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ICANN Finalizes Process for Requests for Release of Two-Character ASCII Labels

As previously announced, ICANN has been working towards developing a process to permit registries to request the release of two-character ASCII labels at the second-level for registration to 3rd parties and activation in the DNS pursuant to Section 2 of Specification 5. That process is now final and available.

For all digit/digit, letter/digit and digit/letter two-character ASCII labels, because this category has been determined not to raise significant security, stability or competition concerns and has received no objections from governments, country code top-level domain managers, and members of the technical community or rights holders, ICANN has authorized their release for all registries:

Accordingly, registries are not required to submit any individual request for release of any digit/digit, letter/digit or digit/letter two-character ASCII label, and may immediately make such labels available for third party registration and activation in the DNS.

Registries seeking to release letter/letter two-character ASCII labels at the second-level will continue to follow a transparent process as recommended by the Government Advisory Committee (GAC).

  1. Registry operator submits a request to ICANN to release one or more letter/letter two-character ASCII label(s).
  2. ICANN reviews the request and posts it for comment for 30 days.
  3. ICANN notifies the GAC of the request and the comment period.
  4. If there are no relevant and reasoned objections to the request, ICANN will approve the letter/letter ASCII label(s) request within 7-10 calendar days of the close of the 30-day public posting period.

In accordance to Section 6 of Specification 5 of the Registry Agreement, a list of reserved names for this section are still subject to the reservation requirements and will not be available for release at this time.

To learn more about the Authorization Process for Release of Two-Character ASCII Labels at the second level, and to obtain the form for "Request for Release of Letter/Letter Two-Character ASCII Labels at the Second Level," please click here. ICANN will communicate in writing its approval of any such request, if and to the extent appropriate.

ICANN's Registry Services and Engagement team looks forward to implementing these processes to allow registries and their registrants access to two-character SLDs, and thanks the community for its input.

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Media Contact

Gwen Carlson
Director, GDD Communications
Los Angeles, CA
Tel: +1 310 578 8653


ICANN's mission is to ensure a stable, secure and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. ICANN doesn't control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. For more information please visit:

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Domain Name System
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"""" is not an IDN."