International standardization and coordination of the nomenclature of variants of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is increasingly needed as more is discovered about the scale of HCV-related liver disease and important biological and antigenic differences that exist between variants. A group of scientists expert in the field of HCV genetic variability, and those involved in development of HCV sequence databases, the Hepatitis Virus Database (Japan), euHCVdb (France), and Los Alamos (United States), met to re-examine the status of HCV genotype nomenclature, resolve conflicting genotype or subtype names among described variants of HCV, and draw up revised criteria for the assignment of new genotypes as they are discovered in the future. A comprehensive listing of all currently classified variants of HCV incorporates a number of agreed genotype and subtype name re-assignments to create consistency in nomenclature. The paper also contains consensus proposals for the classification of new variants into genotypes and subtypes, which recognizes and incorporates new knowledge of HCV genetic diversity and epidemiology. A proposal was made that HCV variants be classified into 6 genotypes (representing the 6 genetic groups defined by phylogenetic analysis). Subtype name assignment will be either confirmed or provisional, depending on the availability of complete or partial nucleotide sequence data, or remain unassigned where fewer than 3 examples of a new subtype have been described. In conclusion, these proposals provide the framework by which the HCV databases store and provide access to data on HCV, which will internationally coordinate the assignment of new genotypes and subtypes in the future.