U.S. and foreign customs
officials may use the export packing list to check the cargo.

Pro Forma Invoice

A pro forma invoice is an invoice prepared by the exporter before shipping the
goods, informing the buyer of the goods to be sent, their value, and other key
specifications. It also can be used as an offering of sale or price quotation.


Airway Bill

Air freight shipments require airway bills. Airway bills are shipper-specific
(i.e., USPS, Fed-Ex, UPS, DHL, etc.).

Bill of Lading

A bill of lading is a contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier
(as with domestic shipments). For vessels, there are two types: a straight bill
of lading, which is non-negotiable, and a negotiable or shipper’s order bill of
lading. The latter can be bought, sold, or traded while the goods are in
transit. The customer usually needs an original as proof of ownership to take
possession of the goods. See also: straight bill of lading and liner
bill of lading

Electronic Export Information Filing (formerly known as the Shipper’s Export

Electronic Export Information (EEI) is the most common of all export control
documents. It is required for shipments above $2,500* and for shipments of any
value requiring an export license. It has to be electronically filed via the AES
 online system, which is a
free service from Census and Customs.

Numerous videos are available on AES Direct, including: Registering
for AESDirect
, Filing a Shipment in AESDirect,Response
Messages from AES
, Proof of Filing Citations , AESDirect
- The Shipment Manager
, and Elimination of the SSN in the AES.

*Note: The EEI is required for shipments to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin
Islands and the former Pacific Trust Territories even though they are not
considered exports (unless each “Schedule B” item in the shipment is under

Shipments to Canada do not require an EEI except in cases where an export
license is required. (Shipments to third countries passing through Canada do
need an EEI.)


Export Licenses

An export license is a government document
that authorizes the export of specific goods in specific quantities to a
particular destination. This document may be required for most or all exports to
some countries or for other countries only under special circumstances. Examples
of export license certificates include those issued by the Department of
Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (dual use articles), the State
Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls
articles), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (nuclear
materials), and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (controlled
substances and precursor chemicals).

Several videos are available on export licenses, including: Export
Compliance Introduction
, ExportingCommercial Items: ECCNs and EAR99, The
Commerce Control List and Self-Classification
, and Exporting
EAR99 Items: Screening Your Transaction, Lists to Check and Red Flags

Destination Control Statement

A Destination Control Statement (DCS) is
required for exports from the United States for items on the Commerce Control
List that are outside of EAR99 (products for which no license is required) or
controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). A DCS
appears on the commercial invoice, ocean bill of lading, or airway bill to
notify the carrier and all foreign parties that the item can be exported only to
certain destinations. For more information, watch relevant videos: Export
Compliance Introduction,
 and Exporting Commercial Items: ECCNs and EAR99.


Generic Certificate of Origin

The Certificate of Origin (CO) is required by some countries for all or only certain products. In many cases, a statement of origin printed on company
letterhead will suffice. The exporter should verify whether a CO is required with the buyer and/or an experienced
shipper/freight forwarder or the Trade Information Center.

Note: Some countries (i.e., numerous Middle Eastern countries) require that
certificate of origin be notarized, certified by local chamber of commerce and
legalized by the commercial section of the consulate of the destination country.
For certain Middle Eastern countries, the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce may
also provide such services.

For textile products, an importing country may require a certificate of origin
issued by the manufacturer. The number of required copies and language may vary
from country to country.

Certificate of Origin for claiming benefits under Free Trade Agreements

Special certificates may be required for countries with which the United States
has free trade agreements (FTAs). Watch our FTA webinar for more
information. Some certificate of origin including those required by the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the FTAs with Israel and Jordan, are
prepared by the exporter.

Others including those required by the FTAs with Australia; the Dominican
Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)
countries; Chile; and Morocco; are the importer’s responsibility).
Click on a specific country below to learn details on how to document origin.

Certificate of Origin for goods not manufactured in the United States

Certificates of origin for goods not manufactured in the United States can be
obtained from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce uses EZCertOrigin™,
a service provided by ICS Consulting, LLC, to process all requests submitted for
certificates of origin (both U.S. and non-U.S.). Exporters can visit EZCertOrigin or
call 1-888-885-6650 to obtain the forms required by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
and detailed instructions on how to fill out the forms. The fee for each
certificate is $40.00 for U.S. Chamber members. The fee for each certificate is
$150.00 for non-U.S. Chamber of Commerce members. It costs $5.00 per copy for
certified copies of certificates.

