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You are viewing archival ICANN material. Links and information may be outdated or incorrect. Visit ICANN's main website for current information.

This page was archived as of June 2010. Click here for the current information and here for the current instructions.

Table of Contents

I. Background Information
II. Preparation and Required Information
III. Submitting Your Application
IV. Schedule for Registrar Accreditation
V. Submission of Confidential Materials
VI. Instructions for the Application Questions


Please note: The information contained in these instructions was originally posted in 1999 and is now somewhat outdated (i.e., the accreditation fee was raised to US$2500 as of 1-July-2001). We're in the process of preparing a comprehensive update. Please contact <> for any updates before submitting your application.

These instructions are intended to assist applicants to complete their application forms. The instructions provide some additional guidance on each of the questions set forth on the Application. Questions should be sent to ICANN at

I. Background Information:

    The Shared Registration System ("SRS") is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Government and Network Solutions, Inc. ("NSI") to introduce competition into the registration of second-level domains ("SLDs") in the .com, .net, and .org top-level domains ("TLDs"). Several documents are available on the ICANN website that explain the Shared Registration System, the Registrar Accreditation Program, ICANN's role in the registrar accreditation process, and the rights and obligations of accredited registrars. These documents should be read by all applicants for registrar accreditation before filling out a Registrar Accreditation Application. The documents can be found at the following links:
      • Registrar Accreditation Agreement
        • This agreement formalizes the relationship between ICANN and accredited registrars. Prospective registrars should carefully review this agreement, which sets forth in detail the rights and responsibilities of accredited registrars. Once ICANN has determined that an applicant qualifies for accreditation, the applicant will be asked to sign this agreement.
      • Registrar License and Agreement between Network Solutions, Inc. and SRS testbed registrars
        • This agreement was negotiated by NSI and the U.S. Department of Commerce and applies to the relationship the registry (NSI) and registrars during the testbed phase only. During the testbed period, the Department of Commerce and NSI will be discussing what terms should be incorporated in the NSI-registrar agreement that will apply to the post-testbed period of open competition.
      • Draft registrar accreditation guidelines
        • These guidelines, and comments received about them, were the basis for the Statement of Registrar Accreditation Policy adopted by the ICANN Board of Directors on March 4. They provide useful general background about the accreditation concept. Do not rely on the details of these guidelines, however, as the policy ultimately adopted by the ICANN Board of Directors includes many changes made in response to public comment.
II. Preparation and Required Information:
    In order for you to complete the Shared Registration System Registrar Accreditation Application, you will need to do the following preparation:

    A. Collect your company's financial information, including bank statements and insurance certificates, if available; audited annual reports if you are a publicly traded company; or other documents that will demonstrate how you will be able to procure adequate working capital and commercial general liability insurance;

    B. Collect your company's technical information, including current (or proposed) technical capabilities to provide SLD registration services, electronic backup of registration data from customers, security for all registration information, and continued SLD name use for SLD holders in the event your company goes out of business or ceases to operate as an accredited registrar, and other current (or proposed) technical capabilities, as specified in the application;

    C. Be prepared to submit the application fee of US $2500.00.

III. Submitting Your Application:
    All applications must be submitted in hard copy form. No e-mail applications will be accepted. A completed application includes the following materials:
    • Answers to application questions, on separate paper, typed or printed, with each answer corresponding to each numbered question. If the answer to a question is available on an attached supporting document, please type "See_________" and provide a reference to the relevant document and page number.
    • All supporting documents, as specified by the application questions. These should each be labeled with an easily identifiable title and with page numbers, so that references to documentary information will be easy to find. Please attach all supporting documents to the back of your answer pages.
    • Application fee of US $2500.00. The application fee is payable by check, money order, or wire transfer and must accompany the application materials. The fee must be denominated in United States currency.

