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Importing Tablets and Display Screens Into the U.S.

If you are importing tablets or display screens into the United States, use these guidelines to help determine proper HTS classification, FCC certification, and FDA regulations.



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If you are planning on importing any device that is or consists of a tablet or a display screen, take heed of regulatory obstacles that might stand in your way. Since both tablets and display screens often emit radio noise and small amounts of radiation, these devices must comply with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) standards. In other words, all screen and tablet importers must be certified under both government bodies before importing their products.

The first step, however, is to determine the official classification of your tablet or display screen. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule is the database to find the customs duties that will apply to your product. Below are some tips on how to import your tablet or screen in accordance with FCC and FDA regulations and standards:

FCC Certification

Since tablets are distributed for consumer use, they fall under FCC Class B categorization. Tablets and screens are classified as “non-licensed, low-power transmitters,” and fortunately consumers do not need a license from the FCC to use them. However, those importing them will need to get them FCC-certified for safety.

To obtain FCC certification for a product, you need to submit the device for testing at an FCC-authorized lab. Then, the product must be tagged with a compliance label along with an FCC ID (which can be created with a grantee code and a product code). Finally, you can submit the testing results and device specifications, along with the proper labels, to the FCC for approval and they will send you a grant of certification.

FDA Regulations

Tablets and screens also fall under FDA regulation since they include lasers, LED, or Intense Pulsed Lights, which emit potentially harmful radiation. While the FDA does not technically need to grant approval for products, they do have the right to ban products or order for changes in a device if they do not meet FDA standards. For this reason, importers or manufacturers need to test and certify a product themselves to meet those standards. However, though products are not officially FDA approved, some products – such as medical devices – will require importers to submit reports, which can be done electronically at the FDA’s eSubmitter site. Only after the submission is received will the FDA issue an accession number, which will certify that the product can be marketed commercially.

Importers will also be required to submit a Form FDA 2877 with the accession number and the importing paperwork to Customs and the FDA imports office when their shipment enters the US. As long as the products are labeled and certified properly and the paperwork is in good order, the importing process will go smoothly.

Note: Flat panel screens using Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) or plasma displays do not emit radiation and thus are not subject to FDA regulations.

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