USCIB is now issuing electronic Certificates of Origin (eCOs). USCIB’s eCOs save
time and money, bypassing the delay and expense of employing messengers to
obtain certification.  After a few simple steps, and certification by USICB,
eCOS can be printed from any computer. We are a trusted name in the United
States, and well known among customs administrations around the world. USCIB has
over four decades’ experience in export documentation.


Additional certificates are needed for different purposes. Check with your
importer, freight forwarder, or contact the Trade Information Center at tic@trade.gov for
further information.

ATA CARNET/Temporary shipment certificate

An ATA Carnet, a. k. a., “Merchandise Passport,” is a document that facilitates the temporary importation of
products into foreign countries by eliminating tariffs and value-added taxes
(VAT) or the posting of a security deposit normally required at the time of
importation. Apply for an ATA Carnet.

Certificate of Analysis:

A certificate of analysis can be required for seeds, grain, health foods,
dietary supplements, fruits and vegetables, and pharmaceutical products.

Certificate of Free Sale

Certificate of free sale may be issued for biologics, food, drugs, medical
devices and veterinary medicine. More information is available from the Food
and Drug Administration

What are FDA export certificates (Certificate of Free Sale)?

Certificate of Free Sale are certificates (not pertaining to a particular production lot or export consignment) that indicate that the particular product(s) is marketed in the United States or eligible for export, and that the particular manufacturer has no unresolved enforcement actions pending before or taken by FDA. These certificates may be issued by FDA-CFSAN or by a State governmental authority.

Which countries require an export certificate and for which products?

For a list of Export Certificate requirements by country, please visit the links under USDA Food Export Certificate Database.

What information do I need to provide when requesting an export certificate?

Step-by-step instructions are available on the FDA website for filing electronic applications.

Is there a fee for obtaining an export certificate?

Certificates issued by CFSAN for food, food additives, seafood, dietary supplements, and cosmetics cost $10. You will receive a bill for the amount due along with the completed certificates.

For export certificates for human or animal drugs, biologics and devices issued under section 801(e)(4) of the Act, the agency may charge a fee of up to $175 if the certificate is issued within 20 government working days from the time a complete request is received. This fee may vary depending on the product type, but will not exceed $175.


How long will it take before I receive the certificate and how long is it valid?

Certificates for food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and food additives may take up to 3-8 weeks, depending on work load and regulatory status of the products and /or the company. Processing of a certificate cannot begin until all requested documents have been received.

Dangerous Goods Certificate

Exports submitted for handling by air carriers and air freight forwarders
classified as dangerous goods need to be accompanied by the Shipper’s
Declaration for Dangerous Goods required by the International Air Transport
Association (IATA). The exporter is responsible for accuracy of the form and
ensuring that requirements related to packaging, marking, and other required
information by IATA have been met.

For shipment of dangerous goods it is critical to identify goods by proper name,
comply with packaging and labeling requirements, which vary depending upon the
type of product shipper and the country shipped to.  More information on
labeling/regulations is available from the International
Air Transportation Association
 or Department
of Transportation – HAZMAT

For ocean exports, hazardous material regulations are contained in the
International Maritime Dangerous Goods regulations.

Fisheries Certificate

The National Marine Fisheries Service conducts
inspections and analyses of fishery commodities for export.

Fumigation Certificate

The Fumigation Certificate provides evidence of the fumigation of exported goods
(especially agricultural products, used clothing, etc.). This form assists in
the quarantine clearance of any goods of plant or animal origin. The seller is
typically required to fumigate the commodity at his or her expense a maximum of
15 days prior to loading.

Halal Certificate

Required by most countries in the Middle East, this certificate states that the
fresh or frozen meat or poultry products were slaughtered in accordance with
Islamic law. Certification by an appropriate chamber and legalization by the
consulate of the destination country is usually required.

Health Certificate

For shipment of live animals and animal products (processed foodstuffs, poultry,
meat, fish, seafood, dairy products, and eggs and egg products). Note: some
countries require that health certificates be notarized or certified by a
chamber and legalized by a consulate. Health certificates are issued by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Ingredients Certificate

A certificate of ingredients may be requested for food products with labels that
are inadequate or incomplete. The certificate may be issued by the manufacturer
and must give a description of the product, contents, and percentage of each
ingredient; chemical data; microbiological standards; storage instructions;
shelf life; and date of manufacture. If animal fats are used, the certificate
must state the type of fat used and that the product contains no pork,
artificial pork flavor, or pork fat. All foodstuffs are subject to analysis by
Ministry of Health laboratories to establish their fitness for use.

