My cousin just got his first passport and I'm trying to convince him to get a new one as I'm sure the "country" part on the info page of his passport is wrong or maybe I'm wrong. So on the country born line it says: Dubai/ ARE...in his application he put "United Arab Emirates" so shouldn't his passport say U.A.E. or is the country code "ARE" for United Arab Emirates for a Canadian passport?

2 Answers 2


ARE is indeed the ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country code for United Arab Emirates. These are the codes used for machine readable passports as defined by ICAO. Looking at the wikipedia page showing the format used for machine readable passports you can see that the ISO 3166-1 codes are used both to identify the issuing country as well as the nationality of the passport holder. So your cousin's passport seems to be correct.

For completeness sake note that ARE is also the NATO 3-letter code for United Arab Emirates.

  • Wow, that's interesting as usually I have seen like "CAN" for Canada. Thanks! How do know so much? I typed in Google before asking here and found nothing. :-)
    – verve
    Feb 23, 2015 at 8:31
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    I'm not going to pretend I knew this off the top of my head. :) Truth is, not so long ago I was curiously browsing international country codes.
    – JoErNanO
    Feb 23, 2015 at 11:29
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    You may wonder why "U" for "United" is not part of the name. "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." web.archive.org/web/20120616044022/http://www.iso.org/iso/… Feb 24, 2015 at 0:02
  • @Michael Now I can SEE why it's "ARE" ! :-)
    – verve
    Feb 25, 2015 at 11:30
  • Yet the code for the United States of America is "USA". (I suppose the alternative is to derive a code from "America" which would cause other issues.) Aug 28, 2018 at 18:06

"ARE" is the ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country code and the NATO 3 letter code for the UAE. This means that yes, "ARE" is the country code in UAE passports.

  • 2
    I might have missed something, but what does this add over the existing answer?
    – Léo Lam
    Feb 23, 2015 at 19:07
  • Added the NATO code, and shortened it. Feb 23, 2015 at 19:08
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    I'm not sure what relevance a NATO code has for the average traverer, but StackExchange does favor comprehensiveness over brevity.
    – choster
    Feb 23, 2015 at 21:36

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