The rules that companies must follow when exporting medical devices depend on whether or not their devices have been approved or cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.
Medical devices that are legally marketed in the U.S. may be exported to anywhere in the world without prior FDA notification or approval. Devices that have not been approved or cleared in the U.S. must follow the export provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act.
Depending on which section of the FD&C Act a firm is exporting under, it may need to request an export permit letter or export certificate, or it may need to submit a simple notification. This webpage contains information on exporting legally marketed and unapproved devices, with detailed instructions for obtaining export certificates and permits, as well as submitting simple notifications.
Firms exporting products from the U.S. are often asked by foreign customers or foreign governments to supply proof of the products’ status as regulated by the FDA. An export certificate is a document prepared by FDA that has information about a product’s regulatory or marketing status in the U.S.
A Certificate to Foreign Government is the most frequently requested type of export certificate, but a Certificate of Exportability may also be requested when exporting devices under sections 801(e)(1) and 802 of the FD&C Act or when exporting Non-Clinical Research-Use-Only devices.
Please note that, in order to obtain a certificate, the product must be exported from the U.S.
In November 2012 and March 2013, CDRH launched the first two phases of its CDRH Export Certification and Tracking System (CECATS). CECATS is a new voluntary electronic system that allows manufacturers and initial importers to request export documents online as an alternative to paper submissions. CECATS offers several benefits, including a reduction in certificate processing time, savings on material and mailing costs for paper applications, real-time validation of firm-specific data, and status updates of the request. During the first phase of the CECATS launch, the system was only available for Certificate to Foreign Government requests. In March 2013, the second phase of CECATS was launched, making it available for the voluntary submission of requests for a Certificate of Exportability under sections 801(e)(1) and 802 of the FD&C Act.
In February and May 2014, CDRH made a series of enhancements to CECATS that responded to user feedback.
In September 2014, CECATS was enhanced with additional capabilities including the ability to apply for a Non-Clinical Research Use Only certificate and to add a contract manufacturer or contract sterilizer to requests for a Certificate of Exportability.
On February 10, 2015, Export Permit Letters and Simple Notifications can be submitted via CECATS.
CECATS may be accessed after logging into the FDA Unified Registration and Listing Systems (FURLS). Firms must have a FURLS account ID and password to access this system. Consult the “New User” section of the FURLS website for instructions on setting up an account.
CDRH will hold an online training session about CECATS submissions of Export Permit Letters and Simple Notifications via Adobe Connect on February 10th, 2015, from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (EST). Advanced registration is not necessary, but we encourage participants to test their connection prior to the webinar. Participants will not be able to enter the meeting until the host has logged in on the day of the event.
For more information about CECATS, please view the Exporting Medical Devices Frequently Asked Questions page.
- Exporting Medical Devices Frequently Asked Questions
Letter Regarding Removal of Notary Block on Export Certificates Letter to Medical Device Establishments: Enhancements to CDRH Export Certification and Tracking System (CECATS)(PDF - 86KB) Exports Under the FDA Export Reform and Enhancement Act of 1996 CDRH Foreign Liaison List
- Guidance for Industry: FDA Export Certificates
Exporting Products Regulated by Other Centers at the FDA
Compliance Policy Guides
- Certification for Exports
Compliance Policy Guide, Section 110.100 (CGP 7150.01)
- Export of FDA Regulated Products from U.S. Foreign Trade Zones
Compliance Policy Guide, Section 110.200 (CPG 7150.11)
Regulations and Law
Sec. 1.101 - Notification and recordkeeping
Regulations 21 CFR 1, Subpart E--Imports and Exports
- FR: Exports Notification and Recordkeeping Requirements (December 19, 2001)
[PDF] version FR: Exports Notification and Recordkeeping Requirements (December 19, 2001) FD&C Act Chapter VIII: Imports and Exports