Importing Light Fixtures to the United States

From understanding regulatory requirements and safety standards to navigating the complexities of international trade, importing light fixtures can be a complicated process if you aren’t familiar with the proper protocols. In this blog post, we will detail the essential aspects of importing light fixtures to the United States, providing insights and guidance to help you navigate this dynamic landscape with confidence, regardless of which part of the process you are involved in. 


UL Labeling Designation and Importance

Importing lighting and light fixtures is relatively simple compared to other products that require special permits and licenses for importation. However, U.S. Customs does require a breakdown of materials that compose each light fixture. This must be done by weight for tariff classification purposes. For example, how much metal or glass is included in an import must be provided. It is most common to provide this information on the invoice presented at entry or attached on a separate sheet provided by the supplier. Lighting and lighting fixtures fall under the jurisdiction of the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) which administers the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). While there are no specific regulations under the CPSC, there are certain classifications that assure your light fixtures meet voluntary compliance standards and safety. 

When importing light fixtures, it is important to note that your product has been UL listed. UL stands for “Underwriters Laboratories,” which is a testing facility for light fixtures and other electronic devices. Its purpose is to test and ensure the safety of electronic products. This distinction is very widely recognized, so much so that some electricians won’t install non-UL certified fixtures and you could potentially be fined if your product contains counterfeit UL certifications. 

Therefore, it is crucial to do your research and ensure that your supplier complies with the required standards. Not only will this make for happier customers, but it will also save you from the financial burden that can come with the responsibility to fix malfunctioning fixtures that are not UL certified. Without a UL label, you cannot know how dangerous a fixture may be, meaning it could catch fire, electrocute someone, or cause serious damage and if the light fixture were to have a manufacturing defect, you would be liable.


UL Labeling Designations

There are three designations for UL labeled products:

  1. Dry Location: applies to fixtures designed to be used indoors
  2. Damp Location: applies to fixtures that can be used outside in an area protected from direct contact with water
  3. Wet Location: applies to fixtures that can be in direct contact with water, including exterior locations, showers, saunas, etc.

Be sure to pay attention to UL labeling so you know you’re getting the correct type of product for your customers’ needs! 


Importing Different Types of Light Fixtures

There are many different types of light fixtures on the market so when you are importing light fixtures, you should have an idea of who your consumers are and what that market looks like. Additionally, there are different HS codes based on what type of light fixture you will be importing so you will need to know the types of fixtures you are looking into. These codes are product classification codes used by U.S. Customs and the WCO (World Customs Organization) to classify goods. By knowing the HS codes, you will know which tariffs you will be required to pay.  

There are a range of different types of light fixtures you can import, including but not limited to:

  • Christmas tree lights
  • Floor standing lamps
  • Chandeliers
  • Electric ceiling or wall lights
  • Glass lamps and light fittings
  • Plastic lamps and light fittings
  • Illuminated signs
  • Table lamps
  • Electric lamps and light fittings
  • Non-electric lamps and light fittings


Doing Your Research

It is absolutely critical to do your research when looking for suppliers to work with. The main exporter of light fixtures is China, which accounts for the overwhelming majority of exports so most importers will begin their supplier search there. Because China is the main exporter, it is also crucial to understand the laws specific to China for anyone looking to import light fixtures from China to the United States. 

Be sure to engage with an LED manufacturer who is a global wholesaler and who is a registered brand in the United States or Canada so that you can ensure you are not dealing with a company who may not be able to supply to your needs. Many wholesalers make it easy to import from Canada to the U.S., who are their biggest customers so finding the right manufacturer shouldn’t be too difficult. You can also attend trade shows where you can find a large number of LED suppliers in one place and check out the products for yourself for price and quality before purchasing.

If you still have any questions about importing light fixtures to the US, contact us today, we would be happy to answer any questions you may have! 


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