Approval Guide

Overview

Radio Frequency (RF) devices are required to be properly authorized under 47 CFR Part 2 prior to being marketed or imported into the United States.  The Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) administers the equipment authorization program under the authority delegated to it by the Commission.  This program is one of the principal ways the Commission ensures that RF devices used in the United States operate effectively without causing harmful interference and otherwise comply with the Commission’s rules.  All RF devices subject to equipment authorization must comply with the Commission’s technical requirements prior to importation or marketing. 

Equipment that contains an RF device must be authorized in accordance with the appropriate procedures specified in Part 2, Subpart J as summarized below (with certain limited exceptions).  These requirements not only minimize the potential for harmful interference, but also ensure that the equipment complies with the rules that address other policy objectives – such as human RF exposure limits and hearing aid compatibility (HAC) with wireless handsets.

The Commission has three different approval procedures for equipment authorization, and the specific procedure to be followed is based on the type of equipment being authorized.

Obtaining an Equipment Authorization

The following steps summarize the process to obtain the required equipment authorization for your product (device):

Step 1 – Determine if device is a Radio Frequency (RF) device subject to the FCC rules.

  • If a device is subject to FCC rules, determine the specific type of equipment authorization that applies to the device.  Become familiar with all the basic marketing, equipment authorization, and importation rules. In some instances, a device may have different functions resulting in the device being subject to more than one type of approval procedure.

Step 2 – Determine all applicable technical and administrative rules that apply to the device requiring an equipment authorization.

The technical requirements are generally specified in the applicable FCC rule parts and the administrative rules are specified in Part 2, Subpart J.

    NOTE – Determining all applicable technical and administrative rules requires a technical understanding of the electrical functions of the device and an understanding of the FCC rules.  For assistance, we recommend that you work with one of the Accredited Testing Laboratories or TCBs.  Questions can also be submitted through the Knowledge Database (KDB).

Step 3 – Perform the required tests to ensure the device complies with the applicable technical requirements (as determined in Step 2).

The type of testing facility (laboratory) used to demonstrate compliance is based on the required approval procedure.

Verification
Equipment approved using the Verification procedure is required to be tested, however, it is not required to use a FCC Recognized Testing Laboratory. The test laboratory used is required to maintain a record of the measurement facilities as specified in Section 2.948.

Declaration of Conformity
Equipment approved using the DoC procedure is required to be tested by an FCC Recognized Accredited Testing Laboratory. The Commission maintains a list of the FCC Recognized Accredited Testing Laboratories.

Certification
Equipment approved under the Certification procedure is required to be tested by an FCC Recognized Testing Laboratory as follows:

  • Prior to July 13, 2017, either an FCC Listed Testing (Section 2.948 Listed) Laboratory or an FCC Recognized Accredited Testing Laboratory.
  • After July 13, 2017, all equipment approved under the Certification procedure is required to be tested by an FCC Recognized Accredited Testing Laboratory.

Step 4 – After the testing is complete and your device is found to be in compliance, finalize the approval process based on the applicable approval procedure:

Verification

  • The responsible party, as specified in the rules, warrants that each unit of equipment complies with the applicable FCC rules.
  • The responsible party maintains all of the required documentation demonstrating compliance with the applicable FCC rules.

Declaration of Conformity

  • The responsible party prepares a compliance information statement to be supplied with the product at the time of marketing.
  • The responsible party maintains all of the required documentation demonstrating compliance with the applicable FCC rules.

Certification

  • The responsible party, typically the manufacturer, obtains an FCC Registration Number (FRN) for a device requiring Certification. The FRN is a 10-digit number used to identify the individual or organization doing business with the FCC. The same FRN will be used for future approvals.
  • After obtaining an FRN, the responsible party obtains a Grantee Code from the Commission by applying at the Grantee Registration website.  A grantee code is required the first time a party applies for certification, and can be used for all future approvals.
  • The responsible party files with a Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB) an application for a grant of certification.  An application for equipment authorization requires submission of information about the product, as listed in Section 2.1033. The applicant must submit the required information to a TCB for review as part of the certification process.

Step 5 – Label the product and provide the required customer information.

Step 6 – Maintain all documentation as part of the responsibility for retention of records and ensure that the manufactured products are in compliance.

  • Section 2.938 – General requirements for the retention of records of equipment subject to FCC approval.
  • Section 2.955 – Specific requirements for the retention of records of equipment subject to the Verification procedure.
  • Section 2.1075 – Specific requirement for the retention of records of equipment subject to the Declaration of Conformity procedure.

Step 7 – When importing products into the United States, follow the importation requirements and complete/file FCC Form 740.

Supporting Information
Testing Laboratories
Telecommunications Certification Bodies (TCB)
Equipment Authorization Databases

Bureau/Office: 

Updated: 
Wednesday, October 21, 2015