Importing apparel and textile products to the United States? If so, you must either include your business name on the product label or use a Registered Identification Number (RN). In this guide, we explain what an RN number is, and how you can apply for one.
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What is a Registered Identification Number (RN)?
The Registered Identification Number, also known as RN, is a unique number issued by the FTC to companies in the United States that engage in the activities of manufacturing, importing, distributing, or selling products regulated by the Textile, Wool, and Fur Acts.
The main goal of the Registered Identification Number (RN) is to identify the company that manufactures, imports, or distributes the product. The RNs shall be placed on the product’s label.
Is a Registered Identification Number (RN) mandatory?
Product manufacturers, importers, or distributors can choose to either place the Registered Identification Number (RN) or a valid business name on the product label. As such, it’s not mandatory.
Note that if you choose to display your business name in the label, then you shall use the full name of the company, ie. the name that is used on business documents, such as invoices.
You can’t only use a trademark, logo, or brand name unless this is exactly the same as the company name – which is rarely the case.
Which products may be labeled with an RN?
The Registered Identification Number (RN) can be used to label products that are regulated by the Textile, Wool, and Fur Acts. Here are a few examples:
- Apparel and textile
- Bedding products
- Furniture covers
- Floor coverings
- Sleeping bags
Here a list of products that are not covered:
- Textiles face masks
- Gowns used for medical purposes
Note that you can find more examples of both covered and exempt products on the FTC website.
What is the procedure to obtain an RN?
You can apply for a Registered Identification Number (RN) via the FTC’s online application system.
Applicants are required to submit the following information to the FTC:
- Business email address
- Legal business name / company name
- Company address
- Company type (ie. LLC, partnership)
- Business type (Ie. importer, manufacturer retailer)
- Phone number and website URL, if any
Once the application is approved, you will be notified via email, and you will be able to find your Registered Identification Number (RN) also using the RN Lookup Service.
Must the RN be printed on the product?
Generally speaking, textiles shall carry a permanent label, such as a printed label or a nylon patch.
Besides information such as the fiber composition and cared symbols, your product label shall include either your Registered Identification Number (RN) or your company name, in order to ensure product traceability.
Can foreign companies (non-US) apply for an RN?
No, only businesses incorporated in the United States can apply for Registered Identification Number (RN).
If you are a foreign manufacturer, exporter, or distributor of goods in the US, you can label your products with your company name instead.
Do importers need a Registered Identification Number (RN)?
As explained, using a Registered Identification Number (RN) to label your textiles, garments, furs, or wool products is optional, as you can use your company name instead.
Here we list the most common options that can be used to label the product:
- Company name of the non-US manufacturer
- Company name of the non-US importer
- Company name of RN of the US-based importer
- Company name of RN of the US-based wholesaler
- Company name of RN of the US-based retailer
Note, however, that using the retailer company name or RN might be “risky”. The reason is that if the goods that were supposed to be sold to a retailer are then sold to a different retailer, then the company name or RN must be updated accordingly.
How much does it cost to apply for an RN?
At the moment, applying for a Registered Identification Number (RN) is free of charge.
How long does the RN application process take?
According to the information on FTC’s official webpage, the Registered Identification Number (RN) online application processing time is generally within 3 business days.
For mail or fax application, the processing time could take 7-10 business days. Please note that FTC does not offer one day or express service in any circumstances.
How can I update the information related to my RN?
If you do not have an account, create one and fill in all the required information.
If you already have an account, log in and click the “Update RN” button to create and submit an update request.
What is the difference between an RN and a WPL Number?
WPL (Wool Products Labelling) Numbers issued by the FTC for wool textiles and garments.
The WPL used to serve exactly the same purpose of a Registered Identification Number (RN), which is to identify the manufacturer, importer, or distributor.
Although the FTC phased out WPL Numbers and nowadays only issue Registered Identification Numbers (RN), consumers can still find them in some old clothing.
What is the RN Database and what is its goal?
Companies that have registered for the RNs or WPL numbers will be included in the RN and WPL databases.
Consumers and authorities can contact or get knowledge of a company by looking up Registered Identification Numbers (RN) or WPL Numbers from the database.