An automated system at the Food and Drug Administration now allows food exporters to file electronically for Certificates of Free Sale, also known as export certificates.

The system is part of the FDA’s Unified Registration and Listing Systems, according to a news release from the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The certificates had previously been available only in hard-copy form and had to be mailed to applicants.

The automated system should greatly reduce the amount of time involved in obtaining the certificates by allowing exporters to create accounts, apply for new certificates or modify existing ones. The system will also allow exporters to check the status of pending applications.

Exporters will still be able to apply for and receive hard copy certificates via mail. To apply for certificates online, visit