ISO 3166

ISO 3166 is a standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that defines codes for the names of countries, dependent territories, special areas of geographical interest, and their principal subdivisions (e.g., provinces or states). The official name of the standard is Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions.

Parts

It consists of three parts:[1]

  • ISO 3166-1, Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 1: Country codes, defines codes for the names of countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. It defines three sets of country codes:
  • ISO 3166-2, Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 2: Country subdivision code, defines codes for the names of the principal subdivisions (e.g., provinces, states, departments, regions) of all countries coded in ISO 3166-1.
  • ISO 3166-3, Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 3: Code for formerly used names of countries, defines codes for country names which have been deleted from ISO 3166-1 since its first publication in 1974.

Editions

The first edition of ISO 3166 was published in 1974, which included only alphabetic country codes. The second edition, published in 1981, also included numeric country codes, with the third and fourth editions published in 1988 and 1993 respectively. The fifth edition, published between 1997 and 1999, was expanded into three parts to include codes for subdivisions and former countries.[1]

ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency

The ISO 3166 standard is maintained by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (ISO 3166/MA), located at the ISO central office in Geneva. Originally it was located at the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) in Berlin. Its principal tasks are:[1]

  • To add and to eliminate country names (respectively, country subdivision names) and to assign code elements to them;
  • To publish lists of country names (respectively, country subdivision names) and code elements;
  • To maintain a reference list of all country code elements and country subdivision code elements used and their period of use;
  • To issue newsletters announcing changes to the code tables;
  • To advise users on the application of ISO 3166.

Members

There are fifteen experts with voting rights on the ISO 3166/MA.[1] Nine are representatives of national standards organizations:

The other six are representatives of major United Nations agencies or other international organizations who are all users of ISO 3166-1:

The ISO 3166/MA has further associated members who do not participate in the votes but who, through their expertise, have significant influence on the decision-taking procedure in the maintenance agency.

Current country codes

Please see the List of ISO 3166 country codes.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d "Country Codes - ISO 3166". International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

External links

Country code top-level domain

A country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is an Internet top-level domain generally used or reserved for a country, sovereign state, or dependent territory identified with a country code.

All ASCII ccTLD identifiers are two letters long, and all two-letter top-level domains are ccTLDs. In 2018, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) began implementing internationalized country code top-level domains, consisting of language-native characters when displayed in an end-user application. Creation and delegation of ccTLDs is described in RFC 1591, corresponding to ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes.

ISO 3166-1

ISO 3166-1 is part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and defines codes for the names of countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. The official name of the standard is Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 1: Country codes. It defines three sets of country codes:

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 – two-letter country codes which are the most widely used of the three, and used most prominently for the Internet's country code top-level domains (with a few exceptions).

ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 – three-letter country codes which allow a better visual association between the codes and the country names than the alpha-2 codes.

ISO 3166-1 numeric – three-digit country codes which are identical to those developed and maintained by the United Nations Statistics Division, with the advantage of script (writing system) independence, and hence useful for people or systems using non-Latin scripts.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.

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes are two-letter country codes defined in ISO 3166-1, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), to represent countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. They are the most widely used of the country codes published by ISO (the others being alpha-3 and numeric), and are used most prominently for the Internet's country code top-level domains (with a few exceptions). They are also used as country identifiers extending the postal code when appropriate within the international postal system for paper mail, and has replaced the previous one consisting one-letter codes. They were first included as part of the ISO 3166 standard in its first edition in 1974.

ISO 3166-1 alpha-3

ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 codes are three-letter country codes defined in ISO 3166-1, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), to represent countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. They allow a better visual association between the codes and the country names than the two-letter alpha-2 codes (the third set of codes is numeric and hence offers no visual association). They were first included as part of the ISO 3166 standard in its first edition in 1974.

ISO 3166-2

ISO 3166-2 is part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and defines codes for identifying the principal subdivisions (e.g., provinces or states) of all countries coded in ISO 3166-1. The official name of the standard is Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 2: Country subdivision code. It was first published in 1998.

