Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What does my company have to do?
ECIA recently published updated 2D barcode labeling specifications. Many of the top ECIA distributors are already using the new formats, and all others have announced their intention to adopt the ECIA 2D formats. The specifications were revised through a collaborative effort of the ECIA community so suppliers can use common standardized formats for all their trading partners.

Suppliers to these ECIA distributors must certify their 2D barcode labels prior to using them. Identification Labs, the testing division of Bar Code Graphics, is administering the certification process. Suppliers will register for testing with Identification Labs for the purpose of verifying that their labels are in compliance with the ECIA specifications. Distributors will have access to their suppliers’ certification status and test activity. Centralizing the certification process removes redundant processes for both suppliers and distributors.

What is involved registering my company for the certification process?

The registration process provides your company with access to the certification portal and identifies what type of testing needs to be completed.

As part of registration, your company will identify a primary testing contact. This contact will be responsible for coordinating testing and receive all relevant communications. Another crucial component to the registration process is the identification of ship point locations. 2D barcode certification is required for each ship point and a supplier is deemed APPROVED once all of their ship point locations are certified.

When registering, suppliers need to identify all of the distributors they do business with and have their Supplier IDs for those distributors. Please visit the Get Started page which describes the process in more detail.

How does a supplier certify a label or pack slip?

Once a supplier is registered and has indicated which distributors they do business with, the testing site will identify which formats need to be tested.

Suppliers will then be able to register a test. When registering a test, suppliers will indicate the label format and ship point that the test is for. Physical sample labels and packing slips are required for certification testing. Suppliers will have the option to submit digital samples directly through the testing portal but only encodation and format can be evaluated. The optional digital sample evaluation will enable suppliers to validate these aspects without the added cost of freight. However, suppliers must submit physical samples to Identification Labs (Bar Code Graphics) for certification. Samples that meet the minimum ECIA specifications will be deemed compliant.

How does a supplier become APPROVED?
A supplier is approved once all formats for all supplier ship points have been certified.
What are the fees for certification?

Fees for digital submissions are $50 for ECIA members and $75 for non-members.

Fees for physical submissions are $100 ECIA members and $150 for non-members.

A submission is considered one label format from one ship location. The online testing portal accepts credit card payment for digital evaluations. Physical evaluations can be paid with either credit card or a check from a US bank.

What role does Identification Labs (Bar Code Graphics, Inc.) play in this process?

Bar Code Graphics is an identification and barcoding specialist. Our testing division, Identification Labs, provides barcode testing and certification services. We work with companies of all sizes from a variety of industries, and have experience implementing new labeling requirements to a supplier community.

Identifications Labs assisted in drafting the ECIA barcoding specifications and is administering ECIA 2D Barcode certification. Our company can assist with technical assistance for specification questions, and can offer hardware and software recommendations specific to 2D barcoding.

My ECIA 2D Labels were previously certified. Am I required to submit samples to Identification Labs?

Identifications Labs also worked with Digi-Key to test labels for some Digi-Key suppliers. Suppliers who tested labels with IDL as part of the Digi-Key program still need to register under the ECIA program. Once a supplier is registered, their Digi-Key testing records will be reviewed to determine what testing needs to be completed.

What is the timeline for 2D barcode certification?

Distributors are in various phases of adoption of the 2D barcode labeling. If you have questions about the specific implementation deadline for a certain distributor, please contact them directly.

I tested my labels directly with an ECIA Distributor. Are those results valid for all of ECIA?

Some testing done with Digi-Key was confirmed to be compliant with current ECIA 2D Specifications. Certification samples that met this criteria have been integrated into the ECIA 2D barcode testing portal. If you certified labels through the Digi-Key and Bar Code Graphics program but they are not appearing when you register, please contact Bar Code Graphics.

Other testing has not been confirmed to be ECIA compliant. Suppliers will need to test through the ECIA designated process.

Testing Process
My company has multiple shipping locations. Are we required to submit samples from each location?
Yes, variations in software, processes, printers, and even environment can impact label formatting and print quality. To ensure that each location is providing compliant labels, each supplier ship point location must certify label and packing slip samples.
Am I required to certify product, intermediate product, logistic, and packing slip label formats?
Formats required for certification will depend on the distributors your company ships product to. Some distributors do not utilize all formats and so those formats are not required. The formats required for testing will be identified as part of the registration process.
Can I submit a digital sample for review?
Yes, suppliers have the option of submitting digital samples for review prior to sending in physical samples. Digital samples are evaluated for proper data content, barcode formatting, and label formatting. Digital samples have the benefit of saving time and money over mailing physical samples for review, but because dimensions and print quality cannot be reviewed on a digital sample, a digital sample cannot be used for final certification.
What factors are being evaluated for label approval?
The certification process reviews data content, barcode formatting, barcode dimensions, and ISO/ANSI barcode print quality. Digital review only covers the data and formatting aspects. Physical review covers all aspects.
Where do I send physical samples for certification?

