Department of Health Export Certificates
Export Certification is required by WAC 246-282-082 and associated fees are listed under WAC 246-282-990.
Department of Health shellfish export certificates can be requested online. The cost for each export certificate is $55, which is billed monthly. You must have a current Washington Shellstock Shipper or Shucker-Packer license to export shellfish. Export certificate requests are processed during business hours, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and must be received by 4:00 p.m. in order to be processed the same day. Applications submitted after 4:00 p.m. will be considered received at 8:00 a.m. the next business day. During business hours, certificates will be returned to applicants within 4 hours of submission. Our office is closed on state holidays and will not issue export certificates until the following business day.
Learn more about Department of Health export certificates.
Export Certificate Online Application System
Account Registration Instructions for Shellfish Export Certificate (PDF)
Application System User Guide for Shellfish Export Certificate (PDF)
Payment Guide Instructions for Shellfish Export Certificate (PDF)
Register for a Secure Access Washington Account (PDF)
NOAA Export Certificates
Shellfish companies exporting product using NOAA certificates and already enlisted in the NOAA Inspection Program have the option to request NOAA export certificates from the Department of Health. Export certificate requests must be received by 4:00 p.m. in order to be processed the same day. Requests received after 4:00 p.m. will be processed the next business day. Certificates are only issued on regular business days, Monday through Friday, and must be picked up by 5:00 p.m.at our Town Center 1 office at 101 Israel Rd. S.E., Tumwater, WA 98501.
Contact us (or 360-236-3330) with any questions.
About Department of Health Export Certificates
What is a shellfish export certificate?
A shellfish export certificate is a document that accompanies shipments of shellfish (clams, mussels, oysters, geoduck) to countries outside of the U.S. The certificate lists information about the company shipping the shellfish, the type of shellfish in the shipment, the date and location where the shellfish were harvested, and the company that harvested the shellfish.
Why do I need an export certificate?
Export certificates satisfy the receiving country's requirement that shellfish shipped into their country are harvested by a legally licensed company from approved shellfish harvest areas. They provide assurance that the shellfish were harvested and handled in a sanitary manner. Shipments sent without export certificates may be refused by the receiving country.
Who issues export certificates?
The Department of Health's Shellfish Program issues export certificates to commercial shellfish companies licensed in Washington State.
Does the Department of Health issue export certificates for all overseas shipments?
No. We don't issue export certificates to European countries at this time. We only issue export certificates for countries that have formally communicated their export requirements to us. See shellfish areas cleared for geoduck export to China.
Who can get an export certificate?
You must have a current Department of Health shellstock shipper or shucker packer license to be issued an export certificate.
How do I get an export certificate?
Export certificate requests must be made through our Secure Access Washington online application system. Fax, mail, or other hard-copy requests are not accepted. The online application system is a secure site which requires a login and password. Follow these instructions for setting up an account and getting into the shellfish export application system (PDF).
Once you have setup your account and it is confirmed by our staff, you can log-in and access the Secure Access Washington shellfish export application system.
Your Application and Certificate
- The application must be complete and accurate.
- All approved certificates must be printed in color. We email your certificate to you, then you must print it with a color printer. Black and white certificates may be refused by the receiving country.
- Once an export certificate is issued, the only information that you can change is “Total Containers,” “Total Marked Weight,” and “Count Lot Wt.” If you change any other information, the export certificate will not be valid and the receiving country may reject the shipment.
- On or after the harvest date, but prior to shipment, you or an authorized person from your company must sign the certificate where indicated.
- You must keep copies of certificates on file in your company's records for three years.
- If you don't use a certificate, you must mark it “Void - did not ship.” These voided certificates must also be kept on file in your company's records for three years.
- Approved certificates are non-refundable.
- Your company must be the one shipping the product, and your company is responsible for the shipment. You cannot have another company complete and submit the application for you.
- The company harvesting the shellfish must have a current Washington Department of Health commercial shellfish operation license. We only issue export certificates for product harvested in Washington State. Shellfish product regulated by Washington Department of Health includes clams, mussels, oysters, and geoduck. We cannot approve export certificates for product our agency does not regulate.
- Shellfish can only be harvested from growing areas that are approved and open for harvest on the day the harvest takes place.
- We accept applications up to 5 days in advance of the harvest date. The system will not accept a harvest date that is more than 5 days from the request date upon attempt to submit.
- Our business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Applications submitted after 4:00 p.m. will be considered received at 8:00 a.m. the next business day.
If the application is complete and accurate, we will issue an export certificate and email or mail it to you based on the email you registered with Secure Access Washington and DOH shellfish staff.
Can I apply for more than one export certificate at a time?
Yes. However, only 6 lines of product are allowed on each certificate.
I have an export certificate I'm ready to use, but one of the growing areas listed on it suddenly closed. Can I still use the certificate?
No. If this happens, you can't cross that growing area off the certificate. You must request and receive a new certificate with the closed growing area removed from it. If the certificate with the closed growing area(s) has been approved (prior to growing area closure), you will be billed for the certificate but must mark “Void - did not ship” and keep it on file in your company's records for three years. You must request a new certificate without the closed growing area(s) and will be billed.
What if I need to edit, change, or cancel a certificate after I have submitted it?
Call us at 360-236-3330 and ask for shellfish export certification staff, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to communicate your request. If the incorrect or unwanted certificate has already been approved, you will be billed for the certificate but must mark “Void - did not ship” and keep it on file in your company's records for three years. If needed, you must then request a new certificate and will be billed. If the certificate has not yet been approved, staff may re-direct the certificate to you by changing the certificate status to “Needs Additional Information,” or the staff may make the change(s) or cancel the certificate with your permission. You will not be billed for canceled certificates.
How much do export certificates cost, and when do I pay for them?
Each export certificate costs $55. We will send you a detailed invoice at the end of the month that shows the total amount you owe. You must pay that amount within 30 days. If your account becomes 60 days past due, we will not issue any more certificates to your company and you will lose system access until you bring your account current.
What else do I need to know?
- Unless a change or cancellation is made prior to DOH approval, you will be billed for all approved certificates. Certificates not used will not be refunded or credited to your account.
- All communication regarding export certificates should be directed to the main office contacts of 360-236-3330 or email@example.com. Sending time sensitive questions and requests to individual staff isn't preferred since staff who handle export certificates rotates daily and individual staff could be out of the office and unable to respond.
- Approved export certificates will be sent directly from the online system upon approval by DOH staff, and are delivered from the firstname.lastname@example.org email address. You can reply directly to that email if you have questions or concerns, or call 360-236-3330.
- Sign up for email updates: Subscribe to Commercial Shellfish Licensing and Certification Information