The purpose of ISO 3166-2 is to establish an international standard of short and unique alphanumeric codes to represent the relevant administrative divisions and dependent territories of all countries in a more convenient and less ambiguous form than their full names. Each complete ISO 3166-2 code consists of two parts, separated by a hyphen:

The first part is the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code of the country;

The second part is a string of up to three alphanumeric characters, which is usually obtained from national sources and stems from coding systems already in use in the country concerned, but may also be developed by the ISO itself.Each complete ISO 3166-2 code can then be used to uniquely identify a country subdivision in a global context.

As of 26 November 2018 there are 4,965 codes defined in ISO 3166-2. For some countries, codes are defined for more than one level of subdivisions.

ISO 3166-3

ISO 3166-3 is part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and defines codes for country names which have been deleted from ISO 3166-1 since its first publication in 1974. The official name of the standard is Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 3: Code for formerly used names of countries. It was first published in 1999.

Each former country name in ISO 3166-3 is assigned a four-letter alphabetic code. The first two letters are the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code of the former country, while the last two letters are allocated according to the following rules:

If the country changed its name, the new ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code is used (e.g., Burma changed its name to Myanmar, whose new alpha-2 code is MM), or the special code AA is used if its alpha-2 code was not changed (e.g., Byelorussian SSR changed its name to Belarus, which has kept the same alpha-2 code).

If the country merged into an existing country, the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code of this country is used (e.g., the German Democratic Republic merged into Germany, whose alpha-2 code is DE).

If the country was divided into several parts, the special code HH is used to indicate that there is no single successor country (e.g., Czechoslovakia was divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia), with the exception of Serbia and Montenegro, for which XX is used to avoid duplicate use of the same ISO 3166-3 code, as the alpha-2 code CS had twice been deleted from ISO 3166-1, the first time due to the split of Czechoslovakia and the second time due to the split of Serbia and Montenegro.Besides the former country name and its ISO 3166-3 code, each entry in ISO 3166-3 also contains its former ISO 3166-1 codes, its period of validity, and the new country names and ISO 3166-1 codes used after its deletion from ISO 3166-1.

After a country is deleted from ISO 3166-1, its alpha-2 and alpha-3 codes will be transitionally reserved for a transitional period of at least fifty years. After the expiration of the transitional period, these codes are free to be reassigned.

If a country changes its name without any territorial change, its ISO 3166-1 numeric code remains the same. For example, when Burma was renamed Myanmar without territorial change in 1989, its alphabetic codes were changed, but its numeric code 104 has remained the same.

Currently, a few ccTLDs using deleted alpha-2 codes are still active or being phased out. However, alpha-2 codes which were deleted before the popularization of the Domain Name System in the late 1980s and early 1990s were never used for the Internet's country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). Likewise, ISO 3166-2, the ISO standard for country subdivision codes which was first published in 1998, predated the deletion of many alpha-2 codes.

List of ISO 3166 country codes

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) created and maintains the ISO 3166 standard – Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions. The ISO 3166 standard contains three parts:

ISO 3166-1 – Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 1: Country codes defines codes for the names of countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. It defines three sets of country codes:

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 – two-letter country codes which are also used to create the ISO 3166-2 country subdivision codes and the Internet country code top-level domains.

ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 – three-letter country codes which may allow a better visual association between the codes and the country names than the 3166-1 alpha-2 codes.

ISO 3166-1 numeric – three-digit country codes which are identical to those developed and maintained by the United Nations Statistics Division, with the advantage of script (writing system) independence, and hence useful for people or systems using non-Latin scripts.

ISO 3166-2 – Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 2: Country subdivision code defines codes for the names of the principal subdivisions (e.g., provinces, states, departments, regions) of all countries coded in ISO 3166-1.

ISO 3166-3 – Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 3: Code for formerly used names of countries defines codes for country names which have been deleted from ISO 3166-1 since its first publication in 1974.The ISO 3166-1 standard currently comprises 249 countries, 193 of which are sovereign states that are members of the United Nations. Many dependent territories in the ISO 3166-1 standard are also listed as a subdivision of their parent country in the ISO 3166-2 standard.

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