Frequently asked questions about ICANN’s new transfer policy

On December 1, 2016, ICANN enforced a new transfer policy that changes the process of changing domain ownership from one registrant to another and modifying how a registrant updates their domain’s account and contact information.

Every time an update or change of registrant occurs, a series of confirmation and approval emails are triggered because of this transfer policy. It’s important to note that simple updates to a registrant’s first name, last name, organization, and email address on a particular domain also trigger the same series of notification and confirmation emails.

Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the new policy.

Q: What are the main changes in ICANN’s new transfer policy?

A:  The policy changes affect the “Change of Registrar,” “Change of Registrant,” and “Change of Registrant Contact Data” process. All changes will trigger the sending of confirmation and notification emails to all affected parties: registrars (gaining and losing), registrants (current and former).  

Q: Who initiated this new policy?

A: ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

Q: Why was this new policy made?

A: ICANN is concerned about registrant information accuracy. This accuracy helps prevent unnecessary disputes, decreases the possibility of fraud, and makes it more challenging to hack domains. Domains can be suspended or deleted if the registrant’s contact information is not accurate or updated.

Q: Who does this new policy apply to?

A: The policy is applied when any registrant transfers gTLD domain names to an ICANN-accredited registrar or from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another. It applies to all domains except ccTLDs (like .CA domains).  

Q: What would trigger this change of the registrant process?

A: Making any change to the first name, last name, organization field, or email within the registrant contact object will start the process. An approval email will go out to both the old and new registrants.

Q: What happens if it’s not an actual transfer but minor updates to first name, last name, email or organization field?

A: At this time, any change to any of those fields will begin the change of registrant process.

Q: Who has to approve the change of registrant request?

A: Both the new and the prior registrant need to approve the change of registrant request.

Q: What if I am both the old and the new registrant?

A: You will be required to approve the change of registrant request twice.

Q: What happens if the new registrant approves the request, but the old registrant denies the request?

A: This will cancel the whole request, and the whois will revert to the previous registrant’s info.

Q: What happens if the new registrant denies the request?

A: Then the change of registrant request is cancelled, and the previous whois info remains the same.

Q: What happens if I am the new registrant and do not receive the email request to approve the change of registrant?

A: Your domain provider will be able to resend the email; otherwise, the process will timeout. You will need to start the process again using a different email address.

Q: How long does the new registrant have to approve the request before it expires/times out?

A: 7 days from the change request.

Q: What happens if I submit another change of registrant request when one is currently pending?

A: The first request will be cancelled.

Q: What if I don’t have access to my old email address?

A: Your domain provider can explicitly send a link via SMS to the phone number that they have on file. This will allow you to approve the change of registrant request.

Q: What happens if the number on file is not a mobile phone number?

A: We may be able to use features available to contact registrants at a landline. Otherwise, it is recommended to update the phone number field with a mobile number.

Q: After a Change of Registrant, are there any restrictions on transferring that name?

A: If you want to transfer and change the registrant simultaneously, you should transfer the domain first and then change the registrant. After a change of registrant has been completed, the domain is by default locked for transfers to a new registrar for the following 60 days.

Q: Is there any way to opt out of the 60-day lock after a change of registrant is applied?

A: Yes, the prior registrant will be given a chance to opt out of the 60-day transfer lock at the time of the initial Change of Registrant request. 

For more information about ICANN’s new transfer policy, read this documentation.

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