8130-3 Tag: “For Domestic Shipments Only”

One of our members recently contacted us about an 8130-3 tag that states “for domestic shipments only.”  What does this language mean?

The language on this 8130-3 tag, “Airworthiness Approval – for domestic shipments only,” was language recommended for a short time many years ago in the Order 8130.21 guidance. At the time that it was placed in the guidance, we met with the FAA and pointed out that this language has no regulatory basis and did not make sense. They removed it from subsequent revisions of the guidance.

A ‘domestic’ 8130-3 tag documents a finding of regulatory compliance under United States (FAA) regulations.  Thus, the seemingly-limiting language that says “for domestic shipments only” really has no legal effect, because it does not change the fact that a finding of regulatory compliance under FAA regulations has been made, and neither the FAA nor any FAA designee has the power to prevent a part from being exported by virtue of language on an 8130-3 tag.

There is some marginal informational value to such language, in that it means that the designee who issue the tag clearly has not investigated the special import conditions of any particular nation associated with the part. But this value is only marginal value for several reasons:

  • First, this is implicit in any domestic tag.  Such tags are not ‘domestic’ in the sense that they inhibit export (a power that the FAA does not have).  Rather, they are ‘domestic’ in the sense that they only reflect a finding of compliance with domestic (US) regulatory standards.  There is no requirement nor recommendation in current FAA guidance that this additional language be added to ‘domestic’ 8130-3 tags;
  • Second, an export 8130-3 tag is supposed to include export language in the remarks block (block 12, as of the changes in the “H” revision of FAA Order 8130.21);
  • Third, many foreign nations do not impose additional “special import conditions” on parts (usually the special import requirements are imposed on aircraft) and thus there may be no practical difference between a domestic and “export” 8130-3; determining whether to accept the “domestic” tag as sufficient is a question to be answered by the importing country.

Where do we find these special import requirements?  Usually, you need to look in two places – the formal special import conditions are listed in AC 21-2L, but you also need to check any additional “agreed-upon” requirements found in a bilateral agreement.  For example, the  EASA special import conditions apply conditions to new and used (complete) aircraft but not to aircraft parts.  Special requirements associated with aircraft parts are found in the bilateral technical implementation procedures.  You can find the applicable special import requirements of Europe and FAA-EASA Technical Implementation Procedures online.

Where you have a validated design that is identical in both the US and Europe, the certification requirements of 5.1.8 of the FAA-EASA BASA Technical Implementation Procedures might be met by a domestic airworthiness approval document, although such a document may not meet the “export language” requirements of FAA Order 8130.21H.


About Jason Dickstein
Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. He represents several aviation trade associations, including the Aviation Suppliers Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Air Carrier Purchasing Conference, and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association. He also represents private clients drawn from the spectrum of the aviation industry.

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