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ISO 3166 reserved codes

Last modified: 2005-07-23 by rob raeside
Keywords: iso3166 |
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In FOTW we generally use ISO3166 codes to file pages and images. Information on the ISO-3166 list is here. Some ISO3166 codes are reserved for possible future use.  Here is a list of exceptionally reserved codes from ISO 3166-1 for information:

See also:

The ISO 3166 maintenance agency notes in its FAQ:

04: Why is the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) coded GB in ISO 3166-1?

A: 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 not being appropriate for ISO 3166-1, the code GB for the United Kingdom was created from Great Britain. Incidentally, GB is also the United Kingdom's international road vehicle distinguishing sign - the code on the oval nationality stickers on cars.

This confirms to a degree what I've read about the development of the ISO, where the UN Traffic Conventions played a significant role in the assignment of names in many instances, but not all.

Some additional FAQ questions show:

11: What are the codes for Ceuta, Melilla and Canary Islands in ISO 3166-1?
A: There are no official ISO 3166-1 code elements for these Spanish territories. However, these Spanish territories have a particular customs status which justified the allocation of reserved code elements to them. 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.

12: Are there codes for Guernsey, Jersey, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man in ISO 3166-1?
A: There are no official ISO 3166-1 codes for these names. However for some of them reserved code elements exist:

Guernsey: GG, GGY
Jersey: JE, JEY
Isle of Man: IM, IMN
No numeric-3 codes were assigned by the ISO 3166/MA. These codes were reserved for use in postal applications only. Contrary to that restriction made by the ISO 3166/MA, today many applications outside the original scope of the reservation, i.e. outside the postal sector, also use the reserved codes for these island names.

There is no code - be it officially published or reserved - in ISO 3166-1 for the name Channel Islands.

Phil Nelson, 15 January 2003

In ISO 3166-2 Newsletter I-2, but there appear to be first level division codes for:

England - ENG
Northern Ireland - NIR
Scotland - SCT
Wales - WLS and CYM

which should be preceded by GB-

Phil Nelson, 19 November 2004