What is a Type Approval or Certificate of Conformity?
A government agency or designated body grants a Type Approval or Certificate of Conformity (or Conformance) to verify that a product entering the country has met minimum technical, safety, and regulatory requirements. In the case of electrical and electronic equipment, an Approval/Certificate also acts as an indication that the product complies with directives regarding Electro Magnetic Compliance (EMC), meaning the device will work as intended, without interfering with the use or function of any other device.
Requirements for product approval vary around the world. In Latin America (meaning everywhere in the western hemisphere except Canada and the U.S.), nations generally do not accept FCC or CE product certification. Instead, each country in Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and elsewhere in Central and South America and the Caribbean) tends to have its own rules for homologation (which is just a fancy word used in international trade circles for “official approval”).
In cases where regulatory approval is not required, LARCG can obtain an official ‘No Homologation’ letter in order to avoid potential complications with a country’s customs officials.
What’s involved in getting electronic equipment approved for sale in Latin America?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approves electronic products for sale in the United States. In Europe, the mark “CE” (for “Conformité Européene” or European Conformity) indicates official approval. But these approvals are not sufficient for Latin American countries, most of which maintain a distinct approval process, sometimes requiring re-testing and special packaging. In LatAm, there is also no cross-border approval — what the Argentinian government approves for sale can be sold in Argentina, not necessarily in Brazil, Mexico, or Colombia.
To us, Latin America (LATAM) includes the Western hemisphere except for Canada and the United States. That’s all of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and part of North America (Mexico). In other words, up to 50 countries, territories, and protectorates.
What makes LARCG different?
LARCG is a homologation consultant — not a testing lab, importer, or marketer.
We secure approval from government agencies in individual Latin American countries so our clients can sell their electronic and telecommunications equipment in those countries. While we focus exclusively on LATAM market access, our clients are based all over the world.
Our deeply experienced team knows the LatAm territory better than anyone, and we choose our associates carefully, for language skills, professionalism, work ethic, and integrity. As a result, we get the job done for our clients, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Is it always necessary to submit a product sample as part of the approval process?
It depends on the country and the type of product. Sometimes it is not required. If you already have a homologation letter then testing may not be required. Contact us if you are not sure.
Do LatAm countries require my company to have a local branch office or a local legal representative?
In some instances, a homologation certificate can only be issued in the name of an established entity with a local address. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Paraguay require such in-country legal representation.
If the manufacturer doesn’t have a such an in-country presence, it will need a legal representative act as its liaison with the regulatory authority. A company’s local importer/distributor can play this role (and hold the product approval certificates). But it’s better in these instances for LARCG to hold the certificates as the manufacturer’s neutral third-party representative. This allows the manufacturer the flexibility to use any importers/distributors it wishes.
In any event, LARCG has works directly with agencies in each country to ensure that products have all of the requirements needed for processing.
What are the safety regulations in Latin America?
Every country in Latin America has its own validation and certification process. Some may require testing or labeling or both. LARCG works in tandem with these government and local agencies to ensure your approval process is a smooth one.
Does FCC or CE or UL cover requirements for Latin America?
FCC approval does not cover the requirements for Latin America and the Caribbean. Each country in those regions has its own regulatory agency with its regulations and restrictions. In some cases, we can use existing test reports (FCC, CE) for the homologation process to avoid in-country testing, but FCC or CE approval on its own does not fulfill the local requirements.
What are the frequency restrictions in Latin America?
There are different frequency restrictions in every country in Latin America (including the Caribbean). Contact us for more information.
Are power supplies supposed to be certified?
Power supplies that are included with a particular radio frequency product do not have to be certified separately. If sold separately or as a replacement part they will require their own certification.
Will my product need to be tested in LatAm in order to be sold there?
Each country has its own requirements for granting approval for your equipment. A few countries will accept outside test reports in the homologation process, while others (for instance, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico) require certain electronic products to undergo technical testing in-country before the products can be submitted for regulatory approval. We will guide you through the process of collecting the appropriate documentation and help you arrange for a product sample.
Will my product need specific labeling and packaging to be sold in LatAm?
Just as the U.S. and Europe require their FCC or CE marks to be displayed on imported electronic equipment, some LATAM countries require unique certification numbers and/or logos to be placed on an electronic product, user manual, packaging, power supply, and/or software. Mexico and Brazil are two countries that always require such labeling.
Can one import a product to a country before it is approved by the government?
Generally speaking, no. Each country in Latin America (including the Caribbean) has its own certification process. Existing test reports may be used in some cases, but proper documentation will be required based on the type of product.
Can similar product models be certified together?
In most cases each product is treated separately and must have its own certification.
How long are certifications valid?
Product certifications are usually valid from one to two years, although countries have different limitations depending on the product type.
What are the language requirements for documentation?
Product documents must sometimes be written in the local language. Please contact us to determine your project’s language requirements. Our representatives are fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and can provide translation services.