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Country and Territory Names

Published 12 October 2015

Specification 5 Section 4 of the 2012 Registry Agreement requires the country and territory names (including their IDN variants, where applicable) contained in the following internationally recognized lists be reserved. Below links are provided for each list for better accessibility. The links are not intended to alter the lists identified in Specification 5 Section 4.

Internationally Recognized Lists

  1. The short form (in English) of all country and territory names contained on the ISO 3166-1 list, as updated from time to time, including the European Union, which is exceptionally reserved on the ISO 3166-1 list, and its scope extended in August 1999 to any application needing to represent the name European Union: http://www.iso.org/iso/iso-3166-1_decoding_table.html; https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/  
  2. The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, Technical Reference Manual for the Standardization of Geographical Names, Part III Names of Countries of the World: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/geoinfo/UNGEGN/docs/pubs/UNGEGN%20tech%20ref%20manual_m87_combined.pdf
  3. The list of United Nations member states in 6 official United Nations languages prepared by the Working Group on Country Names of the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/geoinfo/UNGEGN/docs/10th-uncsgn-docs/econf/E_CONF.101_25_UNGEGN%20WG%20Country%20Names%20Document.pdf

Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Notification Requirements List

On 30 July 2015, the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) established a list to facilitate notification of registry requests for release of country and territory names as second-level domains in new gTLDs: "Country and Territory Names as second-level domains in new gTLDs requirements for notification list." The countries/territories identified in the GAC notification requirements list are divided into three (3) categories: Category R, Category B and Category X.

  1. Category R is comprised of countries/territories that are required to be notified of all requests.
  2. Category B is comprised of countries/territories that do not require notification of brand TLDs. Additionally, "the country or organization concerned waives its right to authorize the release of the country or territory name under brand TLDs (those who have signed Specification 13 of the Registry Agreement) insofar as the brand TLD continues to be so."
  3. Category X is comprised of countries/territories that "do not require any notification." Additionally, "the country or organization concerned waives its right to authorize the release of the country or territory name."

To the extent the GAC list indicates an "X" next to the country/territory name, registry operators are considered to have reached agreement. As such, registry operators are authorized to release from reservation and activate those corresponding country and territory names without further approval by ICANN.

Additionally, to the extent the GAC list indicates a "B" next to the country/territory name, a registry operator with an executed Specification 13 of the Registry Agreement is considered to have reached agreement with the applicable government(s). As such, registry operators are authorized to release from reservation and activate those corresponding country and territory names without further approval by ICANN.

To view the definitive list of countries/territories included in the GAC database, please go to: https://gacweb.icann.org/display/gacweb/Country+and+Territory+Names+as+second-level+domains+in+new+gTLDs+requirements+for+notification+list. ICANN encourages registry operators and other interested parties to continue to check the GAC database as it may be updated from time to time.
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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."