CE Certificate of Conformity: A Complete Guide

Posted on 25 Comments

A CE Certificate of Conformity (CoC) essentially states that a certain product is compliant with one or more regulations, directives or standards. It also includes information about the conformity assessment performed, the issuing company, product information, and suppliers.

In theory, this certificate is issued based on the issuing company reviewing or creating certain documents. This includes test reports and technical files.

However, as I will explain in this guide, far from all documents titled ‘Certificate of Conformity’ are valid and based on an actual conformity assessment. In short, many of these documents are invalid and can result in your products being subject to a recall, fines, or other penalties.

Alternative terms

Certificate of Conformity documents can have the following titles:

  • CE Certificate
  • Attestation of Conformity
  • Verification of Conformity
  • Certificate of Compliance

Some service providers also refer to these as voluntary certificates.

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What is a CE Certificate of Conformity?

A CE Certificate of Conformity is a third-party-issued document stating that a certain product is compliant with one or more directives, regulations, and harmonized standards. In general, it also states that the issuing company has tested and reviewed the complementary documentation – which is the basis for issuing the Certificate of Conformity.

Some companies issue such certificates only based on reviewing existing test reports and the Declaration of Conformity.

However, some companies issue such certificates without conducting any review, which means that certificates without any compliance evidence exist. These are often used to trick importers into believing that a certain product is compliant – which can have terrible consequences.

Keep in mind that these documents are not mandatory, and do not replace or substitute the need for a Declaration of Conformity, test report, correct labelling, and technical documentation.

How much does a CE certificate of conformity cost?

My understanding is that companies charge around 200 USD for reviewing a test report and Declaration of Conformity, which forms the basis of the certificate. However, this does not factor in the lab testing fee.

It may also cost more if they are required to review the technical documentation.

What is the purpose of this document?

CE Certificate of Conformity serves as a confirmation that your products and their documentation are compliant. At least that’s what it’s supposed to mean. That being said, a CE Certificate of Conformity is not a replacement for a Declaration of Conformity (DoC), technical file, and valid lab test report.

That said, it is not necessarily mandatory to obtain a third-party-issued Certificate of Conformity. However, it is valuable to have a qualified partner manage to test and review the documentation. That way you can feel more confident that it’s been done correctly.

Again, this assumes that the service provider is legit and is not only selling such certificates – without conducting any form of review.

CE Certificate Conformity

CE Certificate of Conformity Summary

This information is often included in a Certificate of Conformity:

Registration/Report Number: The report or certificate number can be used to verify if the document is valid. All certificates have some sort of registration or report number.

Issuing Company: The company that issued the Certificate of Conformity, including their contact details, and address.

Certificate Holder: The company for which the certificate was issued. This is usually the importer or manufacturer which intends to sell the product.

Product Information: Product name, SKU, or model number. One certificate can sometimes cover more than one product.

Regulations/Directives/Standards: Summary of the regulations, directives, and standards to which the product is certified to confirm. Here are some examples:

  • EN 71-1
  • EN 71-2
  • EN 50581
  • EN 50065
  • EN 13637

Statement: Explains the basis for issuing the company. This is one example from a certificate issued by TUV Rheinland:

This certificate of conformity is based on the evolution of a sample of the above-mentioned product. Technical report and documentation are at the License Holder’s disposal. This is to certify that the tested sample is in conformity with all provisions of Annex I of Council Directive 2004/108/EC. This certificate does not imply an assessment of the production of the product and does not permit the use of a TUV Rheinland mark of conformity. The holder of the certificate is authorized to use this certificate in connection with the EC declaration of conformity according to a.m. Directive.

Signature: The certificate is usually signed, stamped, or both.

Certificates of Conformity Sample

Which products require a CE Certificate of Conformity?

In theory, a CE Certificate of Conformity could be issued for any product which requires CE marking. Here are a few examples:

  • Consumer electronics
  • Electrical equipment
  • Machinery
  • Toys
  • Children’s products with play features
  • Sunglasses
  • Other personal protective equipment
  • Medical devices

Notice that none of these actually require a voluntary certificate. Some may require an EC-type examination certificate, but that is a different type of document.

How do I obtain a CE Certificate of Conformity?

You can obtain a certificate of conformity from a third party, such as TUV Rheinland. That said, you’re more likely to receive a certificate of conformity from your supplier.

As mentioned, many of these documents are invalid and do not serve as any proof of compliance.

Fake Certificates of Conformity

A certificate of conformity is in principle a good concept. However, there are many companies out there (not including TUV Rheinland) that issue these certificates without any lab testing and document review taking place.

