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In this post, we discuss the various aspects of domain name registration in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Which entity is responsible for domain registration in the UAE?

The .ae Domain Administration of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (Domains Authority) is the authority responsible for regulating and administering the .ae country code top-level domain (ccTLD) in the UAE.

The following second-level domains (SLDs) and third-level domains (TLDs) ending in these SLDs are also administered by the Domains Authority:

  • co.ae
  • net.ae
  • org.ae
  • sch.ae
  • ac.ae
  • gov.ae
  • mil.ae

How are domain names registered?

The .ae domain names are registered through a registrar and not through the Domains Authority directly.

To register for a domain name, a prospective registrant must choose one of the 23 listed accredited registrars on the Domains Authority website and follow that registrar’s application process. The .ae domain space is an unrestricted zone, meaning any legal person, domestic or foreign, can apply for a domain name through an accredited registrar.

The SLDs and TLDs administered by the Domains Authority are collectively known as Restricted Zones, and an applicant must meet additional eligibility requirements set out in the Domains Authority’s domain name eligibility policy. To register for a domain name in a Restricted Zone, a prospective registrant must register with an accredited registrar that is based in the UAE.

Are there any considerations regarding domain names and IP rights?

A registrant does not have any proprietary rights in a domain name as the domain name does not confer ownership. Rather, the registrant holds an exclusive license to use a domain name for a period specified in the terms of the domain name license. Ultimately, the onus is on the registrant to ensure the registration or use of a domain name does not infringe any third-party IP rights.

How long is registration effective?

How long a registration lasts will vary depending on the terms of the particular domain name license. Generally, a domain name license is effective for one to five years.

What is the cost of registration?

The cost of registration will depend on the registrar and the license period, but generally it may vary between AED 150 and AED 750 (approximately $40–$205).

Can you transfer a domain name?

Registrants have the right to transfer a domain name to another accredited registrar without losing any time remaining on a domain name license. Generally, a registrant must provide the domain name password (authorization code) to the new registrar to retrieve the full domain name record from the registry database.

To transfer a .ae domain name to a new registrant, the original registrant will need to provide a request for the transfer, provided the new registrant meets any eligibility requirements under the Domains Authority’s eligibility policy. A domain name in one of the Restricted Zones may be transferred if it qualifies as a “permissible transfer” under the rules set out in the Domains Authority’s domain name transfer – change of registrant policy.

Do registrants have privacy rights?

Registrants for UAE ccTLDs are obliged to provide the registrar with the details of a contact person; although this is not required to be a personal email address, it must not be the registrar of record. The name of the registrant and the registrant’s contact name may be made publicly available via Whois, a publicly accessible search service that provides information about domain names.

The Domains Authority is responsible for handling requests by law enforcement or other national agencies that may require access to information held regarding domain names.

However, due to privacy data laws, registrars will not necessarily publicly disclose personal information. Therefore, personally identifiable information will not always be available for public access, including via the Whois service.

Disputes

The Domains Authority has developed the UAE Domain Name Dispute Resolution System to deal with disputes over .ae domain names. In proceedings conducted by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, a complainant will be required to show all of the following:

  • The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant holds rights
  • The registrant has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name
  • The domain name has been registered or is being used in bad faith

Complainants can also bring proceedings with any of UAE judicial authorities.

Trainee solicitor Nabeeha Uddin contributed to this blog post.