Congratulations! The project raised the required funding and the creators even completed the work and sent you’re the product!!! – accepting delivery of a new product that was just released to market knowing you had (even a small) part in it is the best… But No, you landed on a routine customs check and the nice clerk is asking do you have your “Ministry of communications approval form”?? Bummer – sometimes getting a new product that was just released to market comes with bureaucracy you’d be good to know in advance.
It happened to me with the latest package to come in- 8 month of delay were not enough, customs had to throw in a few additional weeks of annoying checks although the product costs less than- 75$ and god knows why they bothered with it… a package with several little Bluetooth tags, each the size of a coin, the shape of a key holder (the kind that communicates with your mobile phone and beeps as you get closer / further – I’ll write about it later) where marked public enemy number 1 and required a series of phone calls, emails, faxes and a long unnerving wait.
Help!! Customs officials won’t release my delivery!
So it turns out the customs can for various reasons detain any package, even if it’s under the automatic tax exemption law (if the item is classified as requiring additional checks or some concern regarding that information that was provided – I don’t know…). If the product in question is electronic and has something to do with transmitting / receiving wireless data of any kind, you may be required to produce an approval from an official body of some kind (in my case – Ministry of communication) to import the item into the country. The process is typically done by importers of companies who bring in special communication equipment but it seems that the requirement can be valid just the same for small and simple items which is why you may want to take care and get the approval in advance.
- Details of the delivery manifest that was sent to you (this is why the process has to wait till the package has been delivered and you receive all forms from the project creator).
- An official prospect (scanned / PDF), signed including company signature detailing transmitting specifications: Frequencies in use – (MHz), Power output – (Watt), Antenna amplification (whatever that means) – (dB)
- Any official approvals the project creators may have such as FCC standard etc. (optional – only if there is such document)
- Product invoice (the one that was sent along with the product – not necessarily the one you got when first funding the project because details may vary and you need information to fit the delivery documents).
Fill out the approval request (no English version for the Israeli form and you probably don’t need it but here is the link, most likely you should look for a similar official form according to your country regulations. once you find your country’s approval form, please add link to the comment section!)
All the forms and pages should be sent via fax to the number listed on the form (be persistent even if the delivery fails the first 20 times) and you should call the next day to verify the application made it to the right place. Now there is waiting period of up to 10 work days, and sometime during this period you’ll be getting the approval back to your personal fax machine (surely you have one – right?)
You should hurry up and fax this approval to whoever is managing the delivery for you or keep it close in case someone decides it’s needed (I’d recommend starting this process as early as possible, once you know the package was delivered and can receive all the documents).