What you need to know about NRCS LOA applications

Importers and local manufacturers of products that fall within the scope of Compulsory Specifications require an NRCS LOA before importing or selling a product. Compulsory Specifications prescribe standards required for a specific product. This helps to ensure products meet safety, health, and environmental protection requirements.

Applying for an LOA can be an unpleasant experience if not done properly. Queries raised on LOA applications have limited time to resolve. Unresolved queries lead to the rejection of an LOA application. For importers, this often leads to more problems especially if the shipment is already on the water. Customs or NRCS will detain the shipment. The products are assumed to be unsafe until proven otherwise, by presenting an LOA.

Common errors made by applicants in the LOA application process result in a delay in issuing an LOA or the application being rejected. Many companies contact us after facing a problem with an application. We will of course assist. However, it is important to be aware of the most common errors in LOA applications and these are around the following:

Product test report

Test reports are so important for an LOA application. First, NRCS requires test reports to conform to the latest applicable standards. Revision or changes to technical standards happens. An outdated standard in the test report leads to the rejection of the test report. Second, NRCS accepts IEC or SANS standards. EN standards test reports are not accepted unless a declaration confirming that the said standards are equivalent to the IEC / SANS standards is provided. An accredited testing company issues such a declaration.

Testing company accreditation

An acceptable test report is issued by an accredited testing company. ILAC is the international organisation for accreditation bodies. National institutions that provide accreditation to testing companies in each country have to be ILAC members. For example, in China, the testing company should have a China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) accreditation. In South Africa, the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) is responsible for the accreditation of testing companies. Each country has an equivalent institution similar to these. Non-accredited testing companies cannot issue test reports accepted by NRCS.

How old should be the test report?

If you are applying for an LOA on electronics-related products, the test report should not be more than 36 months old, for a new application. However, if it’s a renewal application the test report can be up to 60 months old. 

South African plugs

Electronic products and machinery require a plug acceptable in South Africa. In some cases, the test report will show that the product was tested without a South African plug. It is important to know how to handle this.

For assistance with LOA applications, contact us at infor@tradesolutions.co.za