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Inspection Certificate

Jun 30, 2022Basics of Importing

Inspection Certificate

An inspection certificate is a document that is required for importing certain consumer goods. This document states that the shipment was in good condition at the time of inspection, which is typically just before the shipment is sent out. The inspection certificate is an important part of international trade deals since it provides proof that the products being exchanged are in good condition.

Having an inspection certificate can help simplify the shipping process and provide peace of mind for both the buyer and seller involved in the transaction. If you’re looking to ship any type of product internationally, be sure to check if you need an inspection certificate first.

Purpose of an Inspection Certificate

This document indicates that the products in the shipment have been checked by a qualified authority and conform to the terms stated in the sales contract. The certificate verifies that the goods meet all quality, quantity, import eligibility, tariff classification, and price specifications.

Inspection certificates are important because they help ensure that everyone involved in a transaction is getting what they expect. If there’s a problem with the merchandise, the certificate can act as proof that it wasn’t up to par. Overall, these documents contribute to transparency and peace of mind in international business dealings.

Types of Inspection Certificates

There are two types of inspection certificates: official and commercial.

  1. An official inspection certificate is requested by the customs authorities of some countries in order to process the clearance of goods. The purpose of this certificate is to confirm that the goods in the shipment meet the various specifications mentioned in the sales contract, including quality, quantity, tariff classification, import eligibility, and price.
  2. A commercial inspection certificate or report is a pre-shipment inspection that must be done before the production of a batch of goods is completed. This certificate/report is sent to the buyer to determine if the various specifications of the intended shipment match with the sales contract and other specific regulations.

If the batch fails to meet the terms of the contract, the buyer can take any suitable action before the shipment leaves the factory. However, if the batch clears the inspection, the buyer can use the report as proof that the products are of good quality and were correctly packaged.

Issuance of the Inspection Certificate

An Inspection Certificate is a document that is issued by a qualified inspector from an independent inspection company. The certificate is signed by the authorities who inspected the procedure, and it provides buyers with information about the products that they are buying. Inspection certificates are becoming increasingly common in international trade, as they help to ensure that products meet quality standards.

Some of the leading inspection companies include;

  • SGS
  • Bureau Veritas SA
  • Intertek
  • Cotecna
  • Baltic Control Ltd.
  • Arhus
  • Alfred H Knight International Ltd.
  • CIS Commodity Inspection Services
  • Control Union International
  • CSA Group.

Inspection certificates are an important part of ensuring that products meet quality standards and that buyers are getting what they expect.

Details needed for an Inspection Certificate

The Inspection Certificate should include the following information:

  • Date of Issue
  • Date and Place of Inspection
  • Contact Details of the Applicant
  • Country of Origin
  • Description of the Goods
  • Number and Date of the Pro Forma Invoice
  • Insurance Policy Number
  • Number of Packages
  • Number and Date of the Bill of Lading
  • Gross Weight
  • Port of Discharge
  • Contact Details of the Supplier
  • Code Number of the Custom Tariff
  • Type of Packing
  • Place of Issue
  • Name and Signature of the Authorized Person

This certificate is essential in order to ensure a smooth shipping process. If you are unsure of any of the information required, be sure to contact your supplier or local customs office for guidance.

Pre-shipment Inspection

Pre-shipment Inspection is generally performed by private organizations on a contract basis. The Importer is responsible for arranging the pre-shipment inspection, but the Exporter must make the goods available for inspection in the country of origin.

Inspection costs are borne by the importer or by the government of the importing country. The expenses with regard to presenting the goods for inspection such as unpacking, handling, testing, sampling, repackaging are the seller’s responsibility.

An Inspection Certificate is important because it ensures that products are up to standard and safe to use. It also helps to avoid delays and costly mistakes.

Countries that require Inspection Certificate

It’s important to know which countries require inspection certificates for shipping, since this can affect not only the cost of your shipment but also whether or not it will be accepted into the country.

Generally, most countries will ask for an inspection certificate only for shipments that are above a certain value. However, there are some nations that demand the certificate regardless of the value of the shipment.

The countries that always require an inspection certificate regardless of shipment value are Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo and Uzbekistan.

In some cases a country may only require an inspection certificate for certain types of goods. For instance Mexico requires an inspection certificate for goods such as shoes textiles steel and bicycles only if they do not qualify for North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

If you’re unsure whether or not your shipment will require an inspection certificate, it’s always best to check with your local shipping authority.

Other Alternative Inspection Documents

In addition to an Inspection Certificate, you will need the following documents to facilitate the smooth passage of your goods through customs:

1. Bill of lading

A bill of lading is a crucial trade document that specifies the quantity, destination, and kind of items transported. It’s also used as a delivery receipt after the cargo arrives at its destination.

2. Insurance certificate

An insurance certificate certifies that the goods are protected against loss or damage. This certificate contains all of the information needed to understand the coverage under your policy.

3. Import/export license

The import and export licenses are two different documents that verify that you have been given permission to import/export products into and out of a nation.

4. Test report

A test report verifies that the items have been tested and meet the required standards.

An Inspection Certificate is therefore a key document in the shipping process, and one that you should make sure you have in order before attempting to ship your goods.

Benefits of an Inspection Certificate ?

An inspection certificate is a document that attests to the conformity of goods to the agreed standards. It is issued by an independent third party, and its purpose is to give assurance to the buyer that the products they are purchasing meet the specified quality requirements.

There are several benefits that an inspection certificate can provide:

  1. It helps reduce the chances of receiving goods that do not conform to the agreed standards.
  2. It allows exporters to keep tabs on the production process and take corrective measures if necessary.
  3. It provides clarity on production timelines and shipping schedules.
  4. It offers buyers peace of mind by confirming the quality of the goods purchased.


Are all the inspection certificates the same?

There are various types of inspection certificates, such as pre-shipment inspection, container loading supervision, during production inspection, pre-production inspection, and post shipment inspection. Each type of certificate has its own test processes and reports.

How long is the validity of a certificate of inspection?

It is generally valid for five years, after which you will have to apply for a new one. If your products fail to maintain the required quality standards or there are any other compliance issues, you might be denied the certificate of inspection.

When is the inspection certificate issued?

The inspection certificate is given immediately after the examination has been completed, verifying that the items comply with the terms of the agreement.

What to do if you are not satisfied with the inspection report?

If you’re not happy with your Inspection Certificate, there are a few things you can do. First, try negotiating with the inspection company. If that doesn’t work, remember that you’re entitled to follow the rules stated in the WTO agreement. The WTO agreement clearly lays out the responsibilities of both the exporter and the inspection company with respect to pre-shipment inspections. According to the agreement, the inspection company must appoint an appeals official and comply with certain guidelines. This is mandatory when carrying out pre-shipment inspections for signatory countries. So if you’re still not happy with your Inspection Certificate, know that you have options and rights that you can pursue.


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