2012 was the last opportunity to apply for your own domain extensions. At the time, the intention was that the next round of applications would take place one year later. In the end, it turns out that interested parties will have to wait no less than 14 years.
Indeed, ICANN recently gave the long-awaited answer as to when it will allow new extensions again: it will be “in Q2 2026 (with the goal of April 2026)”.
Although it is still two and a half years away, we are very happy to have a concrete timeline after a decade of uncertainty. With this date as a dot on the horizon, we can focus on filling in the intermediate schedule together with our candidate extensions.
In the run-up to the new application window, there are three key subprojects on which work is ongoing. Together, these subprojects determine the end date.
- Drafting the policy: defining all the rules that candidate extensions have to comply with. In fact, this has been going on for years and, for the most part, the details are already clear. Over the next few months, it’s mostly dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. This subproject will result in the “Applicant Guidebook”, the guiding document for the application. This AGB is expected in May 2025. After a “public comments” phase, the AGB will be approved by the ICANN Board in autumn 2025.
- Registry Service Provider Evaluation: to avoid post-application waiting times, technical registration platforms can have themselves evaluated as early as 2025 to see if they meet all the requirements.
Our provider SIDN will participate in this, meaning that the turnaround time for Dotlocal applications will be relatively short. The development of this program will take until Q4-2024.
- Applicant Support Program: one of the spearheads of the “new domain extensions” project is accessibility for the less developed countries. Interested parties can apply for support in the broadest sense of the word. Dotlocal is also offering its services under this program. The development of this program will last until Q4-2024, after which parties have 18 months to apply.
The implementation of all these subprojects extends until the application window opens, and even after that, work will continue.
The first domain names
The above timeline only applies to the application window. After that, a new timeline will start, defining the steps leading up to the activation of the new domain extension and thus the moment when the first people can register and use their domain. For the first extensions, this will likely be in Q2-2027 (one year after the opening of the application window). The list of applications will be worked through during the following years with an estimated 500 applications per year.
All the above dates and timelines are subject to unforeseen circumstances. As soon as new information becomes available, we will share it.