How Can I Get a Certificate of Origin?

A Certificate of Origin is a document used for international trading. The certificate indicates the country of origin and the country where the shipped goods were made. The United States, Canada and Mexico have been trading for decades, however, the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, makes the trading process easier and tariff-free. Trading between these three countries requires substantial proof that trading is being conducted by North American countries. Once this is verified, you can get a Certificate of Origin. You must fulfill some requirements before the Certificate of Origin is issued.

Fill out Form 434, the official Certificate of Origin (see Resources). Review Form 434 to ensure the exported products comply with the rules of origin, according to NAFTA.

Compile the shipping addresses and tax identification numbers (TIN) of the importer, exporter and producer. The TIN for the United States consists of an employer identification number, individual taxpayer number or a social security number. For Canada, you'll need an employer number from the Customs Revenue Agency. In Mexico you need the federal taxpayer's registry number.

Visit the Census Bureau website (see Resources) to acquire a harmonized system classification number. Use the "Schedule B" search engine on the website. In addition, you could contact the United States Census Bureau for Foreign Trade to acquire the classification number.

Complete the certificate of origin. Write the appropriate information in each field on the Form 434, such as exporter name and address, importer name and address, country of origin and other relevant information.

Send Form 434 to the NAFTA Secretariat. Once the NAFTA Secretariat determine that you meet the standards of the NAFTA, Form 434 is notarized. Goods can be traded without any restrictions.

United States Secretary NAFTA Secretariat, U.S. Section Room 2061 14th Street and Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20230 202-482-5438