certificate of original

Are you wondering what is a certificate of origin and why is it important?

Do you want to know how to get the certificate of origin(CO)?

A CO can state and verify that export products have been manufactured and produced in a particular country.

It is a shipping document and is important. Basically, it explains from which country are the products coming from, what is their origin.

This document is usually asked by customs, banks, private stakeholders and importers. Especially for some countries’ customs, they need CO to ensure the goods are legally imported to avoid any issues.

If there still are questions that are bothering you, this guide is just for you! It talks about what the certificate of origin is, why is it important, which country issues it and explains the elements of the certificate in detail.

Table of Content

Chapter 1: What is Certificate of Origin (CO)? Why Is It Important?

Chapter 2: 8 Main Questions for You to Know Before Apply for Certificate of Origin

Chapter 3: Detailed Procedure for Applying for the Certificate of Origin

Chapter 4: FAQs About Certificate of Origin

Chapter 1: What is Certificate of Origin (CO)? Why Is It Important?

A Certificate of Origin is an important trade document. It is required internationally. For any type of import/export, a certificate of origin is compulsory.

A certificate is required every time you export products to a country. It simply states that the goods being exported are completely manufactured in the country stated.

What is Certificate of Origin

1. What is a Certificate of Origin? What elements does it conclude?

A certificate of origin, as explained, is a trade document. It shows where the goods being imported come from. It is a simple piece of paper that the exporter gets before exporting goods. Some different requirements and specifications need to be entered.

Apart from just the country of origin or manufacture, the certificate has other important information. The type of item, size of consignment, destination are all mentioned in it.

It needs to be stated exactly if the goods were partially manufactured in the country they are being exported from. In case they have only been obtained from the country, it should be mentioned too.

For any type of cross-border trade, you need a certificate of origin. Mostly, the exporter or supplier obtains the certificate from the chamber of commerce.

2. How is a Country of Origin determined? When is a Certificate of Origin required?

The certificate of origin basically states which country is the products that are being exported.

The country of origin is basically the place where the product was manufactured, grown or originated from. Checking the label is the easiest way to determine the country of origin.

how is a Country of Origin determined

A “made in China” label shows that a product has been made in China completely. However, commonly, a particular product is not wholly produced in one country.

Taking the example of China, a product can be “made in China”. But, the raw materials might be imported from some other country.

This can lead to confusion as to which country is the country of origin in this case. This product will also have the “made in China” label on it, but it will claim it conditionally.

Another way to determine the country of origin is to see which country the product is being shipped from. Mostly the country where the product is being shipped from is the country of origin of that product.

3. The 12 Elements on the Certificate of Origin

There are several things included in the Certificate of Origin. In the table below, we prepare all the information of the 12 important things in detail.

Certificate Number Without a proper and certificate number, the certificate will not be valid. This needs to be filled out carefully and with the proper number.
Name and address of Exporter This column has the information of the beneficiary. All the information of the exporter is mentioned, includes a detailed address.
Consignee name and address This is the name and address of the buyer who is importing the goods from the country of origin.
Method of transport Both the destination and shipment ports need to be mentioned here. Also, the terms of shipment need to be included. If there is any sort of transshipment, mention that too.


Country of destination No mention of any middle man. Here, only the country where the goods are to finally reach is mentioned.
Mark and numbers Any sort of marks and numbers are not allowed. You can’t write “as per invoice number”.
Goods description The number and size of the carton need to be mentioned. For instance, 300 cartons of grocery bags.
H.S Code This should be in accordance with customer declaration.
Quantity being exported All the measurements and quantities should be clearly mentioned and printed.
Date and invoice number A valid invoice number is required. Also, the date should be current.
Declaration by the exporter The data and place where the goods were issued are printed. It should have the signature and stamp of the exporter. The date that is shown on it should not be before the date of the invoice.
Certification The issuer will sign manually on it.

4. Why do we need a Certificate of Origin for the products?

The main reason is that it is mandatory and legal to have one. Without a certificate of origin and COC, the goods will not be cleared through customs.

If there is no certificate of origin with the goods that arrive at the destination port, the customs officer will not allow the goods to leave the warehouse.

