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American National
Standards (ANS) 

Introduction - What is an ANS?

An American National Standard (ANS) is a voluntary consensus standard that is developed in accordance with the ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards and subject to ANSI’s neutral oversight and approval. These requirements are designed to ensure that development of American National Standards is a fair and responsive process that is open to all directly and materially interested parties.

Consensus Bodies (ANS Voting Groups)

Thousands of individuals and representatives of companies, government agencies, industry, labor, and trade associations, consumer groups, academics, and others voluntarily participate in the development of American National Standards (ANS) through the work of approximately 240 voluntary consensus standards bodies accredited by ANSI. The inclusiveness and integrity of the ANS process encourages participation by the broadest range of subject-matter experts, resulting in high-quality standards that protect the public and foster fair commerce and innovation.

Who can sponsor American National Standards (ANS)?

While anyone can participate in the ANS process, only ANSI-Accredited Standards Developers (ASDs) can submit standards for approval as American National Standards. An ANSI-Accredited Standards Developer is an organization that has voluntarily submitted its standards development procedures to ANSI for review and accreditation. ASDs’ procedures must comply with ANSI’s Essential Requirements, including provisions for demonstrating openness, balance, lack of dominance, due process, and consensus. Once accredited, an ASD agrees to comply with ANSI's oversight when submitting individual standards for approval as ANS, including provisions for demonstrating openness, balance, lack of dominance, due process, and consensus. Once accredited, an ASD agrees to comply with ANSI's oversight when submitting individual standards for approval as ANS.

More to Know

What are the benefits of the ANS designation?

Designation as an American National Standard (ANS) indicates that ANSI’s due process requirements – including openness, balance, and consensus – have been met in the development of a standard. But how does this translate into value?

  • As the mark of an equitable, open process, the ANS designation is recognized and valued by national and international stakeholders, fostering acceptance and use of a voluntary consensus standard and the overall strength of the U.S. system.
  • The ANS designation demonstrates that a standard’s development process satisfies the U.S. government’s definition of a voluntary consensus standard and compliance with U.S. policy regarding federal reliance on voluntary consensus standards: OMB Circular A-119 and the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act.
  • The ANS designation indicates compliance with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Code of Good Practice (CGP) criteria for openness, transparency, impartiality, consensus, relevance, and effectiveness in standards development, resulting in the use of many American National Standards globally when they meet an international marketplace need.
  • American National Standards serve as the basis for many ISO, IEC, or other international standards.
  • And many ISO, IEC, and ISO/IEC JTC 1 standards are nationally adopted by ANSI-Accredited Standards Developers as American National Standards.

How do you identify an American National Standard (ANS)?

Every ANS has a unique alpha-numeric designation based on the individual developer's naming conventions. Designations frequently include the acronym of the ANSI-Accredited Standards Developer (ASD).

  • Here's a common format, where the inclusion of ANSI means the standard is an ANS; "XYZ" represents the acronym of the ASD; 123 is the number of the standard, and 2020 is the year of publication:

    ANSI/XYZ 123-2020

  • If "ANSI" appears in the designation, then you know it's an ANS. However, not all ANS include “ANSI” in the designation.
  • ASDs choose their own naming conventions. For example, each of these could be an ANS:
    • ANSI/XYZ 123-2020
    • XYZ 123-2020
    • XYZ 123
  • “BSR” in the designation of a standard on ANSI’s website indicates that it has been proposed but is not yet approved as an ANS.

So how can you tell for sure?

  • All ANS must be labeled on the cover or front matter, via text identifying "an American National Standard," or with the ANS mark:

Where can I find updated info on proposed or approved ANS?

All ANSI-Accredited Standards (ASDs) that sponsor and publish American National Standards (ANS) are required to provide public review opportunities and maintain their ANS as per the ANSI Essential Requirements. As a result, information on all proposed, approved, revised, re-affirmed, or withdrawn American National Standards is made available by ANSI through the following:

ANSI's Oversight of the American National Standards Process

ANSI’s key responsibilities in the American National Standards (ANS) process include:

  1. Accreditation of Standards Developers: ANSI accredits the voluntary consensus standards development procedures of organizations that agree to comply with the ANSI Essential Requirements and ANSI's neutral oversight, designating them ANSI-Accredited Standards Developers (ASDs) or ANSI Audited Designators.
  2. Approval of American National Standards: ANSI approves individual voluntary consensus standards submitted by ASDs, designating them American National Standards (ANS).

All ANSI-Accredited Standards Developers and all American National Standards are subject to ANSI’s neutral third-party oversight via ANSI’s audit program, appeals provisions, periodic review of procedures, and other checks and balances that demonstrate compliance with ANSI’s procedural requirements.

ANS Oversight Committees

Three main oversight committees make decisions about the accreditation of standards developers and the approval of standards as American National Standards (ANS):

These groups are made up of neutral, knowledgeable professionals from ANSI's membership community, who are subject to ANSI's conflict of interest policy. They oversee the integrity of the ANS consensus process by assessing evidence of procedural compliance with ANSI's Essential Requirements.

The ExSC, BSR, and Appeals Board report to the ANSI National Policy Committee (NPC), a governance committee responsible for broad-based policy decisions regarding national standards development process issues, government relations, and public policy issues and reporting to the Executive Committee of the ANSI Board of Directors.

Get involved

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Standards Developers

Are you a standards developer interested in ANSI accreditation? Or an ANSI-Accredited Standards Developer looking to submit standards for approval as ANS?

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General Public

Are you an individual looking to get involved in the American National Standards (ANS) process or just looking to learn more about ANS? Find out about the different ways you can participate.

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