Certification Process

Steps to ISO Certification

The ISO certification audit cycle typically involves four stages:

Pre-Audit – Optional

This is the preparatory stage, where the organization must be able to clearly demonstrate that their quality system meets the requirements of the standard(s). During this phase, it may be necessary to update documents or records and train personnel as needed.

Onsite Audit – Stage 1 / Stage 2

This is when an auditor from a third-party registrar or certification body will visit your site for a comprehensive assessment of your organization’s quality system. The audit team will evaluate all aspects of your system to ensure compliance with ISO standards.

Certification Awarded

After a successful onsite audit, you will receive an ISO certificate indicating that you are compliant with the standard(s). If there were any significant findings or non-conformances during the audit, they must be corrected before certification can be awarded.

Surveillance Audits

In order to maintain certification status, regular surveillance audits are required at least once per year (or more frequently depending on circumstances). These audits are similar in scope to initial onsite audits, but focus primarily on verifying compliance with ongoing quality initiatives and corrective action plans from previous audits.

What to look for when vetting an ISO Certification Body


Make sure the certification body is accredited by a recognized governing body or organization and able to provide valid certificates.

Experience & Expertise

Ensure that the certification body has sufficient experience in the specific standard or standards you need to comply with, and that they have access to competent auditors who can assess all aspects of your system.

Reputation & Client Reviews

Seek out client reviews and feedback on the certification body’s services, capabilities, and professionalism to make sure they are up-to-date on trends in quality management and deliver good value for money.

Cost & Support Services

Compare quotes from potential providers to make sure you are getting the best deal for your budget. Also, be sure to consider any extra support services offered by the provider such as coaching or corrective action planning following audit findings.

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