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


A 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, otherwise known as 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. Holding a CoC reassures customers of a product's high quality and its compliance with industry standards, as verified independently.

In certain cases, a CoC is 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.

Why is a Certificate of Compliance (CoC) required?

A Certificate of Compliance is essential in international trade for several reasons:

  • Legal Adherence: It certifies a product's compliance with the specific laws and regulations of the importing country, preventing legal complications, fines, or sales prohibitions.
  • Market Access and Customs Clearance: Many countries require a CoC for customs clearance. Without it, products may face delays, additional scrutiny, or be confiscated at the border.
  • Consumer Trust: A CoC helps build consumer trust by reassuring consumers and stakeholders that the product meets safety and quality standards.
  • Risk Mitigation: It minimizes the risk of costly recalls and reputational damage associated with non-compliance.
  • Global Standardization: It helps maintain consistency and standardization of products in the global market.
  • Environmental Compliance: For many products, a CoC also confirms adherence to environmental standards.

Who Issues a Certificate of Compliance?

Typically, manufacturers issue Certificates of Compliance, but accredited third-party test laboratories can also grant them. The standards for issuing a CoC can be voluntary, set by trade associations, or mandatory, 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, or it could declare compliance with ISO 9001:2008. In both scenarios, the issuer guarantees that the product meets the outlined standards.

Certificate of Compliance for Imports and Exports

The CoC plays a crucial role in both imports and exports. It asserts that the product satisfies all applicable standards and regulations. For imports to the USA, a Certificate of Conformity is typically required. This document, issued by the manufacturer or an accredited testing laboratory, confirms that the product meets all relevant standards and regulations.

For exports, a CoC is often necessary to attest that the product meets all applicable standards and regulations of the destination country. Products requiring a CoC for export include cosmetics, electronics, and medical devices. Usually, the supplier or manufacturer is responsible for obtaining the necessary certification.

Examples of products requiring a CoC

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.
  2. Chemicals: Both hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals
  3. Food: All food products, fresh or processed.
  4. Vehicles: All vehicles being shipped internationally, including cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
  5. Electronics: Electronics like computers, TVs, DVD players.

Application Process for a Certificate of Compliance

The application procedure involves examining historical deeds, maps, and other documents relevant to lot creation regulations. Required documents may include the entire deed, a map showing the relevant area, and a continuous chain of title/deeds for the property.

How to Obtain a Certificate of Compliance?

Obtaining a Certificate of Compliance involves a multi-step process:

1. Research and Identify Applicable Standards: Identify the specific regulations and standards applicable to your product in the destination country.

2. Engage with a Certified Body or Authority: Work with an accredited certification body or regulatory authority authorized to assess, test, and certify products for compliance.

3. Prepare Product for Testing: Ensure your product is ready for evaluation, which may involve internal checks or preliminary testing.

4. Submit Product for Evaluation and Testing: The certification body will conduct a thorough evaluation of your product, including lab testing and quality assurance checks.

5. Undergo a Factory Audit (if required): Some products require a factory audit to ensure manufacturing processes comply with required standards.

6. Review and Rectify: Address any non-compliance issues identified during the evaluation.

7. Obtain and Review the Certification: Once your product passes all tests and inspections, the certifying body will issue a Certificate of Compliance. Review this document for accuracy.

8. Maintain Compliance: Conduct periodic testing and quality checks to ensure ongoing compliance with standards.

9. Renew Certification: Renew the CoC as necessary, particularly when there are significant changes to the product or relevant standards.

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 vs. Certificate of Compliance

A Certificate of Conformity is a license or a letter issued by an external authority indicating compliance with a regulation or standard, such as ISO certification. In contrast, a Certificate of Compliance is a legal affirmation of lot legality, used to inform title companies, lenders, and the general public that parcels comply with state and local subdivision laws.

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.

Submittal Requirements

You need to submit 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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