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How to create a new COI Certificate of Inspection
If you intend to import an organic product into the European Union you will have to comply with EU "European Union (Members of the EU plus Andorra, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland)" legislation and in particular both organic and general food legislation.
Importers and Consignees (inside the EU, EEA and Switzerland) and exporters and producers (in the third countries) of organic products must register with a control body or control authority.
All consignments of organic products imported from countries outside the EU "European Union (Members of the EU plus Andorra, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland)" , excluding the European Economic Area or and Switzerland, must be accompanied by a certificate of inspection. The certificate can be initiated by the importer, the exporter or the exporter's control body.
This certificate then needs to be issued by the exporter's control body/authority. This is either:
- a control body recognized by the EU (see Commission Regulation (EU) No 1235/2008, Annex III and IV);
- OR the control authorities or control bodies authorised by a country recognised by the EU (see Commission Regulation (EU) No 2016/1842, Annex III);
The original certificate of inspection must be presented together with the imported organic products to the relevant Member State's authority. Usually it will be the authority at the point of entry, or the point from which you seek to release the goods for free circulation into the Union. The Certificate of inspection, Extract of the certificate of inspection are currently used.
Workflow of the creation of a new COI
Tip: During the creation of a Certificate of Inspection you can save it as DRAFT, and resume its completion on another occasion.
Tip: Please login using a valid organic importer, organic exporter or control body/authority (annex III or IV of Commission Regulation (EU) No 2016/1842) profile.
- In the upper-left menu, click Certificates and select COI from the list.
- Click the button Create new COI.
- A pop-up is shown, requesting you to select the commodities. You can either enter part of a commodity name in the search field, the commodities' CN code, or select it manually by searching the list of commodities. In order to select it, you need to click the tick box to the right of a commodity.
Click on Done when you finished selecting the commodities.
Note: You can select more than one commodity.
The electronic version of the Certificate of Inspection for import of products from Organic production into the European Union is displayed, providing you the following information tabs:
Certificate: where you need to enter the details of the certificate.
History icon: click here to view all previous statuses of this certificate and to see who accessed the certificate and competed which action.
Next to these two tabs, the following information is displayed:
Current status: this field shows the current status of the certificate
Next: shows the mandatory actions that need to be taken next.
- In box 1 of the electronic COI (corresponds to the entity signing the COI in box 18 in the paper version) choose the Issuing Body or Authority that is controlling the exporter.
You can type the name, or address in the Name field and a drop-down list is automatically shown with the results that match the data you have entered.
From the drop-down list, select the correct match making sure you choose the issuing body/authority that is controlling the exporter's country. You can see this information in the country code name, within the list results.
After you choose the Issuing body/authority from the list, the Name, Country and ISO Code are automatically filled in.
Additionally, you can use the Search to look for the Issuing body/authority that you want to enter. Click on Advanced> Advanced Search, choose the Country where the authority's address is or choose the Controlled Country by it. Click Search. Choose from the list and click on Select.
Note: The advance search in all other boxes works in the same way.
The box 2 applicable procedure is automatically selected to match your issuing authority/organic control body and cannot be changed manually.
Note: In box 3, the Certificate reference number is empty and will be automatically generated after submitting/issuing the certificate.
Tip: The National reference number (below box 3) can be used to add additional information, like a number or additional text up to a maximum of 250 characters. One can add several lines of National reference numbers to one certificate.
- In box 4, you need to select the exporter in the third country. You can type the exporter's business name in the Name field and a drop-down list is automatically shown with the results that match the data you have entered.
Select the organic exporter and its details are automatically completed.
You can Edit the details of the organisations (Issuing Body or Authority, exporter, importer, and First Consignee), Clear the list or run an Advanced search. If you cannot find the first consignees', importers' or exporters' data in the system, you can create the new entry from the relevant box inside the COI certificate.
When using the advanced search option :
Perform a search for the name of the operator, so the "Create a new operator" button to become available:
Clicking on this opens a new window, where the new operator's details can be provided:
Make sure that all mandatory information is provided and click the "save" button.
The operator is saved in the TRACES NTdatabase with status "New", but in order to select it in your certificate, click the "select" button:
The new operator is then added to the certificate:
Alternatively you can enter its details via the "Organisations" menu, before issuing a certificate. Please consult more information about the creation of operators here.
Note: Note: Here you can add an exporter with the status "new" or "valid". However, the Issuing body needs to validate this operator, before the COI is issued.
Tip: Tip: If you are an organic exporter, this field is automatically completed with your companies' details.
- From this point onwards you can Save the COI as Draft. This means the certificate is saved and you can still edit it at a later moment.
Note: Please note that a draft is only visible for the user who saved it and their colleagues (who have a valid TRACES NT profile with the same role). The issuing body of the exporter will not be able to see a draft in TRACES NT that has been created by an importer. The DRAFT COI will have a DRAFT reference number, which is replaced by the official COI reference number once the Certificate has been submitted to or signed by the Issuing Body
Boxes 5 and 6 cannot be edited, the information is automatically displayed, when the producer and their control body/authority are entered in Box 13 (Description of products)
- In box 7. Country of origin, use the drop-down to select one or more countries from where the product originates.