    Completed Applications must be sent by mail, express mail, or courier to ICANN at the following address:

      Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
      Registrar Accreditation
      4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
      Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA

    To facilitate processing, applicants are encouraged to submit their applications and supporting information on 3.5" floppy disk(s) in a widely accessible format, as well as on paper.

IV. Schedule for Registrar Accreditation:
    ICANN is currently accepting completed applications for registrar accreditation on a rolling basis. There is no deadline for the submission of applications. Applicants should expect a response from ICANN within thirty days of ICANN's receipt of the completed Application. ICANN will contact Applicant directly if it requires additional information, supporting documents, or clarification of information provided by the Applicant. Registrars granted accreditation by ICANN will begin registration operations after the conclusion of the testbed program.
V. Submission of Confidential Materials:
    ICANN intends to conduct registrar accreditation in as open and transparent a manner as feasible. To that end, ICANN will be free to disclose and use information submitted in connection with an application in any manner and to anyone it deems appropriate. At the same time, however, ICANN recognizes that to encourage applicants to provide all documents and information relevant to accreditation (including selection for the testbed program), it is appropriate to afford applicants the opportunity to submit legitimate trade-secret information with a request for confidential handling by ICANN.

    Applicants are strongly encouraged to avoid, or at least to minimize, requests for confidential treatment of information submitted in connection with applications for accreditation. An applicant wishing to designate application material for confidential handling must include a separate, prominent notice to ICANN attached to the front of the application designating the specific information the applicant deems confidential, such as answers to particular questions or specific documents or portions of documents that should be handled confidentially by ICANN. The notice must state the restrictions on disclosure or use that the applicant requests for that information and explain why the applicant believes those restrictions are necessary to protect its legitimate trade secrets.

    Applications with requests for confidential handling will be reviewed for confidentiality by ICANN staff before further consideration. ICANN staff will promptly notify the applicant of the extent to which ICANN is willing to agree to treat the designated information confidentially, requesting a response from the applicant within two business days.

    In the event ICANN and the applicant do not agree on provisions for confidential treatment within two days, ICANN will, to the extent of the applicant's request for confidentiality, delete all confidential material submitted by the applicant in tangible, written form. The deleted information will then cease to be part of the applicant's application and will not be considered by ICANN staff in reviewing the application for registrar accreditation, nor will the deleted information be disclosed or otherwise used by ICANN.

VI. Instructions for the Application Questions:
    A. Section V of Application: General Information
      These first 9 questions are straightforward. Please provide current information. If the answer to any of the questions is not available, please indicate as much next to the number of the question on your application.
    B. Section VI of Application: Business Capabilities
      Please provide answers that are as complete as possible at the present time. Also indicate any expected developments or events that may in the near future affect the answers to these questions. As you will be attesting to the accuracy and truth of your answers at the end of the Application, do not leave out information that you believe may negatively impact your application -- ICANN retains the right to investigate and verify the information provided.
      Please note that you may either submit information about your existing business capabilities, or you may submit a comprehensive business plan which includes information responsive to the Application questions. If you submit a comprehensive business plan in response to Application questions, please set forth references to the pages of the plan where the requested information can be found.

      ICANN's accreditation guidelines do not set high threshold requirements for registrars' business capabilities and operations. ICANN must, however, be assured that all accredited registrars can efficiently, accurately, and securely handle their registration obligations without adversely impacting the operation of the Internet. ICANN does not seek to accredit only the top few applicants, but to accredit all applicants that can meet the minimum operational criteria to reliably provide competitive registration services.

    C.  Explanations of Specific Questions
      10.a. Please give a general explanation of what your entity is, what it does, how long it has been in business, how many employees it has, and so forth. If you are submitting a business plan instead of a demonstration of current business capabilities, then give a general desciption of your proposed capabilities and domain name registration services. If you are describing current (rather than planned) business capabilities, please attach and reference an audited financial statement or annual report, if available.

