Voting and membership in ISO



1) Proposal stage (NWIP ballot)

The first step in the development of an International Standard is to confirm the market demand and relevance of the proposed standard on a global scale. A new work item proposal (NWIP) is submitted for a 3-month vote to the national standards bodies that are members of the relevant technical committee (TC) or subcommittee (SC) to determine the inclusion of the work item in the committee work programme. A simple majority of the participating (P-) members of the TC must approve the proposal and at least 5 must actively support it and nominate experts.

Reference: ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1, Article 2.3



2) Preparatory stage

Usually a working group is set up by the TC/SC for the preparation of a working draft (WD). The working group is made up of experts (including those nominated by the P-members in stage 1) and is led by a convener. Working group members act as independent experts, not national delegates. Successive working drafts may be considered until the working group is satisfied that it has developed the best technical solution to the problem – that is, until expert consensus has been reached. The draft is then forwarded to the working group's parent committee for the second consensus-building phase.

Reference: ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1, Article 2.4



3) Committee stage (CD ballot)

At this stage, comments from national members are taken into consideration with a view to reaching consensus. The standard is drafted following ISO's formatting rules and, as soon as a first committee draft (CD) is available, it is distributed for comment and voting to the P-members of the TC/SC. Successive committee drafts may be considered until consensus2 is reached on the technical content Once agreed upon, the text is finalized for submission as a draft International Standard (DIS).

Reference: ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1, Article 2.5

2For a definition of consensus, refer to the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1 and the Consolidated ISO Supplement, article 2.5.6.


4) Enquiry stage (DIS ballot)

The draft International Standard (DIS) is submitted to ISO/CS, which then circulates it to all ISO member bodies for voting and comment within a period of three months. During this time, ISO members make the DIS text available to the widest possible range of national stakeholders for comment – these comments form the basis of the national vote on the DIS. All full ISO member bodies are eligible to vote and P-members of the committee that developed the draft are obliged to vote. The text is approved if a two-thirds majority of the P-members of the TC/SC is in favour and not more than one-quarter of the total number of votes cast are negative (therefore including comments and votes from countries not having participated in the development of the standard). If the approval criteria are not met, the text is returned to the originating TC/SC for further study and revision. Reference:

Reference: ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1, Article 2.6



5) Approval stage (FDIS ballot)

The final draft International Standard (FDIS) is circulated to all ISO member bodies for a final two-month Yes/No vote.

The text is approved as an International Standard (IS) with the same criteria as for a DIS, i.e. if a two-thirds majority of the P-members of the TC/SC is in favour and not more than one-quarter of the total number of votes cast are negative. If these approval criteria are not met, the FDIS is referred back to the originating TC/SC for reconsideration in light of the technical reasons submitted in support of the negative votes received.

Reference: ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1, Article 2.7



6) Publication stage

Once a final draft International Standard has been approved, the final text is sent to the ISO Central Secretariat, which publishes the International Standard.

Reference: ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1, Article 2.8