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Terminology owner/maintenance organisation

Name, contact details, website

ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency
c/o International Organization for Standardization
Chemin de Blandonnet 8
CP 401
1214 Vernier, Geneva
Switzerland

Telephone: +41 22 749 01 11
E-mail: customerservice@iso.org
website: https://www.iso.org/iso-3166-country-codes.html

Formal name of the code system

ISO 3166 Country Codes

Short name or abbreviation of the code system name

ISO 3166
Technical identifier/s for the code system 

(Note: These should be used for both the 2 and 3 character formats)

OID:                      1.0.3166.1
Canonical URL:      https://www.iso.org/iso-3166-country-codes.html 
URN:                      urn:iso:std:iso:3166

Scope/domain statement for the code system

(Official or from HTA)

The purpose of ISO 3166 is to define internationally recognised codes of letters and/or numbers that we can use when we refer to countries and subdivisions. However, it does not define the names of countries – this information comes from United Nations sources (Terminology Bulletin Country Names and the Country and Region Codes for Statistical Use maintained by the United Nations Statistics Divisions). 

SO 3166 has three parts: codes for countries, codes for subdivisions and formerly used codes (codes that were once used to describe countries but are no longer in use).
The country codes can be represented either as a two-letter code (alpha-2) which is recommended as the general purpose code, a three-letter code (alpha-3) which is more closely related to the country name and a three digit numeric code (numeric -3) which can be useful if you need to avoid using Latin script.
The codes for subdivisions are represented as the alpha-2 code for the country, followed by up to three characters. For example ID-RI is the Riau province of Indonesia and NG-RI is the Rivers province in Nigeria. Names and codes for subdivisions are usually taken from relevant official national information sources.
The formerly used codes are four letter codes (alpha-4). How the alpha 4 codes are constructed depends on the reason why the country name has been removed.

Link to information about the code system - including how to obtain the content

https://www.iso.org/iso-3166-country-codes.html

Arrangement or agreements with HL7 for use of content

2019-10-14: Patricia Cook from ISO Central Secretariat (responsible for 3166): "You don’t need any permission to include the ISO 3166 country codes in lists or software, this is fine."
Version management - timing and identification of versionsISO 3166 is regularly updated to reflect changes in country names and subdivisions. These changes are done by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (ISO3166/MA).

IP Information and Licensing Information

ISO Maintains the copyright on the country codes, and controls it's use carefully. 
The codes in ISO 3166 are available on the Online Browsing Platform. The information on the OBP is always up to date and you can sign up for notifications to be informed when changes are made by clicking on the follow function in the top right hand corner.
We also have a product, the Country Codes Collection, which you can preview free of charge on the OBP (where you will also find a decoding table). It contains the codes from parts 1, 2 and 3 of ISO 3166 in 3 different formats: .xml, .csv, and .xls for easy integration into your own systems. You will be notified when changes are made so you can download the latest versions. In this way, you can be sure that your database is always using the most up-to-date information from ISO.

HL7 users of this information - which HL7 products use this link (if known)

HL7-v2.x, HL7-v3.x, HL7-FHIR

Process to request content change

Following notification from the United Nations (UN), the ISO 3166 maintenance agency assigns alpha-2 and alpha-3 country code elements to new UN member states. The numeric country code is assigned by the UN.
As a general rule, the ISO 3166 maintenance agency does not assign official country code elements to other geopolitical areas or countries that are not member states of the UN.
However, the ISO 3166 maintenance agency may assign country codes to dependencies of countries that are member states of the UN. To be considered, some criteria, amongst others, include that the area be physically separated from its parent country and outside its territorial waters. Even if all criteria are met, the ISO 3166 maintenance agency may decide not to assign a code element, for example, due to the very limited number of official alpha-2 code elements available.

Other useful Information

A few country codes have been reused (e.g. CS). If a version is needed, simply use the year of publication e.g. 1998.
Country Codes Collection:
It allows you to download  (CHF. 300,00) the most recent, official lists of country codes and/or subdivisions not to mention formerly used codes in one convenient location.
The collection contains the codes from parts 1, 2 and 3 of ISO 3166 in 3 different formats: .xml, .csv, and .xls for easy integration into your own systems. You will be notified when changes are made so you can download the latest versions. In this way, you can be sure that your database is always using the most up-to-date information from ISO.
The service is automatically renewed every year, which means that you will keep receiving updates until you stop the auto renewal on your account.

Information current as at (date)

2019-10-21
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