      10.b. ICANN asks that you estimate the number of registrations you believe your business can process per month. Use your current or proposed financial and technical information as a guide in formulating this estimate. Keep in mind that you must receive from customers the registration data required by ICANN (see Registrar Accreditation Agreement), maintain it in an electronic database, make it available on a daily real-time public access database (such as a WhoIs-type service), and provide the means to update the information promptly. There is no "magic number" of projected registrations that will guarantee you accreditation. Use your judgment, given your current or reasonably proposed capabilities.

      10.c. This question asks you to detail how and why you believe you can handle the volume of registrations per month you estimated in question 10.b. Describe all the information you used to answer question 10.b.

      10.e, f, g. These are technical questions designed to assess whether your current technical capabilities can accommodate all of the archival and WhoIs-type informational and database requirements for registrars. Please detail how your current (or proposed) business would establish and support such capabilities. Do you have the technical expertise to create and run a Whois-type public access database service? Can you create and maintain the necessary electronic databases and provide daily backup and archives of them?

      10.h. Describe any security measures you currently implement, along with a detailed description of your proposed security system. Have you had any experience creating network, database, or other such security systems?

      10.i. Please be as detailed as possible describing what technical capabilities you have (or propose or have) that will assure customers of SLD continuity no matter what happens to your business. ICANN considers this element of registrar obligations to be vital to the stability of the Shared Registration System. It is also a vital competitive threshold for registrars. If possible, describe how you would transfer SLD registration data to other registrars, and how promptly such a transfer would be achieved, in the event of a business failure.

      10.j. ICANN intends for domain name registrants to receive prompt service for all their registration needs. To achieve this, Applicants must have sufficient staff who are qualified to handle registrar obligations. Note that a combination of full-time and part-time employees may be sufficient if it will provide adequate service to customers. Likewise, fewer than five employees may be adequate if you can show that it will be sufficient in your circumstances.

      10.k. This question requires technical information similar to the answer in 10.i.

      10.l. Note that a policy limit of US $500,000 will be deemed sufficient, but that a lesser amount will be accepted upon a showing that it provides for reasonable compensation under the circumstances to provide the projected volume of domain name holders reasonable compensation for losses caused by your possible wrongful covered acts. Please attach your insurance certificate if you currently have general commercial liability insurance.

      If you do not currently have such insurance, you do not have to include a certificate of insurance with this Application. Instead, ICANN requires only that you describe the basis upon which you believe that you can get sufficient coverage. In this situation, a certificate of coverage would be necessary as a condition to accreditation becoming effective.

      10.m. Note that US $70,000 of liquid capital will be deemed sufficient at the commencement of the accreditation period, but a lesser amount will be accepted upon a showing that under the circumstances it will provide adequate working capital. Proof of working capital may include a bank statement showing a sufficient level of liquid capital immediately available in your (the entity's) name, a certificate of a guaranteed bank loan, or a certificate of a letter of credit, all from a recognized financial institution. As with insurance, proof of liquid capital need not accompany this Application if you do not currently have sufficient working capital, but would be a condition for accreditation becoming effective.

      If you have an existing registrar business or propose to convert your existing domain-name reseller business into a registrar business, you must send, with this Application, an independently verified financial statement (such as an accountant's audit) which shows that you have adequate working capital devoted to your business.

      11 and 12. You must determine whether any of the (i) officers, (ii) directors, (iii) managers, or (iv) those entities or persons owning five percent or more of your business (or proposed business) fall into the categories listed.

    D. Section VII:  Attestation of Truthful Disclosure and Signature
      This section requires you to attest that, to the best of your knowledge, all of the answers you have provided are true and accurate. You also give ICANN permission to investigate your answers. By signing this Application, you are also authorizing any third parties ICANN may contact to give proof of the answers you have provided. All Applications must be signed in order to be processed.

If you have any further questions, please submit them via e-mail to We will endeavor to assist you to the best of our abilities.  

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