Export Documentation

Certificate of Free Sale

American companies that become engaged in exporting their products to other countries controlled by foreign governments soon become mired in documentary requirements from the regulatory authorities of a foreign governing agency. Whether they sell medical devices, human or animal drugs, dairy products, or food items, the document requirements and the government-issued certificate they must furnish before shipping a particular product can become time-consuming and confusing.

One of the documents typically required by an importing country is a Certificate of Free Sale, often called a CFS or known as a Free Sale Certificate. If you plan to participate in international trade, you need to understand this government-issued certificate.

Apply for a CFS Online

What Is a Certificate of Free Sale?

Another common name for the CFS is a Certificate of Export or COE. These documents provide validation that particular products being exported to another country have been legally marketed and freely distributed and sold on the open market in the United States. Importing countries demand them as verification of the applicable requirements of international trade and commerce.

What Purpose Does It Serve?

When a United States business provides a Certificate of Free Sale with an international shipment of commodities or merchandise, it establishes that they are freely marketed and legally sold in the U.S. This provides reassuring confirmation to a foreign government that the item is safe for use or consumption, it won't harm its citizens, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not have any unresolved enforcement actions pending against the manufacturer.

Can I Get an Online Free Sale Certificate?

In years past, CFS and other documentation for shipping exports had to be obtained in writing by submitting physical records to regulatory authorities. The streamlined process provided by Swiftdox provides a platform to issue certificates of free sale online. If your company is based in the United States, you can apply for a number of different export documents online:

  • Certificate of Free Sale (CFS)
  • Certificate of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
  • Certificate of Origin (CO or COO)

Just submit the free sale application and verify documentary requirements before also uploading them to the Swiftdox platform. Certificates are issued through Swiftdox's network of Chamber of Commerce partners.

International trade plays an important part in the global economy. The Swiftdox simplified process supplies an effective, advanced tool to U.S. manufacturers and exporting entities.

US companies can now apply for export certificates through https://swiftdox.ftgs.us/login/ with any of our partner chambers that issue them with the ability to request Apostille or Legalization service:

For questions, contact us at sam@ftgs.us or call 855-263-2231.

What Products Require CFS Documentation?

Typically, a certificate of export is attached to shipments of seafood, dietary supplements, food items, and infant formulas. Dairy foods, food additives, and agricultural products, including meat products, also need an additional certificate.

Certificates of Free Sale are required by a foreign governing agency for a wide range of consumer products:

  • Cosmetics
  • Personal care
  • Pet foods and pet products
  • Medical foods, including amino acids and also, includes Vitamins
  • Biologics
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Veterinary medicines or animal drugs
  • Medical devices

Why Is a Certificate of Free Sale Required?

The  U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates certain items produced in the U.S. When foreign countries import them, the merchandise must also meet the rules of these governments.

Laws in both the country of origin and the destination country govern international commerce. For example, U.S. government agencies such as the FDA and Agriculture Department control dietary supplements, food additives, and agricultural products. The FDA also oversees medical devices.

When those products are exported, the receiving country's regulations must also be followed. When registering or renewing product registration with a foreign country, exporters must obtain a CFS before goods can be shipped to the foreign governments.

Many countries require a CFS. Even more, now request it to accompany Certificates of Origin and other documents for shipments to clear international customs.

Which Countries Require Certificates of Free Sale?

These days, almost every country requires an accompanying CFS with shipments or sales transactions. Sometimes, the sale of each product mandates documentation, including a Certificate of Free Sale and Certificate of Origin, to meet the importing country's regulations.

Who Can Issue Export Certificates?

Since various U.S. agencies handle Certificates of Free Sale for particular industries, companies involved in exporting goods can choose where to obtain CFS documentation:

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • State governments
  • Chambers of Commerce

What Is the Cost and Timeline for a Certificate of Free Sale?

Agencies or organizations that issue certificates of free sale each have specific regulations. Exporters must submit the requested information on physical or electronic documents:

  • A written declaration from the particular manufacturer that the products are made in the U.S. This written declaration must be on company letterhead.
  • Two invoices showing each product was sold in the United State to two separate persons. The name and U. S. address of the customer must be included on every invoice and dated within the last 12 months.
  • Products must be named on the invoices at least 80% the same as they appear on the certificate. Multiple products may be listed on a single certificate, but invoices showing a sale are required for each product.

You can apply for a certificate of free sale by creating your company profile and applying for the certificate at the same time. You need a business license issued fewer than 12 months ago for company profile approval. For the certificate, submit a request form accompanied by the documents listed above.

Creating your company profile is free. The non-refundable cost of one certificate varies, depending on if you are a chamber member or not. Membership is not necessary to apply for a certificate of free sale or any export certificate.

How Much Time Does It Take To Issue a CFS?

You can now get your export certificates such as Certificate of Free Sale within a day on the Swiftdox online platform, what used to take days can now be completed in an amazing timeline with the ability to request Apostille or legalization service.

The timeframe for receiving your CFS or export documents varies by issuing institution, but 5-20 days is typical. Many export certificates, including free sale documentation, can be obtained within one or two business days maximum by using the revolutionary expedited service on Swiftdox online platform that streamlines the process.

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