Internationalized Domain Names

Last Updated: 5 March 2013

Summary:

Until recently, the Root Zone was limited to a set of characters conforming to US-ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) or "Latin" alphabets. This changed with the introduction of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), which introduced top-level domains (TLDs) in different scripts and enabled Internet users to access domain names in their own language.

Specifically, the approval of the IDN country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) Fast Track Process by the ICANN Board at its annual meeting in Seoul, South Korea in October 2009, enabled countries and territories to submit requests to ICANN for IDN ccTLDs representing their respective country or territory names in scripts other than US-ASCII characters. For information on countries and territories that have completed the IDN ccTLD Fast Track process, click here.

Most recently, the new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program, approved at the ICANN meeting in Singapore in June 2011, will allow for the first time the addition of IDN gTLDs into the root zone. More information on the new gTLD program is available at ICANN's New gTLD site and gTLD policy related material from the GNSO is located here.

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