Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy

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The Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy (IRTP) was developed by ICANN for the safe, straight-forward transfer of domain names from one registrar to another.[1] The policy contains information about the method of transferring a domain name, dispute resolution mechanism and the method of undoing the transfer if it was done as a result of an error.[2]


The IRTP was developed through a consensus building process. In early 2003, the Transfer Task Force presented a report to the GNSO council. The report had 29 policy recommendations, which were accepted by the GNSO and were adopted by ICANN. ICANN coordinated with the Transfer Assistance Group (TAG) and GNSO to implement the transfer procedure. This policy has been required to be followed by all ICANN-accredited registrars throughout the world since November 12th, 2004.[3] The background documents and GNSO reviews on IRTP can be downloaded from here.

In November, 2008, certain changes were made to the policy following advice from the ICANN Board.[4][5]

In 2011, the GNSO again reviewed the policy with respect to the issues of domain hijacking, the urgent return of an inappropriately transferred name and "lock status." On May 31st, 2011, the IRTP Working Group submitted a report featuring 9 suggested changes to the policy.[6] The revised policy was open for comments from July 8th, 2011, to August 8th, 2011.[7]

Initial Issues

While the policy was under development, ICANN raised few issues and requested for the public to give their comments so that an effective policy could be made. The questions published by ICANN were:[8]

  • Should registrars keep the email address of registrant in their database, so that he can be easily contacted when needed?
  • Should the security of registrant data be increased in order to prevent hacking and spoofing? Should there be a Form of Authorization present to apply a double check?
  • Should there be a provision for handling partial bulk transfers? Partial bulk transfers are those in which a registrar transfers some of its domains and not every domain.

2012 Changes

In January, 2012, ahead of its February ICANN 43 meeting, the organization announced that it was considering changes to its IRTP. The GNSO council approved those changes, which defined a universal 5 day maximum allowable lock period for domains that have had changes made to the registrant's name in the Whois record. The new rule was seen as largely a response to GoDaddy's 60 day lock policy, which had been a continued target for criticism. GoDaddy, through its representative James Bladel, was involved in creating the proposed changes.[9]

GNSO Policy Development Process to Review the Transfer Policy, 2021

In February 2021, the GNSO initiated a Policy Development Process to review ICANN's transfer policies. Spurred in part by policy considerations associated with ICANN's Temporary Specification and Expedited Policy Development Process in response to the EU GDPR, the review is directed at eight issue areas.

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