(Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 1: Country codes
) is a standard defining codes for the names of countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. It is the first part of the ISO 3166
standard published by the International Organization for Standardization
The alphabetic country codes were first included in ISO 3166 in 1974, and the numeric country codes were first included in 1981. The country codes have been published as ISO 3166-1 since 1997, when ISO 3166 was expanded into three parts, with ISO 3166-2
defining codes for subdivisions
and ISO 3166-3
defining codes for former countries
As a widely used international standard, ISO 3166-1 is implemented in other standards and used by international organizations
to allow facilitation of the exchange of goods and information.
However, it is not the only standard for country codes. Other country codes
used by many international organizations are partly or totally incompatible with ISO 3166-1,
although some of them closely correspond to ISO 3166-1 codes.
Criteria for inclusion
countries, territories, or areas of geographical interest are assigned official codes in ISO 3166-1. According to the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (ISO 3166/MA), the only way to enter a new country name into ISO 3166-1 is to have it registered in one of the following two sources:
- United Nations Terminology Bulletin Country Names, or
- Country and Region Codes for Statistical Use of the UN Statistics Division.
To be listed in the bulletin Country Names
, a country must be at least one of the following:
The list of names in Country and Region Codes for Statistical Use of the UN Statistics Division is based on the bulletin Country Names and other UN sources.
Once a country name or territory name appears in either of these two sources, it will be added to ISO 3166-1 by default.
The ISO 3166/MA may reserve code elements
for other entities that do not qualify for inclusion based on the above criteria.
For example, because the European Union
is not a country, it is not formally included in ISO 3166-1, but for practical reasons, the ISO 3166/MA has "reserved the two-letter combination EU
for the purpose of identifying the European Union within the framework of ISO 3166-1".
ISO 3166-1 is published officially in both English
. Since the second edition of ISO 3166-1, the following columns are included for each entry:
- Country Name – English (or French) short name (all upper-case)
- English (or French) short name lower case (title case)
- English (or French) full name
- Alpha-2 code
- Alpha-3 code
- Numeric code
- Additional information: Administrative language(s) alpha-2 code element(s)
- Additional information: Administrative language(s) alpha-3 code element(s)
- Additional information: Local short name(s)
Naming and code construction
The country names used in ISO 3166-1 are taken from the two UN sources mentioned above. Some country names used by the UN, and accordingly by ISO, are subject to dispute:
The codes are chosen, according to the ISO 3166/MA, "to reflect the significant, unique component of the country name in order to allow a visual association between country name and country code".
For this reason, common components of country names like "Republic", "Kingdom", "United", "Federal" or "Democratic" are normally not used for deriving the code elements. As a consequence, for example, the United Kingdom
is officially assigned the alpha-2 code GB
rather than UK
, based on its official name "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" (although UK
on the request of the United Kingdom). Some codes are chosen based on the native names of the countries. For example, Germany
is assigned the alpha-2 code DE
, based on its native name "Deutschland".
Officially assigned code elements
The following is a complete ISO 3166-1 encoding list of the countries which are assigned official codes.
It is listed in alphabetical order by the country's English short name used by the ISO 3166/MA.
Note: Each country's alpha-2 code is linked to more information about the assignment of its code elements.
Reserved and user-assigned code elements
Besides the officially assigned codes, code elements may be expanded by using either reserved codes or user-assigned codes.
Reserved code elements are codes which have become obsolete, or are required in order to enable a particular user application of the standard but do not qualify for inclusion in ISO 3166-1. To avoid transitional application problems and to aid users who require specific additional code elements for the functioning of their coding systems, the ISO 3166/MA, when justified, reserves these codes which it undertakes not to use for other than specified purposes during a limited or indeterminate period of time. Codes are usually reserved for former countries, overseas territories, international organizations, and special nationality status. The reserved alpha-2 and alpha-3 codes can be divided into the following four categories (click on the links for the reserved codes of each category):
User-assigned code elements are codes at the disposal of users who need to add further names of countries, territories, or other geographical entities to their in-house application of ISO 3166-1, and the ISO 3166/MA will never use these codes in the updating process of the standard. The following codes can be user-assigned:
- Alpha-2: AA, QM to QZ, XA to XZ, and ZZ
- Alpha-3: AAA to AAZ, QMA to QZZ, XAA to XZZ, and ZZA to ZZZ
- Numeric: 900 to 999
User-assigned codes in wide use
The ISO 3166/MA updates ISO 3166-1 when necessary. A country is usually assigned new ISO 3166-1 codes if it changes its name or its territorial boundaries. In general, new alphabetic codes are assigned if a country changes a significant part of its name, while a new numeric code is assigned if a country changes its territorial boundaries. Codes for formerly used country names that were deleted from ISO 3166-1 are published in ISO 3166-3
ISO used to announce changes in newsletters which updated the currently valid standard, and releasing new editions which comprise a consolidation of newsletter changes. As of July 2013, changes are published in the online catalogue of ISO only, and no newsletters are published anymore. Past newsletters remain available through the search option on the ISO website.
- ^ Comprising Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba.
- ^ Comprising Saint Helena, Ascension Island, and Tristan da Cunha.
- ^ Comprising Svalbard and Jan Mayen.
- ^ See also the table in § Naming and disputes above.
- ^ Comprising Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Navassa Island, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island.
- ^ a b c d e f g "Country Codes - ISO 3166". International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Archived from the original on 2017-01-23. Retrieved 2018-05-09.
- ^ "Country names and code elements". ISO. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2020-09-07. Officially assigned codes 249
- ^ "Qualifying top-level domain strings: Eligible categories of top-level domains". Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Archived from the original on 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- ^ "ISO 3166 – FAQs – General Questions". ISO. Archived from the original on 2007-03-06.
- ^ a b c "ISO 3166 – FAQs – Specific". ISO. Archived from the original on 2012-06-16.
- ^ "ISO 3166 information for CN". International Organization for Standardization. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
- ^ "ISO 3166 information for CY". International Organization for Standardization. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
- ^ "ISO 3166 information for FK". International Organization for Standardization. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
- ^ "ISO 3166 information for PS". International Organization for Standardization. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2020-01-30. Remark: Conventional names.
- ^ "ISO 3166 information for TW". International Organization for Standardization. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
- ^ "ISO 3166 information for EH". International Organization for Standardization. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2020-01-30. Remark: Provisional name.
- ^ "Country names and code elements". ISO. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
- ^ "Glossary for ISO 3166 - Codes for countries and their subdivisions". ISO. Archived from the original on 2018-07-28. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
- ^ "Check if you're trading under the Northern Ireland protocol and what to do". HM Revenue & Customs, UK. 2020-12-07. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- ^ "ISO 3166-1 - New access". ISO. Archived from the original on 2021-05-09. Retrieved 2017-07-19.
Sources and external links
Last edited on 9 May 2021, at 09:41
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