Format of LEI code (ISO 17442)

LEI Common Data Format

The LEI Code has been defined and specified in the International Standard ISO 17442, issued on June 1st, 2016.

The code consists of 20 characters (digits and uppercase letters A-Z):

  • Four digits to identify the LOU (Local Operating Unit) that issued the LEI
  • Two reserved characters
  • Twelve digits that identify the legal entity
  • Two checksum characters


The following diagram depicts the structure of the LEI Code:


The ISO 17442 standard defines, in its scope, the applicability of the identifier to the “legal entities”. This term “includes, but is not limited to, unique parties that are legally or financially responsible for the performance of financial transactions or have the legal right in their jurisdiction to enter independently into legal contracts, regardless of whether they are incorporated or constituted in some other way (e.g. trust, partnership, contractual). It excludes natural persons, but includes governmental organizations and supra-nationals” [1]

According to the standard, the LEI Code allows for the retrieval of the LEI Data Record (however, the actual format of the record is not specified in the standard – more information about the foundation in the section LEI Governance). The Standard requests the LEI Data Record to contain, at a minimum, the following reference data for each LEI Code:

  • The official name of the legal entity as recorded in the respective official business registry
  • The registered address of the headquarters of the legal entity
  • The address and the country of the legal formation (encoded according to the ISO 3166 standard)
  • The date of the first LEI code assignment
  • The date of the last update of the LEI reference data
  • The date of the entity expiry, and the reasons for the expiry (if applicable). If another entity acquired the expired entity, its LEI should be recorded (if applicable).

The GLEIF Foundation (more information about the foundation in the section LEI Governance) lists four fundamental principles that underlie the structure of an LEI [2]:

  • Globality – The global scope of the standard
  • Uniqueness – a single, unique identifier is assigned to each legal entity
  • Data Quality – the standard is supported by high-quality data
  • Free Availability – the standard is a public good, available free-of-charge to all users