A Guide to the FCC and Industry Canada Certification Process

April 2, 2019, 9:13 am

Written By: Thomas T. Smith

Thomas is the Vice-President of EMC Test Services at LSR. Tom has over 13 years of experience in EMC/RF Testing on a variety of products in the Industrial, Commercial and Medical Industry. Tom received a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) in 2000 and is an active member and contributor in IEEE.

In previous articles, we have discussed various technical requirements regarding certification of wireless devices; however, the actual testing is only part of the process of qualifying [TS1] wireless products in the United States and Canada. This article highlights key components of paperwork for the filing process.

To make this article concise, we will focus on products submitted for review by a Telecommunication Certification Body. Unless specifically noted, the information applies to both modular and product certification.

Registering your company with the appropriate agency

In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the governing body for wireless devices. Canada has a similar regulating body called Industry Canada (IC). Companies must register with the appropriate body.

FCC registration is a two-step process. First, the company applies for its FCC Registration Number (FRN), a unique number associated with the company for all transactions. Registration is free and can be done online using the CORES or by completing FCC Form 160. When registering online, note the FRN account number and password, as it is required for any account modifications.

After receiving its FRN, the company must then apply for a Grantee Code, a unique three-character identifier which the company will use for all its wireless products. The FRN and Grantee Code are specifically associated with the company’s address and with the individual designated as authorized signatory for the company. The FCC charges a small application fee for the Grantee Code. The company may pay online (recommended) by completing FCC Form 159, or it may pay by mail. The FCC must receive payment within 30 days of the company’s application or the associated Grantee Code will become invalid.

The authorized signatory need not be a president or vice president of the company. Because this individual is responsible for all of the company’s wireless applications, it is important that the address and authorized signatory remain up to date. If this information on file with the FCC is not current, it will hinder the filing process and delay receiving the Grant of Authorization.

Industry Canada has established a similar process for applying for a Canadian Company Number. All applicants apply online, where they receive their five-digit Canadian Company Number. Your company does not need to be located in Canada to receive a Canadian Company Number. For each filing, the company’s contact information and authorized signatory must be up to date and must match all documents submitted. Each company is allowed only one authorized signatory.