The certification process

Procedure for suspension and withdrawal of certificate

Suspension: Time-limited invalidation of a certificate.

Withdrawal: Permanent invalidation of a certificate.

Initiation of suspension or withdrawal

DNV may initiate suspension in cases where the

1. Certified management systems have persistently and seriously failed to meet certification requirements, for example:

  • Failure to respond adequately to identify identified non-conformance(s)
  • Management system does not reflect the current organisation and processes, e.g. as a result of changes, acquisitions, diversification etc.
  • Major part of the management system not implemented

2. Surveillance audits and recertification audits not allowed to be conducted according to required frequency or as scheduled 

3. Violation of the terms of the signed certification agreement, for example:

  • Non-payment of fees
  • Incorrect use of the certification mark and reference to certification

4. Customer voluntarily requesting temporary suspension 

5. Evidence received from authorities etc. that could affect the status of certificate, for example:

  • Evidence of non-compliance to regulatory/statutory requirements relevant for the certified management system
  • Evidence of a non-effective managements system in case of serious incidents/accidents.

The management and authorized personnel within the DNV unit who issued the certificate shall decide on the action to be taken, based on a review and duly considerations of evidence. If suspension is decided the process below shall be followed.

Suspension of a certificate is normally initiated as the first step, followed by withdrawal if the issue of concern is not resolved within due time. Dependent on the seriousness of the case, DNV may decide a direct withdrawal of the certificate.

Where failure of the management system is related to a specific part of the organisation, specific products etc, DNV may also consider a reduction in the scope of certification as an alternative to suspension. DNV may also choose to only give the customer a warning that suspension is being considered.


The decision to suspend a certificate shall be communicated to the customer by a formal letter. The letter shall include:

  • A statement on the decision to suspend the certificate including a proper description of the situation, argumentation and reference to objective evidence.
  • The right to respond and appeal to the decision. Normally a 10 working days notice for response and appeal are given. An appeal may be lodged through the complaints procedure.
  • Start date of the suspension (normally from the date of receival of the letter).
  • Conditions and due date of required action in order to revoke the suspension, and the consequence if satisfactory actions are not performed.
  • The means of follow-up by DNV to verify that conditions have been met and needed corrective actions have been implemented.
  • A statement that the certificate is invalid during suspension and that use of all advertising matter containing a reference to certification are prohibited during time of suspension.
  • A statement that both the customer and DNV shall inform all enquirers that the certificate is suspended.

A certificate shall not be suspended for more than 6 months.

Follow up

DNV will verify that conditions are met and requested corrective actions are implemented.

Dependent on this verification, DNV will either:

  • Declare a positive result, revoke the suspension and declare a valid certificate.
  • Declare a negative result due to failure to resolve the issues that resulted in suspension. This situation will normally result in permanent withdrawal of the certificate (see below).
  • In either case the customer will receive a letter confirming the result.


Withdrawal of the certificate shall be initiated if:

  • The customer does not meet the conditions of suspension.
  • A suspension is not considered to be an adequate action.
The decision to withdraw a certificate shall be formally communicated to the customer including the requirements to:
  • Terminate use of the certification mark and any reference to certification.
  • Return certificate(s) and copies to DNV.
The customer has a right to appeal. An appeal may be lodged through the complaints procedure.