Certificate of Compliance (CoC): What is it and How to Get It


The Certificate of Compliance (CoC) serves as a legal document that validates the conformity of a product, service, or system to specified requirements. Predominantly used in the fields of shipping, logistics, and manufacturing, the CoC ensures that products and services adhere to safety regulations and quality standards.

What Exactly is a Certificate of Compliance?

A Certificate of Compliance, colloquially referred to as a CoC, is a document of assurance provided by an independent third-party certification body. It guarantees that a product, service, or system complies with the regulations of an international standard such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001. By holding a CoC, customers are reassured of a product's high quality and its compliance with industry standards, as verified independently.

In certain cases, a CoC might even be a legal requirement. For instance, many countries regulate the maximum level of certain contaminants in drinking water. If a water treatment plant is ISO 9001 certified, it can provide customers with a CoC, validating its adherence to the relevant standards.

Who Issues a Certificate of Compliance?

Certificates of Compliance are typically issued by the manufacturer of a product. However, they can also be granted by an accredited third-party test laboratory. The standards for issuing a CoC can be either voluntary, as set by trade associations, or mandatory, as dictated by government bodies.

A CoC usually lists the product's standards and its country of origin. For instance, a CoC might state that a product conforms to all relevant European directives and is CE marked. Alternatively, it could declare that a product is compliant with ISO 9001:2008. In both scenarios, the issuer of the CoC guarantees that the product meets the outlined standards.

Certificate of Compliance for Imports and Exports

The Certificate of Compliance plays a crucial role in both imports to and exports from a country. It is a document that asserts that the imported or exported product satisfies all applicable standards and regulations.

In the case of imports to the USA, the Certificate of Conformity is typically required. This document, issued by the manufacturer or an accredited testing laboratory, confirms that the imported product meets all relevant standards and regulations. The types of products that might require a Certificate of Compliance include medical devices, electrical equipment, and toys.

Similarly, when exporting goods to other countries, a Certificate of Compliance is often necessary. This document attests that the product meets all applicable standards and regulations. Depending on the destination country, a certificate of compliance might be required for products ranging from cosmetics to electronics. Usually, the supplier or manufacturer is responsible for obtaining the necessary certification.

Examples of Certificate of Compliance

A Certificate of Compliance is crucial in the process of international shipping. It confirms that a product meets the importing country’s requirements, and Customs often requires it before they release the goods. Here are five examples of products that require a CoC:

  1. Pharmaceuticals: All drugs and medical devices must have a CoC before being shipped internationally to ensure safety and quality standards.
  2. Chemicals: Any chemicals being shipped, including both hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals, must have a CoC.
  3. Food: All food products, fresh or processed, must have a CoC before being exported.
  4. Vehicles: All vehicles being shipped internationally, including cars, trucks, and motorcycles, need a CoC.
  5. Electronics: Electronics like computers, TVs, DVD players, etc., being shipped must have a CoC.

Do I Need a Certificate of Compliance?

Yes, you do need a Certificate of Compliance. One common scenario where you would need to request one is when importing goods into the country. Customs requirements may stipulate that certain goods can only be imported if they have the formal certification and permission from the country of origin.

In some cases, a certificate of compliance may also be required when exporting goods. The certification is usually to show that the goods meet the required manufacturing standards of the destination country.

Certificates of compliance can also be required for certain building work or electrical installations. The certification demonstrates that the work has been completed within the required safety standards.

Application Process for a Certificate of Compliance

The application procedure for a Certificate of Compliance involves the examination of historical deeds, maps, and other documents in the context of historically relevant regulations pertaining to lot creation.

The documents that may be needed for a Certificate of Compliance application vary depending upon various factors. These may include the entire deed, a plan or map showing the entire area with the area pertaining to the requested certificate highlighted, and a continuous chain of title/deeds for the property, starting with the deed recorded prior to a specified date.

How to Obtain a Certificate of Compliance?

The best way to acquire a Certificate of Compliance is by reaching out to your local Chamber of Commerce for their list of approved or qualified methods of testing. In case you need further assistance, you can contact your local government agency.

Manufacturing Certificate of Compliance

In the manufacturing sector, a Certificate of Compliance is generated once the manufacturing process has been completed and the products are ready to be shipped. It states that the product has been repaired or maintained according to the design and technical requirements.

A CoC affirms that the parts used or the product repaired at a manufacturing facility is in compliance with all customers’ requirements as stated in the purchase order or technical drawings, etc.

It's essential to note that a Certificate of Compliance and a Certificate of conformity are not the same thing.

Certificate of Conformity

A Certificate of Conformity is a license or a letter issued by an external authority indicating your compliance with a regulation or a standard. An industrial example is the ISO certification, which certifies your operation is in compliance with a specific regulation or standard number.

Certificate of Compliance: Legal Affirmation

A certificate of compliance is a legal affirmation of lot legality. It is used to inform title companies, lenders, and the general public that such parcels comply with state and local subdivision laws.

The Certificate of Compliance process is initiated by the submittal of a completed Land Division Application along with a written request. The request should state the name of the applicant, phone number, mailing address, and a description of what is being requested.

Understanding the Certificate of Compliance Process

The Planning and Natural Resources Department attempts to process requests for Certificates of Compliance within thirty (30) days. If the property has been divided in violation of the Subdivision Map Act, conditions are imposed that require certain improvements or dedications be made or certain zoning approvals obtained.

Submittal Requirements-Certificate of Compliance

Various documents such as the current deed to the property, instrument that created the parcel (grant deed, deed of trust, contract of sale, etc.), and a legal description of the property are among the submittal requirements for obtaining a Certificate of Compliance.


A Certificate of Compliance is an essential document for any company. By understanding the requirements, requests, and examples, you can create a Certificate of Compliance that meets all necessary regulations. In the next sections, we'll delve deeper into the application process, regulations, and submittal requirements for a CoC, drawing upon real-world examples and the latest trends.

Final Thoughts

Having a Certificate of Compliance is indispensable for businesses across various sectors, signifying adherence to safety regulations and quality standards. Understanding the application process, meeting submittal requirements, and comprehending the Certificate's implications are crucial steps toward legal compliance and earning customer confidence.

While navigating these processes may seem daunting, the benefits of compliance far outweigh the risks of non-compliance. Whether you're new to Safety and Compliance or an experienced manager, staying informed is key to ensuring your products or services meet regulatory standards.

Remember, compliance isn't merely about adhering to rules; it's about guaranteeing quality, safety, and maintaining trust with customers. Embrace the journey towards compliance with confidence, knowing it safeguards your business's reputation and fosters long-term success.

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