Common Questions on delegating and transferring country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs)

How long does a delegation/transfer request take?

Every delegation or transfer request is different. With many organisations participating in any particular request, the processing can be affected by delays in coordinating and communicating among the parties, obtaining the necessary approvals, and verifying the information provided. The process is further complicated when not all parties agree to the request.

Because of this, it is not possible to predict an accurate timetable for the process from receipt of the request through to completion. Fully-formed requests that clearly meet all relevant criteria can take as little as 1-2 months. In some extreme and complicated cases, requests have sometimes taken a number of years.

When in the process should a transfer request be submitted?

The request to transfer a ccTLD should be submitted once the requestor knows the proposed new manager of the ccTLD, and has plans on how the ccTLD will be operated, but prior to any transfer taking place. The transfer of operations to the new manager happens once a transfer request has been approved.

It is OK to contact us prior to submitting a formal request to better understand the procedure, or to give us early notice of work being done in the country on a transfer. It is better if we are able to assist the requestor early on to understand the transfer process to avoid misunderstandings that could delay transition later.

If a company runs an existing ccTLD, can it provide less documentation for a delegation or transfer request?

Generally, the documentary requirements are the same for a new request, regardless of whether the proposed manager operates an existing ccTLD or not. In particular, the requirements of the process are more formalised than they were in the 1980s and 1990s when the bulk of existing ccTLDs were first delegated. A successful request for delegation in the 1980s does not imply that a request would necessarily be successful again under contemporary criteria. As such, we will review new requests under the existing procedures without any assumptions about why a delegation qualified at an earlier time.

It should be noted that a successful history in operating existing TLDs may form an important part of documenting the operational and technical skills of the proposed manager.

If a company simply changes its name, does it need to complete a full transfer request?

There are some special cases where a change to the manager may be deemed to not be a material change to the organisation. In such cases, the change can be considered an “administrative transfer”, which means that it can be considered a routine update rather than requiring an evaluation of the new manager.

We will check if a change request to a manager reflects a change of administrative responsibility to a new organisation that is essentially the same as the previous organisation. These situations are typically where ccTLD management has shifted as the result of an internal restructuring, internal governmental restructuring, or the organisation has simply changed its name.

In such cases, to be considered non-material, day-to-day operations must remain unaltered. For example, there would normally need to be continuity of staff, policy, policy setting structure, levels of service, legal character and so on.

When a request is deemed non-material, we will process the request as a regular root zone change request, rather than as a delegation request. If there is any doubt, the full transfer process will be used to fully investigate the nature of the change.

If we consider a request to be eligible for an administrative transfer, we will advise the requestor.

If a registry’s technical operations are outsourced to a company, what organisation should be the Manager?

If an organisation that sets and administers policy for the ccTLD outsources the back-end technical operation of the ccTLD to another company, typically it is the policy organisation that is listed as the Manager. If the technical outsource operator is the right party to contact for technical enquiries for the domain, that party could be listed as a Technical Contact.

Does the government need to be consulted on a request?

As an important part of the local Internet community, it is expected that relevant local governments are consulted regarding a delegation or transfer. It is not a requirement they consent, but if they do not have an opinion, a statement of non-objection can be useful.

If the government is non-responsive, the requestor should provide clear evidence they made reasonable attempts to discuss the request with relevant government representatives.

What are the local presence requirements?

For each ccTLD, at a minimum both the manager and the administrative contact must be resident in the country to which the domain is designated. This means they are accountable to the local community and subject to local law.

For sub-national territories, it is considered acceptable (with the consent of the local Internet community) if the manager and the administrative contact are located elsewhere in the country so long as they are still subject to applicable law.

What should be in a letter of endorsement from a government?

When communicating support for a delegation or transfer by a government representative, there are no strict formatting requirements, but we recommend the letter reference the following points:

Is it appropriate for a regulator to be the Manager?

The relevant frameworks, including the delegation assessment procedures, call for the Manager to actively be responsible for the operation of a ccTLD. If a regulator runs the domain registry itself, and all other criteria are satisfied, then it would be appropriate for the regulator to be the Manager for the ccTLD.

Does the government or regulator have to be the manager to have involvement in deciding how the domain is operated?

It is not necessary for a government or regulator to be a manager for a ccTLD as a mechanism for them to have a say in how the domain is operated. Governments are consulted for all transfer requests for the domain regardless of whether they are listed in the record (see the GAC Principles). Furthermore, the manager is required to be located within the country and to comply with local laws.

How does a requestor demonstrate local Internet community support?