Upcoming .AU changes

.AU is the country code TLD for Australia and is administered by the Australian Domain Name Administrator (auDA). As of April 12th, 2021, auDA will change licensing, validation and security requirements to maintain public confidence in the zone and create more uniform requirements across TLDs. 

Important: Domains no longer meeting the new eligibility requirements after April 12, 2021, cannot be renewed in the Hover system. 

New eligibility requirements for .COM.AU and .NET.AU

In the new rules, an Australian trademark is used to meet the Australian presence requirement for COM.AU and NET.AU.

Note: We are only listing the applicable changing policies. The rest of the TLD policies will remain the same.

TLD Existing policy        New policy
.COM.AU
.NET.AU
Domain names must be an exact match, abbreviation, acronym of the Registrant's name or trademark, or otherwise closely and substantially connected to the Registrant.
  • Domain names must match the words subject to the Australian trademark to meet the Australian presence requirement. An exact match refers to the domain name being applied for is identical to one, some, or all of the words or numbers used in the Person’s legal name, business name, or Australian trademark.
  • The domain name must use the words or numbers in the same order as they appear in the Person’s legal name, business name, or Australian trademark and must not include any additional words or numbers.
Who is impacted What they should do

Current foreign companies, legal entities, persons who use the Australian trademark meet the Australian presence requirement, where their com.au or net.au domain is not an exact match of their Australian trademark.

  • Consider registering a trademark for the words within their current domain name.
  • Change the basis on which they meet the Australian presence requirement.
  • If it involves changing the legal entity, the domain is registered to the name will need to be transferred to that new entity.


For all other persons where an Australian presence is established and met all the eligibility criteria, the domain being applied must match a person's Australian trademark. 

This example of registering a domain illustrates what is considered a match of an Australian trademark.

Note: Below image is for illustrative purposes only.

AU_changes.png

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New eligibility requirements for .ORG.AU

As per the new changes, auDA wants to ensure the ORG.AU namespace functions more clearly as Australia’s not-for-profit sector identifier. 

TLD Existing policy New policy
.ORG.AU

  • Domain names must be registered for non-commercial organizations.
  • Must be an exact match, abbreviation, or acronym of the Registrant's name or otherwise closely and substantially connected to the Registrant.
Who is impacted What they should do
Current Registrants using their unincorporated association as the basis for their eligibility for an ORG.AU name, who can not register with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission’s (ACNC).
  • Check if they meet another category for not for profit.
  • Register in the ASN.AU namespace. Please note that unincorporated associations can register in this namespace, subject to availability and allocation.
  • Change the organization’s legal structure.

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Registrant requirements 

Registrants must continue to ensure their information is complete, true, and accurate throughout the registration period. Registrants must notify their resellers of any changes within 14 calendar days after becoming aware of the change.

Registrant  Registration details             Requirements
Registration certificate Following the changes on April 12th, registrants will receive a registration certificate after each successful registration.  
Registrant validation Registrants will undergo further validation of identity, their ability to meet registration requirements, and their Australian presence.
  • Hover is required to use electronic databases to validate the name (or organization name) and the registrant's address.
  • They must also verify their email address before Hover can register the name of private persons as registrants.
  • Hover will be able to validate the eligibility of not-for-profits against ACNC.
  • Hover is required to validate the identity and Australian presence of a registrant where the domain is registered, renewed, or transferred for the first time after the new terms come into effect.
Address validation The registry requires that Hover validates the registrant's name and address.
  •  For not-for-profit organizations and charitable associations
    registering .ORG.AU domains, we will require registrants to provide
    their ABN issued by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits
    Commission (ACNC).
    Note: We will use Trademark, ABN, and ACN numbers to validate the
    name and address of the registrant.

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Renewal process

All upcoming changes apply to domain renewals. Tucows will continue to check eligibility at renewal. Existing domains that don’t comply with the new requirements will become ineligible for renewal. 
Note: If eligibility cannot be obtained, consider renewing the domain for the maximum term before April 12, 2021.

Renewal for .COM.AU and .NET.AU 

If a person uses their Australian Trademark to meet Australian Presence, this requirement must be fulfilled at domain renewal. If the trademark is no longer valid, then a person must meet another criterion; otherwise, they can no longer hold that domain license.

Renewal for .ORG.AU 

Unincorporated associations must be listed on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). At domain renewal, this requirement must be fulfilled.

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Restore process

Domain deletion policy remains the same. However, in the new rules, Registrants are now allowed to restore a deleted domain within two days of the deletion. A restoration fee will apply.

Complaint process

Tucows Compliance assists with problems or requests surrounding .AU domains. As of April 12th, 2021:

      • Tucows compliance remains the main point of contact for complaints.
      • Tucows is required to suspend or cancel a domain within 24 hours after becoming satisfied that someone is in breach. Tucows will allow the registrant to update details or rectify the breach. During this time, domain transfer is not allowed. 
      • Breaches not rectified within 30 days will result in the domain's deletion, making it available again for registration.

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Glossary of terms

Exact match  An exact match means that the domain name being applied for is identical to one, some, or all of the words or numbers used in the Person’s legal name, business name, or Australian Trade Mark. The domain name must use the words or numbers in the same order as they appear in the Person’s legal name, business name, or Australian Trade Mark and must not include any additional words or numbers.
The following are not included:
•commercial status identifiers such as ‘Pty Ltd’;
•DNS identifiers such as com.au;
•punctuation marks such as an exclamation point or an apostrophe;
•articles such as ‘a’, ‘the,’ ‘and ’or ‘of’; and
•ampersands.
Unincorporated association

An unincorporated association is not recognized as a separate legal entity to the members associated with it. It is a group of people who agree to act together as an organization and form an association. The group can remain informal, and its members make their own rules on how the group is managed.

ACNC  Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.
Australian trademark 

A trademark is your registered brand and is used to distinguish your business from other products and services. A trademark can be a letter, number, word, phrase, logo, image, sound, movement, shape, or scent.
Registering a trademark gives you exclusive rights to your business name in Australia.

Additional resources

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