Skip to main content

ICANN Process for Handling Registrar Data Retention Waiver Requests

The 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) <> includes within its Data Retention Specification (the "Specification) a provision by which registrars may request a waiver from compliance with specific terms and conditions of the Specification. This document describes how ICANN intends to consider such waiver requests.  This process may be modified from time to time without notice.

  1. Registrar submits request using form provided at
  2. Registrar Relations team member reviews request for completeness
    1. If complete, request moves forward.
    2. If not complete, request is sent back to registrar for further information.
  3. Registrar Relations team member determines whether an identical request (same RAA provisions, same jurisdiction) has been approved for another registrar or is currently under review.
    1. If a previous, identical request was approved, RR team member will approve request after obtaining confirmation with legal counsel, and proceed to step 8 below.
    2. If a previous, identical request was rejected, RR team member will forward new and previously rejected request to legal counsel to determine whether new issues have been raised or information presented (or whether there has been a change in law) that warrant reconsideration. Proceed to next step.
    3. If identical request is currently under review, the consideration of the requests will be combined, if practical.
    4. If request has never been evaluated before, it proceeds to next step.
  4. Registrar Relations team, in consultation with legal counsel as appropriate, will evaluate the request and may consider the merits of the submitted documents (on their face or with additional research) and, additionally, may consult with relevant experts (such as privacy law experts, legal authorities, GAC members, law enforcement representatives, etc.). ICANN may request additional information from the registrar.
  5. Preliminary Determination:
    1. If the waiver request is preliminarily approved, ICANN will provide a summary of the determination (including the involved law(s) and RAA provision(s) to the registrar. Proceed to step 6
    2. If the waiver request is preliminarily rejected, ICANN will provide a written explanation of the preliminary determination to the registrar with an invitation to either discuss the matter or provide rebutting information within two weeks. If new information is provided, it will be reconsidered as described in Step 4. Otherwise, proceed to Step 6.
  6. ICANN will post the preliminary determination to its website. The post will also include the preliminary determination date and the date upon which the preliminary determination will become final if not modified or rescinded. Once posted, the determination may also be flagged for inclusion in If approval was granted based on prior determination (Step 3(a) above), nothing new will be posted to
  7. After 30 days have lapsed since posting, unless modified or rescinded, the preliminary determination will become final. ICANN will notify the registrar accordingly.
  8. ICANN's Registrar Relations staff will notify the Compliance team of the approved waiver and record same. 
  9. Registrars will be required to periodically reaffirm that the pertinent law has not materially changed and that the conflict still exists. If feasible, RR team might send reminder notices. If ICANN becomes aware of a change of law, it may affirmatively address the matter with any registrar who was granted a waiver.
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."