FAQs - Answers to questions relating to codes and names of specific countries
Why is Taiwan named Taiwan Province of China in ISO 3166-1?
The names in ISO 3166-1 - and thus on our Webpage - are taken from United Nations sources. These sources are authoritative inputs to the international country code standard. They are:
- The United Nations Bulletin Country Names
- Country and Region Codes for Statistical Use of the United Nations Statistics Division
Since Taiwan is not a UN member it does not figure in the UN bulletin on country names. The printed edition of the publication Country and region codes for statistical use gives the name we use in ISO 3166-1. By adhering to UN sources the ISO 3166/MA stays politically neutral.
Why is the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) coded GB in ISO 3166-1?
The codes in ISO 3166-1 are - wherever possible - chosen to reflect the significant, unique component of the country name in order to allow a visual association between country name and country code. Since name components like Republic, Kingdom, United, Federal or Democratic are used very often in country names we usually do not derive the country code elements from them in order to avoid ambiguity. The name components United and Kingdom are not appropriate for ISO 3166-1. Therefore the code "GB" was created from Great Britain and not "UK" for United Kingdom. Incidently, GB is also the United Kingdom's international road vehicle distinguishing sign - the code on the oval nationality stickers on cars.
What is the ISO 3166-1 code for the European Union?
You can use EU for the name European Union. Please note that this is not an official ISO 3166-1 country code. The European Union is not a country but rather an organization. As such it is not eligible to be formally included in ISO 3166-1. Recognizing, however, that many users of ISO 3166-1 have a practical need to encode that name the ISO 3166/MA reserved the two-letter combination EU for the purpose of identifying the European Union within the framework of ISO 3166-1.
What is the ISO 3166-1 code for Palestine?
The name we use in ISO 3166-1 for the area under the authority of the Palestinian Authority is the UN approved Occupied Palestinian Territory. The code elements for this territory are PS, PSE and 275 (alpha-2, alpha-3 and numeric, respectively).
What is the code for global, worldwide or unknown in ISO 3166-1?
There are no ISO 3166-1 codes for these entities because they are not country names. If you need to identify such an entity in your aplication of ISO 3166-1 please use one of the user-assigned code elements specified in clause 8.1.3 of ISO 3166-1 .
What is the code for Scotland in ISO 3166-1?
There is no separate ISO 3166-1 code for Scotland. It is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and its codes GB, GBR and 826 are also applicable to Scotland.
What is the code for Catalonia in ISO 3166-1?
There is no separate ISO 3166-1 code for Catalonia. It is part of the Kingdom of Spain and its codes ES, ESP and 724 are also applicable to Catalonia.
What is the code for Tahiti in ISO 3166-1?
There is no separate ISO 3166-1 code for Tahiti. Tahiti is the principal island of the Society Archipelago which itself forms part of French Polynesia. The ISO country codes for French Polynesia are PF, PYF and 258. Tahiti falls under these codes, too.
What are the codes for Ceuta, Melilla and Canary Islands in ISO 3166-1?
There are no official ISO 3166-1 code elements for these Spanish territories. However, these Spanish territories have a particular customs status which justified their attribution of reserved code elements. Ceuta and Melilla are jointly identified by the reserved code element EA. The reserved code element IC was assigned to the Canary Islands. No ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 or numeric-3 codes exist for these territories.