Inspection Certificate

Weight and Quality certificates should be provided in accordance with governing
USDA/GIPSA regulations for loading at port and loading at source/mill site as
appropriate. A certificate of origin certified by the local chamber of commerce
at the load port and a phytosanitary certificate issued by APHIS/USDA and
fumigation certificate are to be provided to the buyer. Costs of all inspection,
as well as certificates/documents at the load port, are usually the
responsibility of the seller. Independent inspection certificates may required
in some instances.

Pre-Shipment Inspections

The governments of a number of countries have contracted with international
inspection companies to verify the quantity, quality, and price of shipments
imported into their countries. The purpose of such inspections is to ensure that
the price charged by the exporter reflects the true value of the goods, to
prevent substandard goods from entering the country, and to deflect attempts to
avoid payment of customs duties. Requirements for pre-shipment inspection are
normally spelled out in letter-of-credit or other documentary requirements.
Inspections companies include Bureau Veritas, SGS and Intertek.
Some countries require pre-shipment inspection certificates for shipments of
used merchandise.

Insurance Certificate

Insurance certificates are used to assure the consignee that insurance will
cover the loss of or damage to the cargo during transit. These can be obtained
from your freight forwarder or
publishing house. Note: an airway bill can serve as an insurance certificate for
a shipment by air. Some countries may require certification or notification.

Phytosanitary Certificate

All shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, flour, rice, grains,
lumber, plants, and plant materials require a federal phytosanitary certificate.
The certificate must verify that the product is free from specified epidemics
and/or agricultural diseases. Additional information and forms are
available from Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Radiation Certificate

Some counties including Saudi Arabia may require this certificate for some plant
and animal imports. The certificate states that the products are not
contaminated by radioactivity.

Other (Product-Specific) Certificates

Shaving brushes and articles made of raw hair must be accompanied by a
recognized official certificate showing the consignment to be free from anthrax
germs. Used clothing requires a disinfection certificate. Grain requires a
fumigation certificate, and grain and seeds require a certificate of weight.
Many countries in the Middle East require special certificates for imports of
animal fodder additives, livestock, pets, and horses.

Weight Certificate

A certificate of weight is a document issued by
customs, certifying gross weight of the exported goods.


Consular Invoice

Required in some countries, a consular invoice describes the shipment of goods
and shows information such as the consignor, consignee, and value of the
shipment. If required, copies are available from the destination
country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S.
 The cost for this documentation can be
significant and should be discussed with the buyer.

Canadian Customs Invoice

Although not required by regulation, this customs invoice is a preferred
document by Canadian Customs and customs brokers. It
is issued in Canadian dollars for dutiable and taxable exports exceeding $1600
Canadian dollars. Detailed invoice requirements can be obtained at the Canadian

Dock Receipt and Warehouse Receipt

A dock receipt and warehouse receipt are used to transfer accountability when
the export item is moved by the domestic carrier to the port of embarkation and
left with the ship line for export.

Import License

Import licenses are the responsibility of the importer and vary depending upon
destination and product. However, including a copy of an import license with the
rest of your documentation may in some cases help avoid problems with customs in
the destination country.

ISPM 15 (Wood Packaging) Marking

The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures Guidelines for Regulating
Wood Packaging Material in International Trade (ISPM15) is one of several
International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures adopted by the International
Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The IPPC is an international treaty to
secure action to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and
plant products, and to promote appropriate measures for their control. The
American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC)
and the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA)
provide phytosanitary certification for wood packaging materials (WPM). APHIS
will issue a phytosanitary certificate for wood package materials only if WPM
are the cargo.

Shipper’s Letter of Instruction

The shipper’s letter of instruction is issued by the exporter to the forwarding
agent and includes shipping instructions for air or ocean shipment.


ATA CARNET/Temporary shipment certificate

An ATA Carnet, a. k. a., “Merchandise Passport,” is a document that facilitates the temporary importation of
products into foreign countries by eliminating tariffs and value-added taxes
(VAT) or the posting of a security deposit normally required at the time of
importation. Apply for an ATA Carnet.

Customs Certificate of Registration

Customs Form 4455 may be used (often in
conjunction with a temporary import bond or ATA Carnet for goods that are
leaving the United States on a temporary basis for alteration, repair,
replacement, and processing).

Transporting Goods by Truck to Canada

An application to transact bonded carrier and forwarding operation, Form
, is required to bring goods over the border to Canada, when not already
cleared through Customs at the border.

This information is reprinted from www.export.gov . The Doral Chamber of Commerce is not responsible for the accuracy of the content. Please consult with Immigrations, Customs, or the International Carrier for other questions and additional information.