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I am getting a crazy import error message:

Invalid value for field(s) : Addressee must be one of the configured format options. Check Administer >> System Settings >> Option Groups >> Addressee for valid values; State/Province; Country input value not in country table: The Country value appears to be invalid. It does not match any value in CiviCRM table of countries.

What is wrong?

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Sounds like the issue is that CiviCRM doesn't recognise the contents of your Country column (for some rows).

In the import UI, you should see an option to download rows with errors, and that CSV will report which exact country values CiviCRM does not recognise.

Eg, CiviCRM would accept either US (ISO-3166), United States (CiviCRM's label) or 1228 (CiviCRM's DB ID), but if the CSV contains United States of America or U.S.A, then CiviCRM might not recognise that alternative.

Cleaning this up is usually as simple as a Find & Replace in your import spreadsheet before re-importing. You might then rinse and repeat (N.Z => NZ or New Zealand) for further countries, or other invalid data that needs cleanup.

To get a working import format, try exporting a few contacts (even if you have to create a few first), then use the resulting CSV as basis for your next import.

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    Or if you have access to the db, have a look in civicrm_country for a full list of the ID, the 'name' and the ISO code (which I think is also accepted) i.e. US (chris if you agree maybe update your answer re ISO) – petednz - fuzion Sep 29 '15 at 18:29

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