What is an Arab CofO?
An Arab CofO – or Arab Certificate of Origin – is an international trade document that is required for goods that are being exported to Arab League countries.
Why do I need one?
A certificate of origin is required by the customs office of the receiving country to calculate the duty payable on the export.
Which countries are on the list?
Arab League countries include:
Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen.
Note that the requirements vary between countries, so getting specific advice from the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, your local Chamber (e.g. the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry), or your freight forwarder or shipping agent is a good idea. At John Good, our experts are always happy to answer any questions you might have on any aspect of the import or export process, including the documentation requirements of a specific country.
How do I get one?
You can obtain a blank Arab CofO from your local Chamber to complete. You can then apply for certification by person, courier or post. Alternatively, you may be able to apply electronically. Some supporting documents will be required, including multiple copies of the commercial invoice and packing list.
How long will it take?
This can vary depending on which Chamber you are using, which country you are exporting to and your method of application. For goods being exported from the UK, the document needs to be certified by a UK Chamber of Commerce and the Arab Chamber. They may then need to be taken to the relevant Embassy for legalisation (this is mandatory for Kuwait, Qatar and UAE). If visiting the Chamber in person, certification can often be done while you wait. Otherwise, it may take a day or two. If legalisation is required, this can make the process significantly longer (sometimes weeks) – your Chamber or the relevant Embassy will be able to advise on a turnaround time.
Is there a fee?
Yes, fees for certification and legalisation will apply, and these vary depending on the country and the level of service you require. You may also be charged a small fee by your freight forwarder or agent if they’re dealing with this on your behalf. If you would prefer to let an experienced freight forwarder deal with your export documentation, then it’s important to check whether this is included as part of their service. At John Good Shipping, we’ll ensure that all of the required customs documentation is completed correctly, saving you time, hassle and stress.
Do I need to keep it?
Yes – you should keep your copy of all customs documentation for at least three years.
Anything else I need to know?
You will need to complete a Formal Undertaking before you apply for your first Certificate of Origin. This is essentially a contractual agreement between you and the Chamber to confirm that you agree to comply with the Certificate of Origin Regulations. Note that a Formal Undertaking has to be renewed annually.
In some cases, a buyer may prefer a European Certificate of Origin. In this case, you should obtain confirmation in writing, to avoid any disputes if the goods fail to clear customs for this reason.
Where can I find out more?
Your Chamber will be able to advise you further. Additionally, the Arab British Chamber of Commerce website has a useful list of the documentation requirements for every Arab country. If you’re using a freight forwarder then they should be able to answer any questions you might have about Certificates of Origin or any other type of trade documentation.
If you have any questions about obtaining an Arab Certificate of Origin, call our knowledgeable team who will be happy to help.