After implementation of the management system, i.e. setting up the processes as well as documentation, a laboratory applies for accreditation through the national accreditation body in their country or, if they have a choice, a selected accreditation body.
The accreditation body will assess the competence of the laboratory to perform operations impartially and consistently to produce valid results. If recommended for accreditation, the accreditation body will then accredit the laboratory and award the accreditation certificate.
The accreditation process can typically take between 6 to 8 months. Each accreditation body will have a guideline on this, which you can obtain from them. The first time period is between application (with submission of documents) and the initial assessment. This could be around three months. The second period is between assessment and clearing any findings. The accreditation body will provide, typically 3 months for the laboratory to do root cause analysis and clear the findings of the initial assessment, i.e take action (not the promise to do so). Thereafter, the accreditation body will have a time frame, perhaps a month to issue the certificate.