Here below are some points about ICANN’s upcoming domain name transfer policy changes that you may want to consider. In order for “domain transfers” (Inter-registrar transfers), “registrant changes” (Inter-registrant transfers) and “registrant contact data changes” to be permitted after December 1st, 2016 the new processes must be adhered to by gaining registrars and registrants. The changes show the new requirements for registries, registrars and registrants.
“The bottom line of this article is that owning and managing domains will be more complex after December 1st. It is recommended that you register and manage your domains before that date, even if you simply wish to change your domain’s registrant contact information!”
[This blog article is a work in progress. Questions and answers are being added, and edited, every day till December 1st, 2016]
Q: What are the main changes in this new ICANN policy?
A: In brief: The process of transferring domain names from a registrar to an ICANN-accredited registrar, and from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another ICANN-accredited registrar, will now be standardized. The changes will impact domain registrants, registrars and re-sellers. The process for the “change of registrants” will also be standardized and become more constrictive. Furthermore, when a registrant makes changes to their own contact information (name, email, organization) the changes will be emailed simultaneously to the current and former registrants. The policy changes that become effective on December 1st, 2016 involves process changes for domain “Change of Registrar”, “Change of Registrant”, and “Change of Registrant Contact Data”. All changes will trigger the sending of confirmation and notification emails to all affected parties: registrars (gaining and losing), registrants (current and former). You may read the new ICANN Transfer Policy here: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/transfer-policy-2016-06-01-en
Q: Who does this new policy apply to?
A: The policy is applied when any registrant transfers gTLD domains names to an ICANN-accredited registrar, or from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another. It applies to all domains except ccTLDs (like .CA domains).
(If you register only .ca domain names then you don’t need to read further, or be concerned about these international changes.)
Q: Who is the domain transfer authority in this new policy?
A: The Domain name registrant, the domain administrator and the registrar of that domain are the transfer authorities of a domain. They are the only 3 parties who can approve or deny a transfer request. The domain registrant, whose account is in good standing, is first in importance. The domain registrant and the domain administrators are referred to as the transfer contacts.
Q: Will documentation be required from new registrants in a domain transfer?
A: A domain transfer can only be authorized once a valid forms of authorization (FOA form) are filled out. The 2 forms is available at the ICANN website, one to be used by the gaining registrar the other to be used by the registrar on record. These forms must be filled out in the English language. If the gaining registrars rely on a physical authorization process then the gaining registrars must obtain physical evidence of the transfer contact’s identity (a notarized statement, valid drivers license, passport, article of incorporation, military ID, state/government issued ID, birth certificate)
Q: What are some of the registrar requirements expected from ICANN-accredited transfers?
- Obtain express authorization of domain transfer from transfer contacts
- Collect copies acceptable documents to prove identity of new transfer contact (see above)
- Registrar domain transfer policy meets ICANN standards
- Obtain express transfer authorizations from transfer contacts and does not proceed without it
- Use the “Initial Authorization for Registrar Transfer” ICANN form to request transfer from transfer contact
- Use the “Confirmation of Registrar Transfer Request” ICANN form confirming transfer from transfer contact
- Domain transfers cannot proceed if confimration is not received by gaining registrar
- Registrars must provide a special email address that is to be used for communications between registrars and registry
- The registrar email address is to be used only for communications between registrars and the registry
- Email communications between registrars must be responded to within 7 calendar days.
Q: Would it be advisable to make “domain transfers”, “registrant transfers” and “registrant data changes” before the new policy takes place?
A: Yes. Changing the registrant of a domain will no longer be a quick matter with a simple modification request. Clear and written confirmation will have to be obtained of both current and new registrants for any registration changes to take place. Once a registrant change is made then the domain is locked for 60 days and domain transfer requests to another registrar will not be allowed during that time.. To prevent change delays and to avoid disputes between “domain registrants” and the “administrative contacts” of a domain if the two are different. Furthermore, after December 1st emails will be sent to both the current and former registrants about current registrant info changes.
Q: Would it be advisable to register domain names before the policy change of December 1st, 2016?
A: Yes. Please read this list of frequently asked questions, then consider registering your domain name with your preferred ICANN-accredited registrar before the deadline. Keep in mind the correct physical and email addresses you will be using (so you don’t have to change them later. Also keep in mind the useful fact that in the case of a domain owner dispute the domain name registrant supersedes the domain name admin and technical contacts.
Q: How can you prepare for the Policy change of December 1st, 2016?
- Read this FAQ checklist and share it with your friends who are domain registrants or re-sellers.
- Make sure to know where to update your domain registrant details with the correct admin name, email address, organization.
- Contact your registrar’s customer support department if you have any issues with your registrant contact information.
Q: Who initiated this new policy?
A: ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)
Q: What is the language of the administration of this policy?
A: English only.
Q: Why was this new policy made?
A: ICANN is concerned about registrant information accuracy. This accuracy help prevent needless disputes, decreases the possibility of fraud, and makes it more difficult to hack domains. Domains can be suspended or deleted if the registrant contact information is not accurate or updated. The new domain transfer policy was also created to provide a simple, fair, and standard procedure for domain name registrants to transfer their domain names involving ICANN-accredited registrars. It also standardizes the way an ICANN-accredited registrar handles this transfer. Furthermore, the change will standardize registrant changes and updates to save everyone time and potential disputes.
Q: How do I know if my registrar is ICANN-accredited?
A: Search for your registrar here: https://www.icann.org/registrar-reports/accreditation-qualified-list.html
Q: Should I have an ICANN accredited registrar to register my domain names?
Q: Must registrars inform their registrants of the change in the domain transfer processes?
A: Yes, registrars must make every effort to inform all their domain name holders of the correct information and the updated transfer process.
Q: Who can approve a domain name transfer?
A: The registered domain name holder, or the administrative contact of the domain name are the only ones who can approve or disapprove a domain transfer. If the registered domain holder and the administrative contact are separate people, the registered domain holder’s rights supercede the rights of the administrative contact. Ideally, one person should serve the two roles.
Q: What are the changed requirements and obligations of the gaining registrar and the registrar on record?
Q: What are ICANN-Approved domain Transfers?
A: The gaining Registrar must be accredited by ICANN for the Registry gTLD. (see additional points here: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/transfer-policy-2016-06-01-en )
Q: When should I be concerned about this new “change of registrant” process?
A: Whenever you decide to make changes to your name (first and last), organization, or email address the new process kicks in. It’s a good habit to access the domain registrant contact information of your domains and update it regularly. It is highly advisable to make any changes before December 1st, 20016.
Q: What will happen each time I make make changes to my name (first and last), my organization, or my email address?
A: An approval email will be sent out to the registrants (current and former) at the same time.
Q: Does this apply even to minor changes I make to my name, email or organization in the registrant database?
Q: Who needs to approve requests for “change of registrant”?
A: The current and former registrants both need to approve all requests for “change of registrant”.