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ICANN Issues Advisory Regarding the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy

Advisory available at http://www.icann.org/announcements/advisory-03apr08.htm

Due to perceived confusion within the registrar community concerning the circumstances under which registrars may validly deny transfer requests pursuant to the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy, on 19 September 2007, ICANN issued a Notice of Intent to Issue Advisory Regarding the Inter-Registrar Transfer (Notice) http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-19sep07.htm.

As part of this Notice, ICANN published a Proposed Advisory Regarding the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy (Proposed Advisory). The purpose of the Proposed Advisory was to solicit comments regarding whether it was necessary to publish an advisory to assist ICANN-accredited registrars in understanding their obligations under the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy.

The community was informed that comments would be accepted for 30 days regarding the Proposed Advisory. ICANN received 16 comments, of which 14 were supportive of ICANN issuing the Proposed Advisory, one comment opposed the issuance of the Proposed Advisory and one comment was deemed neutral as it did not indicate support or opposition. After considering the comments received and other information provided by registrars regarding the Proposed Advisory, ICANN determined that sufficient confusion exists to warrant the issuance of an advisory to assist registrars in understanding that under the Transfer Policy:

  1. Registrars are prohibited from denying a domain name transfer request based on non-payment of fees for pending or future registration periods during the Auto-Renew Grace Period; and
  2. A registrant change to Whois information is not a valid basis for denying a transfer request.

The Advisory <http://www.icann.org/announcements/advisory-03apr08.htm> is identical to the Proposed Advisory issued on 19 September 2007, except the term "registration period after expiration" was replaced with "Auto-Renew Grace Period" wherever it appeared in the Proposed Advisory.  

Developed through ICANN’s consensus policy process, the Transfer Policy was approved unanimously by ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) and its Board of Directors. After consultation with several interested parties, the Transfer Policy was adopted in 2004. The Transfer Policy provides domain name holders with a standardized process for transferring their domain names from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another upon request. All ICANN-accredited registrars and unsponsored gTLD registry operators are required to comply with the Transfer Policy pursuant to their agreements with ICANN. The purpose of the Advisory is to provide clarity and promote consistent handling of transfer requests.


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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."