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Difference between a CE certificate and an EU Declaration of Conformity

24.01.2023

During the product certification process, there is sometimes confusion among market participants about the terms employed. For example, the terms CE certificate and Declaration of Conformity are often mixed up. In this article, we explain what is the difference between these two terms and why it is so important to know.

CE certificate

A CE certificate is not a formal declaration of conformity and therefore not sufficient to allow CE marking to be affixed the product or for the product to be placed on the market within the EU. The certificate and the test reports it lists can be included in the Technical Dossier as supporting evidence.

What information does a CE certificate contain?

A CE certificate consists of the following components:

  • The name and address of the applicant.
  • The name and address of the testing institution.
  • If the applicant is not the manufacturer: the name and address of the manufacturer.
  • The name of the product and the model tested.
  • The relevant standards employed during testing.
  • The certificate number.

EU Declaration of Conformity

An EU Declaration of Conformity (DoC) is a manufacturer’s written declaration, in which they declare that they take full responsibility for the product’s conformity to the relevant EU requirements (Guidelines/Regulations/Standards). By drawing up and signing a declaration of conformity, the manufacturer assumes responsibility for the conformity of the product.

Before the manufacturer can issue a declaration of conformity, they must first take a number of steps. Applying for a CE certificate may sometimes be one of those steps. In some cases, the product has to be assessed by a Notified Body. The Notified Body will then issue a CE or EU type examination certificate. The manufacturer must then still draw up an EU declaration of conformity.

To be allowed to affix a CE marking to the product and to be able to market the product lawfully within the EU, the manufacturer must therefore issue a Declaration of Conformity. Other documents that do not meet the requirements of a declaration of conformity, such as a ‘certificate of conformity’, ‘certificate of notification’, ‘registration certificate’ or ‘documentation assessment’, cannot replace the declaration of conformity.

What must a Declaration of Conformity include?

A declaration of conformity must include the following:

  • The name, serial number and model or type designation of the product.
  • The name and address of the manufacturer (or the name and address of their authorised representative).
  • The manufacturer’s liability statement.
  • If applicable, the details of the Notified Body that carried out the conformity assessment procedure.
  • A list of the standards and regulations (Directives/Regulations) with which the product complies.
  • The date and place the statement was made.
  • The full name, function and signature of the signatory

Summary of differences between CE Certificate and CE/EU Declaration of Conformity

Criteria CE Certificate CE/EU DoC
Applicant Manufacturer Manufacturer
Issued by Independent third party or testing laboratory Manufacturer
Contains Summary of obtained test results The manufacturer’s declared compliance
Enough to affix CE mark No (but can be part of Technical Files) Yes

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