FCC label

FCC Certification

Your access to the US market

Market approval for devices with radio technologies in the USA

In order to obtain market approval for a device with radio technologies in the USA, each manufacturer must obtain FCC certification for the respective device. Certification in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) primarily means approval of devices with radio technologies in the USA. In order to make the certification process more efficient for manufacturers in and outside the USA, the FCC has designated Telecommunications Certification Bodies (TCBs) that have the authority to apply for and grant certification as part of the FCC approval process.

In November 2017, an updated FCC Authorization Program was presented, which was in a transition period until November 2, 2018. During this transition period both programs were valid.

A new authorization program for FCC certification for the US market has been in effect since November 2018.

View into the shielded hall for regulatory radio tests

Certification

Has to be assigned by an accredited and recognized FCC Laboratory

sDoC

Self declaration process – No FCC lab is required. The responsible party must be located in the US. A FCC Logo in FCC 15.19 is no longer mandatory.

A list of product groups for which the less complex sDoC procedure can be used can be found in FCC Rule Part 15.101. For all other product groups, the FCC certification procedure with an accredited and recognized FCC laboratory is mandatory.

Our services

We are accredited and recognized as an official laboratory by the FCC and are therefore able to perform all relevant regulatory tests necessary to start the FCC approval process. In addition to the necessary tests, our TCBs also enable us to offer you the certification process and thus a complete FCC approval from a single source.

Laboratory for EMC tests of emitted interference and noise resistance

Our accredited laboratories in North America and Europe have several approved TCBs and we offer testing and approval services according to all FCC standards. These include, among others:

  • FCC PART 22, 24 & 27 for GSM/WCDMA/LTE devices
  • FCC PART 15.247 for Bluetooth/WLAN 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz)
  • FCC PART 15.407 for WLAN 802.11 a/n/ac (5 GHz)
  • FCC part 15.245 (902-928 MHz band, ISM bands)
  • FCC PART 15.225 for RFID (13.56 MHz)
  • FCC PART 25 for devices for satellite communication
  • FCC PART 90
  • FCC PART 95
  • HAC tests according to FCC requirements
  • DFS tests for equipment operating within the 5.25-5.35 GHz and 5.47-5.725 GHz frequencies. (FCC PART 15 subpart E)
  • SAR tests according to FCC requirements

Expertise FCC Certification

What are the components of an FCC certification application?

For unlicensed devices such as Bluetooth or WLAN products, radio keys, etc. the following must be submitted:

  • Completed FCC Form 731 (application)
  • Marking and information on the position of the marking (product label)
  • Block Diagram
  • Function Description
  • Circuit diagram including PCB arrangement
  • User manual (including regulatory information for the user)
  • External photos
  • Internal photos
  • FCC test report
  • Photos of the test setup
  • Temporary Confidentiality Requirement Letter for FCC (if required) – Confidentiality Letter (short term)
  • Confidentiality Requirement Letter for FCC – Confidentiality Request Letter (Permanent)

For licensed devices, such as mobile phones, the following additional features are needed:

  • SAR test report, far-field calculations (safety of persons in electromagnetic fields)
  • Information on setting the HF performance parameters (so-called Tune Up Document)
  • Equipment list

The application, including documents in English, must be submitted by the TCB to the FCC.

What types of certification are available from the FCC?

  • New certification application
  • Change in Identification
  • Class I Permissive Change – no approval necessary, a kind of self-declaration if change does not affect the RF characteristics
  • Class II Permissive Change – Changes affect RF characteristics
  • Class III Permissive Change – only for Software Defined Radio (SDR); is very rare

Does an FCC certification also count as market approval for Canada?

The basis for a market approval in Canada is the so-called ISED certification. The responsible authority for radio licensing in Canada is called Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). The technical requirements for a market approval of products with radio technologies are in most cases identical to those in the USA and the tasks of the FCB for Canada are similar to those of the TCB.

  • Documents are submitted to ISED but are not published on the website. If confidentiality has not been requested, these documents can be viewed after appropriate consultation.
  • In contrast to the USA, a model name or the so-called “HVIN” on the label is mandatory in addition to the certification number. In addition, a marketing name is required for each approval before the approval is published on the website.
  • Without a local representative (LR) an approval is not possible. The LR must be registered with the authority ISED.

Is a "pre-certified" module sufficient to market my device in the USA?

No. In KDB 996369 D04, FCC has made it very clear that additional measurements must be performed on the host product (e.g., radiated emissions, EIRP, etc.).
In the case of a full-modular approval, the module must be integrated in consultation with the module integrator, the 15B part must be considered and additional measurements for the radio part must be considered. Afterwards an SDoC procedure can be applied by the host integrator.

When integrating a module with “limited modular” approval, the host integrator can only perform two procedures himself 1) Change in ID for modular approval + C2PC of the module or 2) seek a new FCC ID of the host product. If the host manufacturer cannot comply, or is not given clear directions to address the limitations, he must have the module approved the product via C1PC or C2PC. This is a major difference to integration with the Full Modular, since the integrator cannot simply make a C1PC himself.

What is meant by "contains FCC ID" and how is the procedure defined?

This procedure involves integrating a certified module without having to perform a separate approval for the host product. As mentioned above, you have to do some spot check measurements. As mentioned earlier, spot check testing is required pursuant to KDB 996369 D04.

What is the difference between sDoCand certification and can I as a manufacturer choose which procedure to use?

In general, all transmitters + scanning receivers must be certified. The products that fall under SDoCare listed in §15.101. In many cases both procedures apply.

What are the label requirements for the FCC? What are the differences for "contains FCC"?

Certification:

  • An FCC ID is required on the product (except when e-labelling is applied). See §2.925

sDoC:

  • Name, model number on the product. The FCC logo can be added optionally

sDoC and Certification:

  • Part 15 devices require warning notices in the user manuals (see §15.19, §15.21, §15.105).
  • For licensed rule parts specific warning notices are also required in the manual or on the product (§20.21 and §90.219 for boosters).

How does the approval for the North American market with a permanent roaming SIM card work? What is to be considered?

This does not play a role for the FCC approval.
You do not have to do anything if you are in transit or have products that roam e.g. containers on a ship.
If you want to sell your device in the USA with a roaming SIM, you have to get the acceptance of the US network operators.

  • The US network operators have tools to search for unknown devices.
  • Some of them also check the FCC relevant emissions (spot check: harmonics).
  • In practice, however, the companies issuing the roaming SIM know the boundary conditions (e.g. the radio module used should definitely be “listed” for the respective network operator, i.e. pre-certified, and PTCRB certification of the new device is often required). Often there are only few or almost no requirements other than this listing.

Is NOM certification required to import GPS tracking devices into Mexico? Is FCC sufficient?

An FCC approval is only valid for USA. Mexico has its own requirements. USA and Mexico signed a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) in 2016. As of now the standards which are available for designation can be seen here:

https://www.nist.gov/system/files/documents/2020/04/20/2020_04_20_IFT%20NOMS%20%20Mexico%20Corrected.pdf

There is no indication if FCC measurements for GPS are recognized in Mexico. In USA, GPS receiver measurements are not required for FCC, because they are exempt from complying with the technical provisions of part 15B but are subject to §15.5.

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