Shipping Electronics

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates radio frequency devices contained in electronic/electrical products that are capable of emitting radio frequency energy by radiation, conduction, or other means. As a general rule, such products need to demonstrate FCC compliance through one of the applicable FCC Equipment Authorization (EA) procedures, i.e., Verification, Declaration of Conformity, or Certification. Electronic and electrical products that are marketed and used in the United States are required to be tested, documented, and managed for continued compliance. The approval procedure varies depending on the type of electrical device you have.

A radio-frequency device may be considered to be anything that is electronic, battery-operated, or capable of sending, receiving, or interfering with radio signals. Examples include radio and TV receivers, computers, converters, transmitters, microwave ovens, industrial heaters, and ultrasonic transceivers. For more information on the FCC guidelines, visit the U.S. Federal Communications Commission website. Typically the U.S. FCC Form 740 is required to ship electronics, however, at the time that this article is written the FCC is considering a proposal to permanently discontinue this requirement.

Radio frequency devices may be imported only if one or more of following conditions are met:

  1. The radio frequency device has been issued an equipment authorization by the FCC.  The equipment has been approved per the required equipment authorization procedure (Certification, Verification, or Declaration of Conformity) for the device being imported.
     
  2. The radio frequency device is not required to have an equipment authorization, and the device complies with FCC technical administrative regulations. For example, products containing only digital logic that are exempt under Section 15.103.
     
  3. The radio frequency device is being imported in quantities of 4,000 or fewer units for testing and evaluation to determine compliance with the FCC Rules and Regulations, product development, or suitability for marketing. The devices will not be offered for sale or marketed.
    • Prior to importation of a greater number of units, written approval must be obtained from the Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC; and
    • Distinctly different models of a device and separate generations of a particular model under development are considered to be separate devices.
       
  4. The radio frequency device is being imported in limited quantities for demonstration at industry trade shows, and the device will not be offered for sale or marketed. The phrase “limited quantities,” in this context means:
    • 200 or fewer units, provided the product is designed solely for operation within one of the Commission's authorized radio services for which an operating license is required to be issued by the Commission; or 10 or fewer units for all other products. (Includes all unlicensed Part 15, Part 18 and Part 95 equipment.)
    • Prior to importation of a greater number of units than shown above, written approval must be obtained from the Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC. (To request approval, see KDB Publication 741304.)
    • Distinctly different models of a product and separate generations of a particular model under development are considered to be separate devices.
       
  5. A radio frequency device is being imported solely for export. The device will not be marketed or offered for sale in the United States, except:
    • If the device is a foreign standard cellular phone solely capable of functioning outside the United States
    • If the device is a multi-mode wireless handset that has been certified under the Commission's rules and a component (or components) of the handset is a foreign standard cellular phone solely capable of functioning outside the United States.
       
  6. The radio frequency device is being imported for use exclusively by the United States Government.
     
  7. Three or fewer radio receivers, computers, or other unintentional radiators as defined in Part 15, are being imported for the individual's personal use and are not intended for sale.
     
  8. The radio frequency device is being imported for repair and will not be offered for sale or marketed.
     
  9. The radio frequency device is a medical implant transmitter inserted in a person or a medical body-worn transmitter as defined in Part 95, granted entry into the United States, or is a control transmitter associated with such an implanted or body-worn transmitter; provided, however that the transmitters covered by this provision otherwise comply with the technical requirements applicable to transmitters authorized to operate in the Medical Device Radiocommunication Service (MedRadio) under Part 95. Such transmitters are permitted to be imported without the issuance of a grant of equipment authorization only for the personal use of the person in whom the medical implant transmitter has been inserted or on whom the medical body-worn transmitter is applied.
     
  10. Three or fewer portable earth-station transceivers, as defined in Section 25.129, are being imported by a traveler as personal effects and will not be offered for sale or lease in the United States.