Why is it that Kosovo still hasn't got its own ccTLD?

Kosovo is (semi)-independent, from Serbia (former Yugoslavia), since 2008. Montenegro is independent since 2006. Montenegro has the .me domain since its year of independence.

Even Palestine (which isn't fully recognized) has its own ccTLD.

  • 2
    A ccTLD isn't always associated with a real-world political entity. The domain for the former Soviet Union still exists as .su. nic.su/dns/domain/su.html Jan 19, 2015 at 17:31
  • @StefanLasiewski it's not so simple though. .su needs to transition to a different TLD or apply to be re-instated into ISO 3166-1. See: blog.icann.org/2007/09/the-lives-of-country-code-domains
    – faker
    Jan 19, 2015 at 19:27
  • Oh I never said it was simple. But it's interesting. Jan 19, 2015 at 21:43
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this a 100% political question.
    – Sven
    Jun 23, 2018 at 15:49
  • While the political context is likely relevant and also off-topic in this case, the ICANN decision processes and standards are relevant and also on-topic. I think the balance is more to leave this question open, but if this question remains here, but as a closed one, is also a fair compromise.
    – peterh
    May 21, 2019 at 15:58

3 Answers 3


ICANN explains this pretty well in their blog (https://www.icann.org/news/blog/abkhazia-kosovo-south-ossetia-transnistria-my-oh-my):

As at this time, Abkhazia, Kosovo, Transnistria, Somaliland, South Ossetia and others are not in the ISO 3166-1 standard, so ICANN is not in a position to grant any corresponding country-code domain for them. By strictly adhering to the ISO 3166-1 standard, we ensure that ICANN remains neutral by relying upon a widely recognised and impartial international standard.

  • 4
    Good source, good answer, can't believe I haven't found this article myself!
    – Duco
    Jan 18, 2015 at 15:51
  • 2
    I can feel a CGP Grey video coming on...
    – jonbaldie
    Jan 18, 2015 at 15:54
  • 3
    Just as a sidenote: SWIFT used to do the same until it decided Kosovo really needs to have IBAN, so it decided to use a “user-defined ISO 3166-1 code” XK
    – Mormegil
    Jan 18, 2015 at 22:05
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    Had anyone else never heard of any of those countries (other than Kosovo) before? Jan 20, 2015 at 7:11
  • 1
    Yes @Jonathon; all of them. There was a war fought over Abkhazia and South Ossetia a few years ago.
    – Ben
    Jan 20, 2015 at 7:22

Because Kosovo is not (fully) legally recognized. As a result it doesn't have a UN seat either.

Quite a political question for SF :)

  • 10
    Actually, IANA try to stay out of politics by using ISO3166-1 Alpha-2 codes, which in turn are based on the list of statistically interesting regions of the UN statistics bureau and thus independent of any and all political considerations as to what exactly is and isn't a country. (A definition that's impossible, basically, a country is a country when it's recognized by other countries as a country.) See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-1#Criteria_for_inclusion Jan 19, 2015 at 0:41
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    Quote: "The IANA is not in the business of deciding what is and what is not a country. The selection of the ISO 3166 list as a basis for country code top-level domain names was made with the knowledge that ISO has a procedure for determining which entities should be and should not be on that list.”— Jon Postel, RFC 1591 Jan 19, 2015 at 0:42
  • 1
    Thanks @JörgWMittag - I said the question was political, not necessarily that the answer was.
    – smci
    Jan 19, 2015 at 2:14

The previous writers have already mention the fact that ISO only "copies" the country lists of the UN, to avoid poltical trouble. As an Albanian from Kosovo I'm following this kind of discussions for years.

Update: There are 3 criteria for inclusion into ISO 3166-1 and Kosovo meets two of them:

  • A member of one of its specialized agencies (International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group)
  • A party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice ( It is now)

The rest is bureaucratic gossip.

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