Prior to July 1, 2016, importers were required to file FCC Form 740, Section 2.1203 – General Requirement for Entry, and Section 2.1205 – Filing of Required Declaration, along with their customs entry documentation.
As of November 2, 2017, the requirement to submit a Form 740 has been eliminated, see FCC-17-93. Importation of radio frequency equipment still requires that the product: (1) Have the required FCC equipment authorization; (2) Is only being imported for evaluation purposes; (3) Is only being imported for demonstration at a trade show; or (4) Meets one of the conditions as permitted in Section 2.1204 (see Question 3 below).
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the conditions for importing radio frequency devices in the United States?
- What is the relationship between harmonization tariff schedule (HTS) codes and the FCC requirements?
- What are the responsibilities of importers for proof of an equipment authorization?
- If the equipment is in port and I just learned about FCC requirements what should I do?
- What options do I have if I am shipping small quantities of items that are not for sale?
- What should I do if I left my electronic device in a foreign hotel or I am returning goods I sent to an international trade show?
- What equipment labels are required for entry into the United States?
- How do I obtain a waiver of the quantity limitations as specified in the importation conditions: testing and evaluation or demonstration at industry trade shows, conditions 3 and 4 respectively (see FAQ 1)?
- Are there any filing requirements for imported devices?
See Part 2, Subpart K – Importation of Devices Capable of Causing Harmful Interference, for more information. Radio frequency devices may be imported only if one or more of following conditions are met:
- The radio frequency device has been issued an equipment authorization by the FCC. The equipment has been approved per the required equipment authorization procedure (e.g., Certification or Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC)) for the device being imported.
- 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.
- 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 (to request approval, see KDB Publication 741304); and
- Distinctly different models of a device and separate generations of a particular model under development are considered to be separate devices.
- 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:
- 400 or fewer units;
- 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.
- 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.
- The radio frequency device is being imported for use exclusively by the United States Government.
- Three or fewer radio frequency devices are being imported for the individual's personal use and are not intended for sale. Unless otherwise exempted, the permitted devices must be from one or more of the following categories:
- Unintentional radiator as defined in part 15 which may include radio receivers, computers or other Class B digital devices in part 15.
- Consumer ISM equipment as defined in part 18.
- Intentional radiators subject to part 15 rules only if they can be used in client modes as specified in Section 15.202.
- Transmitters operating under rules which required a station license as subscribers permitted under Section 1.903 and operated under the authority of an operator license issued by the Commission.
- The radio frequency device is being imported for repair and will not be offered for sale or marketed.
- 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.
- 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.
The Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes are used to identify products subject to tariff requirements. The FCC publishes a guidance to help importers and brokers to determine if a product is likely to be subject to FCC requirements, See: KDB Publication 997198. This guidance is only provided to help importers ensure that the product has been properly authorized and that a responsible party is identified. The mapping of the products under the HTS code and the FCC requirement is only approximate since they are intended for different purposes. An importer may want to contact the manufacturer or the exporter to ensure that the product has been properly authorized according to the FCC rules.
If requested, the ultimate consignee must be ready to provide to Customs and/or the FCC the specific equipment authorization documentation.
The documentation required depends on the equipment authorization procedure or procedures used:
- Supplier's Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) - The importer of record becomes the responsible party, and must be located within the United States and provide their name, address and telephone number or internet contact information as part of the compliance information for the end product documentation. The FCC has the right to request samples for inspection and submission of equipment for testing, and the test records as per the retention of records rules.
- Certification – The responsible party is the party to whom the grant of certification is issued. The importer can rely on the foreign manufacturer for obtaining a certificate (grant of certification). The FCC may request samples for certified equipment for FCC inspection. If compliance issues arise, the grantee will be required to address those, or the grant may be subject to revocation or withdrawal of the equipment authorization. Withdrawal would result in the item not being able to be imported, marketed, or sold in the United States.
The equipment cannot be imported into the United States. Options to remedy this situation are to return the equipment to the originating port, or obtain a proper equipment authorization. While the application for authorization is being processed, the imported equipment may be placed in a bonded warehouse, or moved to a duty free zone. After a proper equipment authorization has been obtained, the equipment can be imported.
The rules do not distinguish devices being imported for business or personal use and not for sale. The products must comply with the FCC requirements, unless subject to one of the exceptions identified as conditions (3) through (8) in FAQ 1.
Items not purchased overseas (personal items left behind or demonstrated overseas) that are being returned to the United States are technically re-importing goods that have previously been exported (or hand carried in the case of leaving a cell phone in a foreign hotel). They can be imported as returning personal goods.
KDB Publication 784748 provides guidance for labeling of equipment per FCC requirements.
To obtain a waiver of the number of products being imported, see the procedures given in KDB Publication 741304.
As of November 2, 2017, the requirement to file a Form 740 has been eliminated. As such there is no requirement to file information related to the importation of a RF device with the FCC. (See: FCC 17-93).