What are Certificates of Origin?

When shipping goods produced, manufactured, or processed in the United States, export shipment regulations require extensive documentation. The Certificate of Origin (CO) serves as proof that a product being exported meets certain criteria to be considered as originating in and processed in a particular country.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the World Chambers Federation, and state or regional chambers often issue these certificates to producers of goods before shipping can occur. Sometimes referred to as a declaration of origin, a Certificate of Origin ensures that all applicable international trade regulations are met before goods may be transported between countries.

What is the Purpose of a CO?

Customs officials around the world set standards for the goods and products that can be imported into their respective countries. A Certificate of Origin represents a product's eligibility for entry, based on free trade agreements. Customs checkpoints between exporting and importing countries use documentation to ensure all international transactions are both legal and certified. In some cases, a Certificate of Origin is used by exporters to gain preferential treatment with importing countries; these arrangements are often the result of special international free trade pacts or the imposition of favorable tariffs.

Certificates of Origin are typically prepared by the exporting company or individual. They may include declarations from the manufacturer, supplier, or producer that indicate the goods in question have been produced in a specific country. Authorized third parties issue a declaration or certificate of origin; a certificate is then produced for customs purposes.

The Chamber of Commerce Role in Certification

International trade is highly regulated. While global free trade is a powerful economic driver, not all goods produced in certain countries may not be exported to others. Examples may include sensitive technologies or military equipment/weapons. Embargoes banning the export of agricultural products, foodstuffs, and medical equipment also exist. An origin certificate serves to verify that all agreements are met and that the goods may be imported according to established laws.

Exporters typically make requests to a chamber of commerce for issuance of origin; a certificate is then completed. In most cases, the United States or municipal chamber located at or near the exporting port is used. In other cases, the International Chamber handles certification of origin requests. There is no specific timeframe for issuance of this export certificate; the process may take anywhere from 5-20 days and supporting document requests may need to be transmitted between stakeholders before completion of the certification process.

Although some of the certifications are traditionally done through electronic communication, it is a time-consuming and frustrating aspect of the export industry. To obtain a certificate of origin, an exporter must often navigate a confusing process and may wait days or weeks for the certificate to be issued by a chamber of commerce.

Can I get a Certificate of Origin Online?

In the past, this was not possible; documents were requested in person or via postal services. Today, the Certificate of Origin process has been streamlined with the launch of Swiftdox, an innovative online export document platform. Working with a network of chambers of commerce in the United States and beyond, Swiftdox gives exportation businesses powerful tools to submit and receive documents in electronic formats. The exporter submits the required paperwork, including commercial invoices and supporting materials, and the request for documentation is handled swiftly and accurately.

How to Apply for Certificate of Origin Online

With Swiftdox, all you have to do is to fill out request forms, submit supporting documentation, and the innovative platform takes care of the rest. The user interface has been made intuitive and easy to use. Best of all, there are built-in legalization and apostille options. The chamber of commerce network is extensive; certificates of origin may be obtained easier and faster than ever before.

Swiftdox assists with many export documents, including origin certificates as well as Certificates of Free Sale and Good Manufacturing Practices Certificates.

Depending on shipment destinations, online certification may be obtained in both Spanish and English formats, saving the hassle of translating complex documents for export and customs purposes. Simply create an account, fill out an information form, submit the request, and Swiftdox goes to work with customized support and service. Electronic certificates may be downloaded immediately, and issuance of paper-based documents occur in as little as one business day, slashing the time associated with traditional certificate practices.

Manage your export documentation from anywhere in the world, thanks to the online platform Swiftdox has created. With Swiftdox, exporting has just become more efficient and more cost-effective. By using this online export document platform, you will save time and money while ensuring your goods meet all documentation standards set by world organizations.