As web designers, sometimes we need to work with lists of countries. For instance there is a new EU cookie law coming into action soon – that only applies to Europe. There is a worldwide standard that gives each country a 2 letter code.
The country code standard makes it easy for developers to combine different API’s consistently (standards are good). However there’s loads of country codes – and in order to fulfil our legal obligations I needed a list of 2 letter country codes applicable to Europe only. So, I created a list of codes that you can see (and use) below.
For a full list of all the ISO 2 letter country codes check out the Wikipedia page on the subject.
The European Country Codes
- AL – Albania
- AD – Andorra
- AM – Armenia
- AT – Austria (sometimes OE in German-speaking countries: for “Oesterreich”)
- BY – Belarus
- BE – Belgium
- BA – Bosnia and Herzegovina
- BG – Bulgaria
- CH – Switzerland (from Confoederatio Helvetica)
- CY – Cyprus
- CZ – Czech Republic
- DE – Germany
- DK – Denmark
- EE – Estonia
- ES – Spain
- FO – Faeroe Islands
- FI – Finland
- FR – France
- GB – United Kingdom (from Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
- GE – Georgia
- GI – Gibraltar
- GR – Greece
- HU – Hungary
- HR – Croatia
- IE – Ireland
- IS – Iceland
- IT – Italy
- LI – Liechtenstein
- LT – Lithuania
- LU – Luxembourg
- LV – Latvia
- MC – Monaco
- MK – Macedonia
- MT – Malta
- NO – Norway
- NL – Netherlands
- PL – Poland
- PT – Portugal
- RO – Romania
- RS – Serbia
- RU – Russian Federation
- SE – Sweden
- SI – Slovenia
- SK – Slovakia (Slovakian Republic)
- SM – San Marino
- TR – Turkey
- UA – Ukraine
- VA – Vatican City State
Since I made it for myself, here’s the list as a nice handy PHP array as well.
<?php $eu_countries = array( 'AL', 'AD', 'AM', 'AT', 'BY', 'BE', 'BA', 'BG', 'CH', 'CY', 'CZ', 'DE', 'DK', 'EE', 'ES', 'FO', 'FI', 'FR', 'GB', 'GE', 'GI', 'GR', 'HU', 'HR', 'IE', 'IS', 'IT', 'LI', 'LT', 'LU', 'LV', 'MC', 'MK', 'MT', 'NO', 'NL', 'PL', 'PT', 'RO', 'RS', 'RU', 'SE', 'SI', 'SK', 'SM', 'TR', 'UA', 'VA', ); ?>
Note – I know this isn’t a proper cheat sheet – but it’ll save me some time, and I can’t ctrl-c an image into my IDE 🙂
## Frequently Asked Questions
What are the EU country codes?
The EU country codes, also known as ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes, are two-letter codes assigned to each member state of the European Union. These codes are used for various international purposes, such as identifying countries in domain names, vehicle registration codes, and more.
What are EU abbreviations?
EU abbreviations typically refer to the short forms of European Union member states, represented by their two-letter ISO country codes. For example, “DE” stands for Germany, “FR” for France, and “IT” for Italy.
Is EU a valid ISO country code?
No, “EU” is not a valid ISO country code. The European Union is a political and economic union of European countries and does not have its own ISO country code.
Does UK still count as Europe?
Yes, geographically, the United Kingdom (UK) is still located in Europe. However, as of January 31, 2020, the UK officially left the European Union (EU) following the Brexit referendum.
What is the difference between the EU and the UK?
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 European countries, while the United Kingdom (UK) is a sovereign nation consisting of four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The UK was a member of the EU until Brexit.
What does ISO mean in country codes?
ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization. ISO country codes, specifically ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes, are standardized two-letter codes used internationally to represent countries and their subdivisions for various purposes.
Are country codes 2 or 3 digits?
ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes consist of two letters, while ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country codes consist of three letters. The choice between two or three letters depends on the level of specificity required for identification.
What are some common uses of ISO country codes?
ISO country codes have numerous practical applications, including:
- Internet domain names (e.g., .uk for the United Kingdom)
- International vehicle registration codes (e.g., GB for the United Kingdom)
- Identifying countries on shipping labels and passports
- Statistical and data analysis, such as in international trade records
Do all countries have ISO country codes?
No, not all entities or regions have ISO country codes. ISO codes are typically assigned to sovereign nations and territories with a certain degree of international recognition. Some smaller regions or entities may not have their own distinct codes and may be represented under a parent country’s code.
Are there exceptions to ISO country codes for territories or regions within countries?
Yes, there are exceptions. Some countries have specific codes assigned to their regions or territories for various purposes. For example, French Guiana has its own ISO code (GF) within the ISO 3166-1 standard, even though it is an overseas department of France.
What is the relationship between EU country codes and ISO country codes?
EU country codes are essentially a subset of ISO country codes specific to European Union member states. They are derived from ISO codes and represent the EU member states within the broader ISO coding system.
How often do ISO country codes change, and what is the process for updates?
ISO country codes do change occasionally, but these changes are relatively infrequent. Updates occur to reflect geopolitical changes, new countries or territories, or corrections. The ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency manages these updates through a defined process, which includes input from national authorities and stakeholders.
Can two countries share the same ISO country code?
While it is rare, there are instances where two or more countries share the same ISO country code. This usually occurs when countries have similar or the same names, leading to the assignment of the same code. In such cases, additional distinctions may be made through subdivisions or other codes, such as numeric codes, to avoid confusion in international contexts.