The importance of the certificate of origin is two-fold. First, it shows that all the duties have been paid on the goods. Secondly, it shows that the goods which are being imported are legal and not illegal.

A certificate of origin shows which country the products are coming from. This clears a lot of things like if the taxes and duties. Each country has different taxes and duties for goods being imported from other countries.

Why do we need a Certificate of Origin for the products

Some countries are exempted from taxes. If the goods are coming from there, your goods will be charged differently than others. It also differentiates your goods from the competitors. This is important in conducting statistical reporting.

  • 2 Types of Certificate of Origins

You can get two types of certificates of origin from the Chamber of Commerce. They differ from each other based on non-preferential and preferential purposes.

  • Preferential Certificate of Origin

When goods that have some sort of preferential treatment in case of payment of taxes/ duties are imported/exported, this certificate is issued. Preferential treatment can be given in any form.

It can be reduced tariffs or even full exemption of tariffs. Preferential certificate of origin is mostly between countries that have some sort of trade agreement.

Whenever goods are imported/exported between these countries, a preferential certificate of origin is required.

It even applies to products that have been partially made in a country. Products have to fulfill two main clauses in this case.

First, the product must have been manufactured from raw materials or components that originate from a beneficiary country. Secondly, the products should have been processed for a certain time in the beneficiary country.

  • Non-Preferential Certificate of Origin

This certificate is the opposite of the preferential certificate of origin. When you are issued a non-preferential certificate of origin, it shows that your goods will not get any sort of preferential tariff/tax treatment.

It is the CO that is mostly used in trade. It clearly states that no preferential treatment will be provided to the goods being imported.

Chapter 2: 8 Main Questions for You to Know Before Apply for Certificate of Origin

1. What are the requirements of the Certificate of Origin?

A few documents are required before you get a certificate of origin. There is a misconception that the process is very long and it requires a lot of documents. This is not the case. The following documents are required.

8 Main Questions for You to Know Before Apply for Certificate of Origin

  1. A properly filled application form.
  2. The commercial invoice that the supplier in the originating country issues.
  3. Relevant documents like bill of landing, export permit, airway bill, export customer permit for clearance etc. These documents are issued by the government.
  4. Any other document which the Chamber of Commerce requires.

2. The cost of getting a Certificate of Origin

There is a very small fee of getting a Certificate of Origin. The Chamber of Commerce takes this fee for stamping the CO. And for different countries, they have different price range. For example, a UK-based Certificate of Origin usually will take from £52 to £54.

And for members of the Chamber are given a concession on the fee and it is reduced further for them. This reduction is an incentive for people to become members of the Chamber. In short, there is no fixed fee, but it is very economical.

The cost of getting a Certificate of Origin

3. Which format of the Certificate of Origin is required?

  • Generic Format

As the name suggests, it is a simple format in which only basic information is added. It has information like the name of the importer and exporter.

It also has product information and information about the country of origin. Nothing special is added to it. Mostly, a generic CO is used.

  • Special Format

This certificate of origin is for special situations. It is a customized template. It has special and more detailed information than the generic format has.

Special information about the importer, exporter, goods and even country of origin is added to it. All the information that the Chamber of Commerce requires is added to it.

  • Electronic CO

This is just like any other Certificate of origin. The only difference is that it is applied online. It is also completed and created online. In the past few years, many countries have started to accept electronic CO for export purposes.

All the relevant information and documents are supplied online through a web-based application. This is submitted to the chamber of commerce.

4. From whom do you get the Certificate of Origin signed?

The certificate of origin is always signed and provided by the exporter of the goods. It clearly states that the exporter agrees to the authenticity of the details provided in the CO.

From whom do you get the Certificate of Origin signed

The exporter signs the certificate of origin stating that he is aware of all the information in it. Once that is done, it is presented to the Chamber of Commerce of the origin country. Here it is rubber-stamped and confirmed.

All this hassle is done to show that the goods being exported are made in the country of origin as stated.

5. The common processing time for obtaining the Certificate of Origin

Commonly, the certificate of origin is processed in 5 business days to a week.

This time starts after you have submitted the application form and have paid the fee. Once the CO is issued, it is dispatched to the address which you add to the form. There is no option for quicker service and you will have to wait for at least 5-7 days.