In short, some companies sell these certificates for products that lack test reports, technical documentation, and a Declaration of Conformity. The certificate is therefore issued based on nothing – but is still accepted by manufacturers and importers that don’t know better.

As mentioned, a certificate of conformity is not a substitute or replacement for the following:

How common are fake certificates?

We have conducted hundreds of supplier screenings in Asia, and elsewhere, in the last ten years. This procedure involves that we request and verifying compliance documents held by the supplier. We frequently receive certificates of conformity without any complementary lab test report or other support documents.


Personally, I think most non-EU suppliers simply don’t understand what the CE marking process means in practice. Some may genuinely believe that it’s only a matter of paying a fee for the sake of obtaining a certificate.


Fake certificates were also reported by the European Safety Federation in 2020 and 2021. I recommend that you read this article on fake certificates concerning medical devices and PPE.

How do I know if a CE Certificate of Conformity is valid?

TUV Rheinland, and other companies of good repute, generally offer databases where you can search and verify certificates and other documents. For example, the screenshot below is taken from the TUV Rheinland certificate database.

TUV Certificate Search

How can I check if a CE Certificate of Conformity is fake?

You can either search for the certificate number in a database or email the issuing company. You can also contact the issuing company by email. You can assume that the document is invalid if the issuing company cannot provide any method of verification.


That being said, the verification itself doesn’t prove that the certificate itself was issued based on an actual conformity assessment. You should therefore ask the issuing company and your supplier to provide supporting documents. Chances are that they don’t have any or that they will not disclose.

Reputation of issuing company

As such, the acceptance of CE certificates often comes down to the reputation of the issuing company. I would trust a certificate issued by TUV Rheinland or Intertek, but not necessarily one from a company I’ve never heard of before.

Why do some suppliers provide invalid or fake certificates?

Most likely because inexperienced importers keep falling for it. These certificates often look legit and official – and for some buyers, that’s enough to assume that the certificate they’ve received is all they need to ensure compliance.

I think it ultimately comes down to wishful thinking. Spending time and money on lab testing, certification, user manuals, and labelling is something many companies would rather avoid.

From their perspective, It sure would be great if a certificate of conformity could serve as a substitute or replacement for an expensive and time-consuming compliance process.

That said, there are no shortcuts, and it doesn’t matter how official a certificate may seem if it’s not based on testing and a review of the actual technical documentation.

What kind of risks do I face if we’re selling products based on an invalid CoC?

Products that are ‘certified’ based on nothing at all (other than payment) are potential safety hazards. Importing products without prior safety testing and mandatory documentation (e.g. DoC and technical files) can result in recalls and fines.

Further, I know for a fact that market surveillance authorities in some EU countries have categorically rejected certificate of conformity documents as acceptable substitutes for a proper DoC, test report, and technical file.

Importing products based on a CoC alone will therefore put both consumers and your business at risk.

What is the difference between a Certificate of Conformity and a DoC?

A Declaration of Conformity (DoC) is a document issued by the importer or manufacturer ‘placing the product on the market’. Issuing a DoC is mandatory when manufacturing or importing products that require CE marking.

A Certificate of Conformity on the other hand is issued by a third party.

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  • 25 Responses to “CE Certificate of Conformity: A Complete Guide

    1. Anas at 4:36 pm


      Is International Certification Bureau (ICB) legit to issue CE Mark certifications ?


    2. Anas at 3:18 am


      You exactly explain what I am facing now as a manufacturer !

      Is ICB ( https://icb-uk.com/ ) CE certificate legit ? I developed an Electronic energy logger, advanced one, and want to sell it in Europe and Mena region. While developing it, all the engineering tools, material, QA/QC used taken into consideration to meet Safety and UL94 requirements. Yet for testing lab and documents verification, I can not find any relevant institute to support with it. Please advise


      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 3:12 pm

        Hello Anas,

        I have not heard of them but that does not mean they are not a legit company.

        What is the certificate based on if a DoC and test report was not reviewed?

    3. Juan at 12:04 am

      Hi Fredrik,

      I wonder if an importer of metalworking machinery can base on a Declaration of Conformity (issued by the Chinese manufacturer) to import to the EU or if the importer needs the Certificate of Conformity issued by a third party.

      I have not found the answer in the post. Thanks!

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 9:51 pm

        Hi Juan,

        This is addressed in the Machinery Directive.

        In any case, a Declaration of Conformity alone is not sufficient as you also need to obtain and review the test reports and technical documentation, as well as labels.

    4. Joseph Camilleri at 11:24 pm

      I am in need of a CE Certificate for a boat
      Pursuit 2870 Walkaround 2006
      How can I obtain one Pls??

