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Multilateral Recognition Arrangement Documents (ML Series)

The primary purpose of IAF is to establish Multilateral Recognition Arrangements (MLA) between its accreditation body members in order to contribute to the freedom of world trade by eliminating technical barriers to trade.

The purpose of the MLA is to allow accreditations and the certificates issued by certification/registration bodies accredited by members of the MLA to be recognised by the other members of the MLA. The objective is that the MLA will cover all accreditation bodies in all countries in the world, thus eliminating the need for suppliers of products or services to be certified in each country where they sell their products or services (certified once  accepted everywhere).

Membership of the MLA is based on peer evaluation of each applicant for membership of the MLA and continued surveillance of each member to ensure and confirm that all the members of the MLA operate their accreditation programs, and are implementing the Guidelines, consistently and in an equivalent way.

The accreditation programs of members of the MLA are based on relevant ISO/IEC Guides. In order to ensure that the various programs are operated in an equivalent way, IAF issues Guidance to the Application of the various ISO/IEC Guides.  The IAF Guidance documents are based on the experience of accreditation bodies in applying the ISO/IEC Guides in practice, and represent agreement among IAF members on best practice in the application of those Guides.  Accreditation bodies which are members of the MLA are required to adopt the IAF Guidance as part of their general rules of operation.

The following documents are available in Adobe Acrobat PDF. If you do not have Acrobat Reader installed on your computer it is available here free from Adobe.

IAF ML 1:2016 Guidance for the Exchange of Documentation among MLA Signatories for the Assessment of Conformity Assessment Bodies
(Issue 3, issued on 08 January 2016; application from 08 January 2016)
Describes procedures for the exchange of documentation among accreditation bodies that are members of the IAF MLA, where such documentation issued by the originating accreditation body is requested for consideration as part of assessment activities relating to the granting, maintaining, extending, reducing, suspending and withdrawing of accreditation by the receiving accreditation body. This document does not make it mandatory for IAF member accreditation bodies to exchange documents.

IAF ML 2:2016 General Principles on the Use of the IAF MLA Mark
(Issue 3, issued on 11 May 2016; application from 11 May 2016)
This document describes principles on the use of the IAF MLA Mark by signatories of the IAF MLA and by CABs accredited by IAF MLA accreditation body signatories.

IAF ML 3:2012 Guidance for responding to Inquiries on Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) Signatory Equivalence and on the acceptance of certification documents
(Issue 2, issued on 15 October 2012; application from 15 October 2012)
Procedure to be used by IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) signatories and other IAF members, as appropriate, to respond to inquiries regarding the equivalence of accreditations of MLA signatories and on the acceptance of certification documents.

IAF ML 4:2016 Policies and Procedures for a MLA on the Level of Single Accreditation Bodies and on the Level of Regional Accreditation Groups
(Issue 8, issued on 11 May 2016; application from 11 May 2016)
(See also IAF GA Resolution 2016-24 (, which supersedes Note 2 of point 3.1.5 of this document).
This document defines the policies and procedures that IAF will use to maintain and extend a MLA among both AB Members and Regional Accreditation Group Members which operate a MLA. It also provides the text of the IAF MLA for signature by individual Accreditation Bodies and Recognised Regional Accreditation Groups when they join the MLA.


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