6. What is the role of the local chamber of commerce in issuing a Certificate of Origin

The Chamber of Commerce has a very important role to play. In fact, it is the authority that stamps and provides you with a certificate of origin.

You need to check whether your local chamber of commerce is following the rules and regulations of the International Chamber of Commerce Guidelines.

Even though most chambers have the stamp, when they don’t follow the guidelines properly, this can lead to problems for you.

7. Are import duties reduced if you have a Certificate of Origin?

Yes, it can happen. There is a big chance that your import duties will reduce if you have a valid certificate of origin.

Are import duties reduced if you have a Certificate of Origin

If you are importing from a country in which you have some form of trade agreement, a certificate of origin can help in the reduction of the import duties.

The country of origin shows whether the goods coming from there are subject to duties or not. For goods like these, the preferential certificate of origin is used. The reduction of import duties depends SOLELY on the type of trade agreement between countries.

Chapter 3: Detailed Procedure for Applying for the Certificate of Origin

Simply going up to the Chamber of Commerce will not get you a certificate of origin. It depends on which country the goods are being exported to.

If the country does not have detailed requirements, that is good for you. Getting a CO will become easier. If your goods are preferential and require preferential tariff and tax rates, you need to get multiple documents. This is done by going to different agencies.

Detailed Procedure for Applying for the Certificate of Origin

1. Complete and Notarize the related appropriate affidavit

The exporter is the person responsible for signing the certificate of origin. Once the exporter has signed it, the affidavit needs further validation.

The certificate needs to be notarized. This is done either by a company notary public or by some other authoritative party.

Mostly, banks or UPS stores found locally can also notarize it. Basically, this is done to double validate that the information provided is true.

2. Offer the documents that show the manufacturing place of your goods

All relevant documents that show where the goods were manufactured should be provided. This is very important in determining the country of origin.

The easiest way to do so is by providing the commercial invoice. This clearly states where the goods were produced, manufactured or obtained from.

3. Fill in the required information in the certificate of origin

When all the documents have been provided, fill in the application form. You need to fill this in very carefully. It is a legal document and no form of mistake is allowed.

Take your time to fill out all the information that is asked about.

4. Submit documents to your chamber of commerce

After filling the form and gathering all the documents, the process becomes easier. All you need to do is find the chamber of commerce of your choice.

As we mentioned before, it is important to make sure the chamber of commerce is follow the guidelines. Those guidelines provided by the International Chamber of Commerce will help you check the organization.

5. Explain which documents are needed to be stamped

You should mention clearly which documents you want to be stamped. Sometimes, the chamber might not stamp the documents you would like to be stamped.

So, the best way is to indicate and explain which documents to stamp.

Chapter 4: FAQs About Certificate of Origin

faqs about certificate of original

1. How is importing goods from different countries of origin managed?

This depends on the country you are importing goods into and the type of goods being imported.

Each country has its own rules when it comes to importing goods from different countries of origin at the same time. Mostly, a separate certificate of origin is required for each of the products.

This method works sometimes. In other situations, it is recommended to dig deeper and get more information about the country of origin.

Sometimes, a single certificate is required. In this case, the last country where the final consolidation of the product occurs issues the CO.

2. Can a Certificate of Origin be replaced?

Yes. It is possible to replace a certificate of origin, but only in special circumstances.

You can check with your local chamber of commerce that issued the certificate in the first place. There has to be a detailed letter or request that clearly states why you need to change/replace it.

3. How does one know if there is a need for a Certificate of Origin?

If you are exporting/importing goods from another country, there must be a certificate of origin. This is a certificate that states where the goods were manufactured or made.

It is important because it allows determining whether the goods are legal or not. Moreover, it also helps to decide what duties and taxes will be applied to the goods.

4. How long is the Certificate of Origin Valid?

The certificate of origin is valid for a year (12 months). This time frame starts right from the day that it is issued.


A certificate of origin is an important shipping document. It is required if you want to carry out international trade.

As explained in the guide, getting a certificate of origin is not as difficult as it seems. On the contrary, the guide provides all information required to apply and get a certificate of origin.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of running around getting a certificate of origin, we can help you.

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