Certificate of Origin

What is a Certificate of Origin?

A Certificate of Origin (COO) is a document that is required by certain foreign countries for tariff purposes, certifying the country of origin of specified goods.

Click here to download a fillable Microsoft Excel version of a General Certificate of Origin.

Why do I need a Certificate of Origin?

The appropriate government agency responsible for monitoring and assessing duties on imported products in virtually all countries requires a Certificate of Origin (COO) to determine what duty or tariff, if any, should be assessed on the product or products being imported. The U.S. has trade agreements with many foreign countries, and under the terms of many of these agreements, American products receive lower tariff rates or are not subject to a tariff. The foreign customs office verifies whether a product qualifies for preferential duty rates based on the information on the Certificate of Origin that accompanies the documentation associated with the shipment. Also, some countries have banned certain products from countries that have been caught dumping. The COO helps prove that the product is allowed into that particular country.

A Certificate of Origin is usually prepared by the exporter or the freight forwarder and notarized and attested to by a local Chamber of Commerce or a World Trade Center. Most countries will accept a general-purpose form identifying the seller, mode of transport, date of export and consignee and containing a description of the merchandise, but some countries have specific forms that are required.

What are the differences in Certificate of Origin?

There are several types of Certificates of Origin. The descriptions are as follows:

  • General Certificate of Origin:This form is used for almost all exports. There are several versions available because the government has updated the form on numerous occasions, but older versions are still valid. Also, a number of private companies produce the forms and they each have slightly different formats.
  • NAFTA Certificate of Origin:This form is used only for products that are made in the U.S. and are being shipped into Mexico or Canada. The form must be included with the shipment or else the manufacturer will have to pay the tariffs and duties imposed on non-NAFTA countries. It can be used only for goods produced in the U.S., and not just passing through from another country. This form does not require a signature by a representative from a Chamber of Commerce or World Trade Center. Click here to download a printable version of a NAFTA Certificate of Origin.
  • USMCA Compliant Certificate of Origin:  Goes into effect on July 1st, 2020 and replaces the NAFTA Certificate of Origin. Click here to download our USMCA Compliant Certificate of Origin Template.
  • Mexican Certificate of Origin:This form differs from the NAFTA form, as its purpose is to prevent Asian textiles and footwear from being dumped into Mexico via the U.S. The law took effect September 15, 1994, and affects foreign origin goods entering Mexico from the U.S. If the goods being shipped are from textile or footwear industries, the Mexican Consulate must notarize the form. If the products are from any other industry, only the shipper must sign the form. A Chamber of Commerce or World Trade Center is not required to sign this form.
  • Japanese Certificate of Origin:This form is required only if exported goods have been assigned preferential tax treatment under GATT.
  • South African Certificate of Origin:This form is required when the goods qualify for a lower rate of duty or when the goods are liable to antidumping or countervailing duty. The Chamber of Commerce is usually required to sign these forms.
  • Turkey Certificate of Origin:This form is required when the goods qualify for a lower rate of duty or when the goods are liable to antidumping or countervailing duty. The Chamber of Commerce is usually required to sign these forms.

Does the Certificate of Origin need to be notarized?

All certificates, with the exception of the NAFTA Certificate, require a notary signature and stamp. The World Trade Center Denver requires that the Certificate be notarized before we sign it. All Certificates of Origin must be original documents.  Also, the company employee named at the top of the Certificate is the person who must sign the Certificate in front of the notary.  The WTC Denver has a notary public available who can notarize your document for a $5 fee.

How do I get a Certificate of Origin from the World Trade Center Denver?

The World Trade Center Denver can issue a Certificate of Origin for products manufactured and legally sold in the U.S. if the following requirements are met:

  • Fill out the appropriate Certificate(s) of Origin for the country or countries to which you are exporting.
  • Make sure you fill out the Certificate completely and accurately.
  • Make sure that the product information listed is verbatim to what is on the invoice. Be sure to include product numbers, quantities, or descriptions.
  • Do not alter the Certificate in any way.
  • Have the Certificate notarized before having the World Trade Center Denver sign it.
  • Do not wait until the day of your shipment to bring in your Certificate.


  • Prepayment is required.
  • This service is free for World Trade Center Denver members at the Gateway level or higher.
  • Non-Members: the cost is $15 per Certificate (for companies in Colorado) and $50 per certificate (for companies outside Colorado) and we must have the original document.
  • You may pay by check (payable to World Trade Center Denver) or pay by credit card: AMEX, Visa or MasterCard.
  • You may bring the Certificate of Origin to our office (please call ahead to arrange a time), or you may mail it to the address below: 2650 E 40th Ave Denver, Colorado 80205 USA

Please allow 5-7 business days for certificates to be processed and returned by mail. Once all of the above has been submitted, the Certificate of Origin is often returned that same day.

For more information, please email us at certificate@wtcdenver.org or call 303-592-5760.