Rails – Country Select

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Provides a simple helper to get an HTML select list of countries using the ISO 3166-1 standard.

While the ISO 3166 standard is a relatively neutral source of country names, it may still offend some users. Developers are strongly advised to evaluate the suitability of this list given their user base.


An important message about upgrading from 1.x

Reporting issues

Open an issue on the issue tracker. Ideally provide versions used, and code example that demonstrates the issue.


Install as a gem using

gem install country_select

Or put the following in your Gemfile

gem 'country_select', '~> 8.0'


Within form_for you can use this select like other form elements:

<%= form_for User.new, url: root_url do |f| %>
  <%= f.country_select :country_code %>
<% end %>

Simple use supplying model and attribute as parameters:

country_select("user", "country")

Supplying priority countries to be placed at the top of the list:

country_select("user", "country", priority_countries: ["GB", "FR", "DE"]) # Countries will be sorted by name according to the current locale
# or
country_select("user", "country", priority_countries: ["GB", "FR", "DE"], sort_provided: false) # Countries will be displayed is the provided order

Supplying only certain countries:

country_select("user", "country", only: ["GB", "FR", "DE"]) # Countries will be sorted by name according to the current locale
# or
country_select("user", "country", only: ["GB", "FR", "DE"], sort_provided: false) # Countries will be displayed is the provided order

Discarding certain countries:

country_select("user", "country", except: ["GB", "FR", "DE"])

Pre-selecting a particular country:

country_select("user", "country", selected: "GB")

Changing the divider when priority_countries is active.

country_select("user", "country", priority_countries: ["AR", "US"], priority_countries_divider: "~~~~~~")

Using existing select options:

country_select("user", "country", include_blank: true)
country_select("user", "country", { include_blank: 'Select a country' }, { class: 'country-select-box' })

Supplying additional html options:

country_select("user", "country", { priority_countries: ["GB", "FR"], selected: "GB" }, { class: 'form-control', data: { attribute: "value" } })

Using a custom formatter

You can define a custom formatter which will receive an ISO3166::Country

# config/initializers/country_select.rb

# Return a string to customize the text in the <option> tag, `value` attribute will remain unchanged
CountrySelect::FORMATS[:with_alpha2] = lambda do |country|
  "#{country.iso_short_name} (#{country.alpha2})"

# Return an array to customize <option> text, `value` and other HTML attributes
CountrySelect::FORMATS[:with_data_attrs] = lambda do |country|
      'data-country-code' => country.country_code,
      'data-alpha3' => country.alpha3
country_select("user", "country", format: :with_alpha2)
country_select("user", "country", format: :with_data_attrs)

Using customized defaults

You can configure overridable defaults for except, format, locale, only, priority_countries and priority_countries_divider in an initializer.

# config/initializers/country_select.rb

CountrySelect::DEFAULTS[:except] = [ "ZZ" ]

The example would exclude "ZZ" from every country_select tag, where no except option is given.

ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes

The option tags use ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes as values and the country names as display strings. For example, the United States would appear as <option value="US">United States of America</option>

Country names are automatically localized based on the value of I18n.locale thanks to the wonderful countries gem.

Current translations include:

  • en
  • de
  • es
  • fr
  • it
  • ja
  • nl

In the event a translation is not available, it will revert to the globally assigned locale (by default, "en").

This is the only way to use country_select as of version 2.0. It is the recommended way to store your country data since it will be resistant to country names changing.

The locale can be overridden locally:

country_select("user", "country_code", locale: 'es')

Getting the Country Name from the countries gem

class User < ActiveRecord::Base

  # Assuming country_select is used with User attribute `country_code`
  # This will attempt to translate the country name and use the default
  # (usually English) name if no translation is available
  def country_name
    country = ISO3166::Country[country_code]
    country.translations[I18n.locale.to_s] || country.common_name || country.iso_short_name


Example Application

An example Rails application demonstrating the different options is available at countries/country_select_demo and deployed to country-select-demo.onrender.com. The relevant view files live here.



bundle exec rake

Updating gemfiles

The default rake task will run the tests against multiple versions of Rails. That means the gemfiles need occasional updating, especially when changing the dependencies in the gemspec.

for i in gemfiles/*.gemfile
BUNDLE_GEMFILE=$i bundle install --local

Copyright (c) 2008 Michael Koziarski, released under the MIT license