Note: It is not permitted to enter several countries of origin, if there is only one consignment from one producer – although TRACES NTdoes not prevent you from doing so.
- The box 8. Country of export is automatically populated by the system to match your selection in box 4. exporter. However, this field is still editable.
- Specify in box 9. the Country of clearance / Point of entry and city for this consignment.
Note: The list of Border Control Posts (BCP) that can be selected in box 9 has been provided by the Member States. Only BCPs that have been selected by the Central Competent Authority (CCA) in the country of clearance can be selected in this box. If you cannot find the BCP you are looking for, please contact the CCA in the country of clearance for advice.
Specify in box 11 the Importer.
Tip: This field can be edited in the same way as box 4.
If you are an organic importer the Importer's field is completed automatically, matching the profile and role you used to login into the application.
- In case the commodity is destined to go to one single operator as a first consignee you may enter the details of the First Consignee in the Union, in box 12. This field can be edited in the same way as box 4 or 11.
In case the consignment is handled for the organic importer by a Responsible for the load - RFL (freight forwarding company/Customs forwarding agents), this RFL needs to be mentioned in the respective box:
If the box is left empty, no RFL has access to the certificate. However, information can be added to the box at a later stage. Who can update this COI depends on the status of the certificate.
- In the Description of products box 13, you can enter the commodity's trade name, the lot number, number of packages (mandatory), and its net weight (mandatory) including the unit measure and type of packaging. It is also mandatory to select here the producer (or processor) of the commodity and their certifier.
Note: The Commodities are already completed to match the selection you made in the pop-up at the 3rd step further up on this page.
- You can add one or more new products by clicking on "add commodity" or delete the existing one by clicking on "remove commodity".
In case you have several commodities falling under the same CN code, you can also add more rows within one CN code by clicking the "+" button - or the drop down arrow next to it:
- Choose the Producer and their control body/authority by clicking the "Select" button below "Producer" and "Certified by".
Note: Entering the details of the First consignee is not mandatory at this point and doesn't need to be completed at all if the load is supposed to be split into batches at a larger stage. When starting the COI, the option "to first consignee" is automatically selected.
The option can be changed to "to be released in batches at this point ora at a later stage in the workflow. Who can update a COI depends on the status of the certificate.
The Country of destination in box 10 will be automatically filled in matching your choice at this point. If you chose to release the load in batches and therefore keep box 12 empty, the country of destination in box 10 will be left empty.
Note: If the producer is identical to the exporter in box 4, the control body is automatically set as the same organization as the issuing body in box 1. However, you can change the control body/authority for the producer, in case this activity of the operator is controlled by a different control body/authority
- Boxes 14./15. allow you to enter the Seal and Container numbers.
You can add one or more Seal and Containers numbers or clear all. The Container number format should include 4 capital letters, of which the last one is a "U, J or Z" proceeded by 7 digits.
- In the mandatory box 16. enter the Total gross weight for the consignment and its weight unit.
- You may add a Means of Transport, and enter its details: type, identification and international transport document.
Note: This is optional for TRACES NT, as the exact means of transport is not always known, when the COI is initiated or issued, but please make sure that the information isn't required in the country of entry or destination.
- You can attach supporting documents that need to be presented together with the certificate itself.
Click Add Accompanying Document and choose the type. The application will automatically display a few mandatory fields to be completed.
After saving you can still Edit the document or add another.
Tip: As a user participating in the certificate's workflow (as Importer/Exporter, RFLResposible for the Load, IBIssuing Body or BCPEndorsing Authority for Organic Certification) you can still add or delete Accompanying documents for COIs that have the statuses: SUBMITTED, ISSUED or ENDORSED.
Note: attaching supporting documents is not mandatory according to the regulation, but make sure that the COI are accepted at the point of entry, if the files are not attached.
- If you are the exporter or the importer and you are sure, you completed all mandatory information, click on Submit for Certification:
Your certificate has now been submitted to the issuing body (Box 1) for issuing and its status is "Description completed".
If you are the issuing body and you completed box 1-17, the "submit for certification" button is not available. Please continue on How to issue a COI.
Note: A few boxes can still be edited after the COI was, for example by the importer. For details, please check how to update information in a COI
The COI number is visible at the top of the certificate page.
You can preview the certificate in PDF format. And print from the PDF viewer, when needed.
Several languages can be selected. Clicking the Print PDF icon will open the document
At the bottom of the PDF, the languages of the print version, the certificate's URL and a continuous page numbering are displayed – the PDF version of this certificate is only valid, if all the 8 pages in all 4 languages are presented at the same time.
There are two possibilities leading to the submission of a new COI certificate:
- 1) An importer has completed the boxes 1-17 and has submitted the COI to the issuing body/authority indicated in box 1.
A user attached to this issuing body/authority receives a notification from TRACES NT that a certificate has been submitted and needs to be validated.
- 2) The user working for the CB/CA of the exporter/importer mentioned in box 4 completes boxes 1 -17 as described above.
In both those cases, the CB/CA user needs to complete part II: issuing a COI.
If the COI is started by the CB/CA user, the COI reference in box 3 is only attributed at the time when the COI is issued.