What is an ISO Certification Body? What is a Registrar?

What is ISO Accreditation? What does ISO Registered mean?


What is an ISO Certification Body (CB)? A CB in the ISO world is an accredited certification body or as some call them, a registrar, that assesses, audits, and issues ISO certificates to organizations and businesses. A certification body must be accredited to issue an ISO certificate that is legitimate. Certification Bodies are accredited to a standard called ISO 17021, by one of two management system accreditation bodies in the United States. The two bodies are; International Accreditation Service (IAS) and ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB). Both IAS and ANAB are recognized by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) as members and signatories in the United States as seen here (https://www.iaf.nu/articles/IAF_MEM_USA__all/112). When you go to the IAF link, you’ll see that IAS and ANAB are the only two accreditation bodies in the United States that have “Management Systems Certification – ISO/IEC 17021-1” in their main scope. Both organizations have additional programs in their main scope but ISO 17021 is the standard that enables each organization to accredit certification bodies.


ISO Certification/ISO Certified and ISO Registration/ISO Registered are interchangeable terms that mean the same thing. Certification means your business has a certificate and is certified and Registration means your business is registered and is listed on an ISO registry. The registry, or list of certified companies, is typically private and usually only exists at the CB that certifies the organization. Per ISO 17021, the certification body must have a process for you to validate a certificate on their registry of clients. That process varies from business to business.


Looking for a fake ISO certificate is pretty tough but in the purchasing world for large manufacturing companies, it is necessary. Look for a combination of the images above, either the ANAB logo with IAF or the IAS logo with IAF, and then check on either the ANAB website or the IAS website to see if the certification body is listed. If it is, go to the website of the certification body and search for how to validate a certificate. All certificates will have a certificate number. Submit the number, the certificates information, and even a scan of the certificate itself and you should get a response from the certification body that the certificate is valid or that it is a fake.

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