How to check if an ISO Certificate is valid

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Published on: October 16, 2020

When evaluating potential suppliers for your organisation, part of your evaluation criteria might be that their management system is certified to one or more ISO Management System Standards. If this is the case, you should be:

  • Requesting that they provide you with a copy of their ISO Certificate(s); and
  • Checking that their ISO Certification(s) are valid.

Your potential supplier should be able to provide their ISO Certificate(s) quickly and easily via reply email with a file attachment – all Certification Bodies provide certificates as pdf files these days.

Once you have the ISO Certificate(s) from your potential supplier, it’s important to also check that they are valid.

What a lot of people don’t realise is that the validity of all ISO Certifications is subject to satisfactory ongoing Surveillance Audits (which are usually conducted annually over the course of the three years of certification). If these haven’t been conducted with satisfactory results every 12 months, the Certification Body may then cancel the ISO Certification(s).

If an ISO Certification has been cancelled, it may be due to a change in the business structure or a major breakdown in the effectiveness of the business operations and/or management system(s).

So, now you should be starting to understand the importance of not only receiving a copy of your potential suppliers’ ISO Certificate(s), but also checking that they’re valid.

There are a few ways you can check if an ISO Certificate is valid:

  1. On the International online register (this is new as of 2020); and/or
  2. On the Regional online register; and/or
  3. On the Certification Body online register (not always available).

Let’s take a look at each of these options:

1. Verifying an ISO Certificate on the International Online Register

In 2020, the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) released a global online register where any ISO Certificate worldwide can be verified within the one platform.

All you need to know is the business name.

Go to IAF CertSearch, start typing the business name in the search bar and, if the business is certified, they will show up. You can then click on their listing to validate the currency of their ISO Certificate(s).

This is the simplest and easiest way to verify that an ISO Certificate is valid. Here’s how it looks, using the example of our business – ISO Certification Experts:

Search the business name
How to check ISO certificate using IAF CertSearch
View the listing
Viewing a listing in the IAF CertSearch
Verify the Certification
Verifying certification using IAF CertSearch

2. Verifying an ISO Certificate on the Regional online register

The IAF CertSearch (explained above) is great, but you’re limited to the number of searches you can do per day, and then you need to sign up. Even then, registered users are still limited by the number of daily searches they are allowed to do.

So, the next best option is to verify ISO Certification(s) in your supply chain (or potential supply chain) via the local Accreditation Authority websites.

For Australia and New Zealand, the local authority is JAS-ANZ – the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand. We’re based in Australia, so we’ll use this as our example.

You’ll first need to look for the logo of the Accreditation Authority on your potential suppliers’s ISO Certificate, and then go to their website. So, for our example:

How to check ISO certificate using IAF CertSearch
  • All the valid Certifications for that Organisation will display, and you can click on the one(s) that you’re interested in to verify that the Status is Active.
Searching for an organisation's valid ISO Certification

3. Verifying an ISO Certificate on the Certification Body online register

A third option is to verify an ISO Certificate directly with the Accredited Certification Body.

However, first check that the Certificate holds the logo of a local Accreditation Authority for that region (for example, JAS-ANZ for Australia and New Zealand). A certificate holding an Accreditation Authority logo and/or IAF logo are recognised internationally.

Go to the website of the Accredited Certification Body. Again, we’ll use our business as an example – we’re certified by pwc.

Search for the business name you’re looking for, and you can then click on their listing to validate the currency of their ISO Certificate(s).

Please note that this lookup process can vary significantly from Certifier to Certifier.

how to check ISO certificate validity on PwC

We’ve covered the methods of checking if an ISO Certificate is valid, but also keep in mind these key points during your checking process:

  • The Certification Body: Look for the name of the Accredited Certification Body, i.e. the company issuing the certificate.
  • The Accreditation Authority: Look for the stamp of the Accreditation Authority. In Australia and New Zealand this will generally be JAS-ANZ (The Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand).
  • International Accreditation Forum (IAF) recognition: Look for the IAF Logo on the certificate – this indicates the Accreditation Body is a member of the IAF, providing confidence that the certificate has international recognition. However, note that not all certificates will display the IAF Logo – this can vary from Certifier to Certifier.
  • The validity of the certificate: Confirm the validity of the Certificate(s) via one or more of the ways described in this article.
  • The expiry date: Is the certificate close to expiry or has it actually expired? Certificates are valid for three years, and are subject to satisfactory surveillance audits.
  • The scope of certification: Are the entire business operations and all locations certified? The certificate should detail the scope of business operations certified and the locations certified. Sometimes only a small part of the business operations is certified, and maybe not the part you’re interested in!

For further information or clarification when verifying your supply chain ISO certificates, please don’t hesitate to call us now on 1300 614 897, email us, or book your online FREE strategy session and we’ll be more than happy to assists.

About the author

Managing Director at ISO Certification Experts and ICExperts Academy

Erica is the Managing Director of ISO Certification Experts and ICExperts Academy. She has been helping businesses with their ISO Certification needs for over 20 years. Erica is also a Certified trainer, implementer and auditor for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and ISO 27001 standards. Erica primarily heads up the day-to-day operations of the businesses, and is also a current member of the Australian Organisation for Quality and Brand Integrity Committee.

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