A quick guide to registers

What is a register?

A GOV.UK register is a structured dataset of government information.

Each register:

  • only contains data on a specific subject
  • is kept up-to-date by a subject matter expert from the relevant government organisation
  • shares a common API that supports JSON and CSV

Learn more about the characteristics of a register

Who registers are for

Government services

For example, the country register lists all countries recognised by the UK government. It is updated by a subject matter expert, called a custodian, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

GOV.UK Pay uses the country register and territory register register to populate a dropdown list when users enter their billing address.

Services using registers can:

  • reduce the time and cost of sourcing data from across government
  • receive data that is ready to use with no need for data cleansing
  • be confident that their service is using the most up-to-date government data

Learn more about how registers help government services

Data managers

Registers can also help if you collect, manage or store data for your organisation.

Data managers who create a register:

  • only need to publish data in one place – there’s no need to update multiple lists and datasets whenever something changes
  • can easily share their data across government

How to access a register

All registers can be accessed and used freely by anyone.

You can use our API to automatically pull data from a register into your service. This means you’ll always use the most recent version of the data in a register. You can also download a copy of each register.

All registers are available as JSON or CSV.

You can see all the registers that are ready to use in our government registers collection.

Who is using registers

You can see which government services are already using registers.

You can also find out which government organisations. have created a register with their data.