Before sending in samples, the submission must be registered at A physical test submission form will be emailed for each registration. Suppliers need to print out the form and send it with the physical samples.

Physical samples should be sent to:

        Bar Code Graphics, Inc.
        Attn: Identification Labs –ECIA Testing
        65 East Wacker Place  Suite 1800
        Chicago, IL 60601

Please note physical samples, which are not accompanied by a registered submission form, will not be processed.

If my label sample fails testing, what information is provided?
Digital images of all provided samples will accompany every test result. Furthermore, all results provide a breakdown of each necessary data element. If there is a data or format related problem, detailed information is shown to illustrate the issue. For barcode related problems, an ISO/ANSI barcode verification report is provided noting the non-compliant issue(s).
My label failed testing. How do I submit an updated label?
To submit a corrected label sample, a new submission must be registered at For any failed tests, registration links are provided with the results.
My digital sample was approved by Identification Labs. What’s my next step?
Your next step is to register and submit a physical sample. Links to register are provided with the results. Submission forms that must accompany the physical samples are provided once the test is registered.
My physical label was approved by Identification Labs. What’s my next step?

The distributors selected during the initial registration process will be notified once a supplier becomes approved. Once a supplier is approved, it is expected they will begin to implement the new formats. Suppliers are encouraged to re-certify label formats if hardware or software is altered after approval.

What is the turnaround time for test results?
Results for digital samples are provided within 48 hours of receipt by Identification Labs. Results for physical samples are provided within 72 hours.
What format do I need to test for labels that have more than one variation?

All four label formats (Product, Intermediate, Logistic, Pack Slip) have variations or sub-formats. For example, the Logistics label has an ECIA 2D/Linear format, and 2D Only format, and a Mixed Format. The differences between these are covered in detail in the ECIA 2D Barcode Specifications.

Suppliers are responsible for selecting and certifying the correct formats based on their packaging and distributor requirements. The “Distributor Specific” instructions, accessible once a supplier is logged in, display the specific formats required and accepted by the distributors.

ECIA Specifications
Where are the ECIA specifications located?
ECIA 2D Barcode Labeling Specification for Product and Shipment Identification are available to suppliers on this testing portal after registering, and are also hosted on the ECIA’s website.
Do all ECIA distributors follow the ECIA specifications?
Yes, the ECIA Specifications have been created in collaboration with the major ECIA distributor members. Some distributors have more specific or more open requirements for certain data fields or label formats. When suppliers register at and identify the distributors they work with, a listing of all applicable distributor specific instructions is provided.
What is the difference between a Required field and an Optional field?

For each label format, the Required fields are the fields that should always be present. These are the base level of data that the ECIA and participating distributors have determined are necessary for proper processing and identification.

Each label format also has a number of Optional fields. These have a number of factors that determine if they should be included on a label or not. Details on each field are covered in the ECIA 2D Barcode Specifications.

One intention of listing these optional fields is to convey to suppliers that some fields required for non-ECIA purposes (for example supplier internal use or regulatory purposes) may be incorporated into the 2D barcode labeling.

Some of my products do not have a Lot Code. Should I leave this field blank on the labels and barcodes?
When a data field is omitted, it is best practice to also omit the data identifier and barcode. A data identifier without corresponding data might cause disruptions for some distributors
Is the Lot Code a required field?
Yes, the Lot Code is a required field. It may only be omitted if the product being marked is not tracked by Lot Code.
Technical Issues
Is RoHS compliance marking on labels mandatory?
ECIA labeling allows for RoHS and other compliance indicators. Companies should refer to the relevant regulations to determine what compliance marking is required for their packaging.
Can Mojibake data be appended at the end of the 2D character string?
To satisfy some non-US suppliers, whose systems need to append extra data to prevent mojibake issues, the data identifier “99Z” followed by filler data can be used. All ECIA distributor systems will ignore extraneous data as long as it is formatted within the ANSI MH 10 standards.
Is there a way to check the data encodation of the 2D barcode symbol?
We created an ECIA 2D Barcode Decoder as part of the testing portal, so suppliers can validate the data in their 2D barcodes before submitting label samples to our testing department. Only registered companies can access the online decoder tool. A barcode imager capable of reading 2D barcodes is required to use the decoder. The imager must also be configured to output control characters using special syntax.

If you are using your own equipment, please review hardware documentation. Bar Code Graphics does provide pre-configured imagers.
What syntax is required for the ECIA 2D barcode decoder tool?

There are special formatting characters used in the 2D data structure that are non-printable characters and cannot be directly represented in text. To work around this, the decoder tool relies on special text strings to represent the non-printable characters. Required syntax is as follows – note that the quotations marks are not included, but the brackets are:

  • Group Separator represented using the text string “[GS]”
  • Record Separator represented using the text string “[RS]”
  • End of Transmission represented using the text string “[EOT]”