    5. Ravindra at 2:11 pm

      How to check given CE certificate is fake or ok?

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 9:55 pm

        Hi Ravindra,

        You can contact the issuing company for starters. That said, I suggest you read the article to better understand why many of these certificates are useless.

    6. Matthias Tockook at 7:37 am

      I need for my G80 3.3T Sport, VIN: KMHGN4JB3JU270336, a “Certificate of Conformity” as only the manufacturer of the car usually can provide. In Germany it is always needed to register a new car and therefor the manufacturer (Hyundai Motors) provides it automatically. This COC – Documentation, I now need to be able to take my 2018 G80 3.3T, registered in the US, from the US as part of the household goods to Germany in order to re-registered it in Germany legally. (TUV Requirement)

    7. Nelson Rodríguez Jaramillo at 5:17 pm

      Hi @Fredrik Gronkvist,

      Certificates of Conformity should be signed and stamped to be valid? specially for the Aviation Industry. Is there any literature about it?


      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 1:21 pm

        Hello Nelson,

        We don’t have any expertise concerning aviation certificates.

    8. Bhavik at 8:53 pm

      what is the list of certifications should I can ask for as a purchaser from the manufacturer of CE-marked products?

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 1:27 pm

        Hi Bhavik,

        That depends on the product type.

    9. Dorota at 8:23 pm

      Hi, quick question. So the certificate of conformity or compliance is the same thing? I read that compliance is when it comes to EU regulations and conformity is actual manufacturer regulations. Is that correct? I am asking in regard to importing PPE from China. Can you also tell me who should issue these documents? The manufacturer or the company selling goods should obtain these when the product arrives?

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 6:57 pm

        Hi Dorota,

        Compliance can mean many things, and it can involve certificates of various kinds.

        The issuing company depends on whether you are a manufacturer (by definition) or an importer. There is no answer that applies to all products and situations.

        1. Dorota at 8:42 pm

          So the company in china is a manufacturer of these products, and the company in Poland wants to purchase for retail. They’re not sure what certificates they should be requesting from the manufacturer. It’s in regard to riding helmets.

          1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 4:52 pm

            Hello Dorota,

            For starters they will not receive any certificates from their supplier, assuming they are not based in the EU already.

            They need to look into the PPE Regulation.

        2. SHEYLA CALDERON at 3:49 am

          Hi, same question here, I received an ” Verification of Compliance”” from the manufacturer, but Im not clear if this is considerer as an CE Certificate

          1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 9:50 pm

            Hello Sheyla,

            What kind of product does this concern?

    10. Isaac at 1:32 am

      respected sir/mam,

      I am an Amazon seller in the UK market place. I have been selling toys for 1 year, but right now Amazon is seeking an EC declaration of conformity certificate. So please guide me what I should have to do and how can I get the EC certificate.
      I really need you precious assistance or suggestions.

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 1:58 pm

        Hello Isaac,

        I suggest you read this guide: https://www.compliancegate.com/declaration-of-conformity/

    11. Niels Schilder at 10:16 pm

      @ Philip Walter Stevenson,
      It should be an “EC Declaration of Conformity” also known as a “CE Certificate” or a “CE Statement”. These are document names that are not the topic of this article and easily mistaken by many and also in this case with a name like: “CE Certificate of Conformity” by Frederik Gronkvist.

      @Frederik Gronkvist,
      The correct title for this article should be: “Certificate of Conformity: A Complete Guide”. As I mentioned above the terminology is wrong and a mistake is easily made.
      A “Certificate of Conformity” has a small difference with an “EC Declaration of Conformity”, what that is is a Declaration is made by the Manufacturer and the Certificate by a Third party. Because you mentioned the third party in your article it’s save for me to assume you are talking about the Certificate of Conformity and not the others.

      Different names for the Certificate of Conformity:
      Letter of Conformity
      also known as:
      Certificate of Conformance
      Certificate of Compliance
      Certificate of Origin

      Different names for the Declaration of Conformity:
      EC Declaration of Conformity
      CE Certificate
      CE Statement
      also known as:
      Declaration of Conformance
      Declaration of Compliance
      Declaration of Origin

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 6:23 pm

        Hello Niels,

        This article only concerns “Certificate of Conformity” documents, not the EC Declaration of Conformity. We have a separate guide on the DoCs.

    12. Philip Walter Stevenson at 12:32 am

      Should be a “CE Declaration of Conformity” not a “CE Certificate of Conformity”

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 11:19 am

        Hi Philip,

        I am fully aware of that.

        This guide is about Certificate of Conformity documents – which are provided by various third parties. This is explained in the article.

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