Re: Those customs stickers on cars

From: Tony Harminc (
Date: Fri Jun 13 1997 - 17:19:39 EDT

On 13 Jun 97 at 8:26, Frank wrote:

> These are country abbreviations that are not the same as the 2-letter or
> 3-letter ISO ones (e.g. D for Deutschland, F for France -- only one letter).
> I believe these are the same abbreviations that are used in continental
> European postal codes, e.g. B-nnnn, D-nnnnn, F-nnnnn, NL-nnnn XX, FIN-nnnn,
> etc.

There are several oddities: the variable length, the mixed languages
(some native and some English abbreviations), and in the case of
CDN=Canada it is not possible to derive CDN by any obvious process
from the letters in Canada. So perhaps it's derived from Canadian,
implying even more strangeness.

Speaking of customs and country codes, a couple of years ago I (a
Canadian citizen) was entering Canada at the Vancouver airport, and
filled in the customs/immigration form with my home address. They
had a little box for "Country" so I filled in CA. The customs
officer wanted to know why I was claiming to live in California, and
when I said that CA was the ISO standard code for Canada I was sent
off to have my luggage searched, for my impudence!

So I would be wary of putting an ISO3166 code on a car when crossing
a border. Or even on a letter - is "Ontario, CA" in Canada or the
USA ? And where is Palestine, IL ?

Tony Harminc
(In Toronto, Ontario, CA)

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