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Introducing .au Direct

From 24 March 2022, Australians will be able to register .au direct domain names (eg. for the first time, providing new options for web and email addresses.

.au direct names aim to complement the existing namespaces that serve specific sectors and purposes such as, providing an additional option for existing registrants, while being more accessible to the broader Australian community and general public.

Apply for priority allocation

Read the FAQ for more details

Get priority allocation

As an existing registrant, you will have the opportunity to apply for the exact match of your current domain name before it is made available to the wider Australian public. Priority allocation will be open for six months following the launch of .au direct.

Secure your brand

Protect your brand with a supplementary .au direct domain name. Apply for and either register or contest the matching .au direct domain, preventing other entities from registering or using your established name in the new space.

Internationally recognised

.au direct brings Australia into line with offerings from other ccTLDs including the United Kingdom's .uk, New Zealand's .nz, and China's .cn, potentially facilitating offering services in overseas markets more accustomed to second level domain names.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What does this mean for domain name holders?

The key points for existing domain name holders are:

  • from 24 March 2022, you will be able to register a .au direct domain name
  • your domain will not be affected by the launch of .au direct, and will continue to function in the same way and under the existing licensing rules
  • you will have access to the .au direct Priority Allocation Process should you choose to apply for a matching .au direct domain name
  • the Priority Allocation Period will be in place from 24 March to 20 September 2022.

.au direct can be considered an additional option within the existing .au ccTLD hierarchy, in the same way that an domain name holder may also choose to additionally register or operate under a or domain name.

Holding an domain name neither requires nor excludes the registrant from also holding a .au direct domain name, but does give you the option to apply for the matching name under .au direct prior to it being offered to the general public.

Why would I need a .au direct domain if I already have an domain?

As an existing domain name holder, you may wish to consider also registering a .au direct name to:

  • protect your brand or prevent others from registering your name
  • register names that do not meet the allocation criteria under Schedule A, Sections 2.2 and 2.3
  • market additional products or services that you offer not related to education or training
  • market to an overseas audience for whom second level domains are more common or the standard
  • establish a shorter or simplified name for auxiliary services such as email addresses or infrastructure hostnames.

Holders of domain names do not need to register a .au direct domain, but may choose to do so.

Unlike the other .au namespaces, .au direct has no allocation criteria. Provided an applicant has an Australian presence, they can apply for any name. There is no requirement that they demonstrate or warrant that they have any specific or predefined connection to that name.

The only exceptions or restrictions to this are names on the auDA Reserved List (comprising of names that are either restricted through Government legislation or that are blocked from registration for security reasons) and where relying on a Trade Mark to establish Australian presence (requiring the name to be an exact match of the Trade Mark).

This provides greater options and flexibility for the kinds of names that can be registered, while not having the same protections and general principles behind the allocation criteria. It is anticipated that this may result in an increased number or need of defensive registrations compared to other, existing .au namespaces such as for for example.

What is considered "having an Australian presence"?

If you meet the eligibility criteria for an domain name, you already meet auDA's definition of having an Australian presence.

Beyond this and for the purposes of the .au Licensing Rules, having an Australian presence includes being:
  • an Australian citizen or permanent resident visa holder
  • a company, body, association, corporation, cooperative, charity or political party registered or incorporated in Australia
  • a partnership, trust, or an unincorporated association where a partner, the trustee, or the management committee is one of the above
  • the applicant or owner of an Australian Trade Mark

The full definition can be found under Section 1.4 of the .au Licensing Rules.

What is the Priority Allocation Process?

Full details and examples for the Priority Registration Process can be found on auDA's website:

See a visual chart outlining the priority allocation process for existing .au registrants (also linked to within the article above):

Please note that being able to participate in the Priority Allocation Process does not guarantee securing or being allocated the associated .au direct name. Registration of the .au direct name under this process is subject to:
  1. meeting the eligibility and allocation criteria for your existing domain name
  2. the name being either uncontested or the contention being resolved in your favour as per the steps outlined in the above links.

What should I do if I want to participate in the Priority Allocation Process?

Before you participate in the Priority Allocation Process, it is recommended that you:

  • Check the status of your existing domain name via the Priority Status Tool to confirm if:
    - it is considered a Priority Category 1 or Priority Category 2 under the Priority Allocation Process
    - it is uncontested, or to view the domain names in other .au namespaces that may contest it along with their Priority Category.

  • Check the details against your existing domain name via the Official .au WHOIS Lookup, ensuring that:
    - the Registrant and Registrant ID fields reflect your legal name and ABN/ACN respectively
    - the Eligibility Type field reflects the sector you are accredited to operate in or describes the nature of your organisation
    - the Registrant Contact Name and Registrant Contact Email fields are current.

    For example:

    Domain Name: DOMAINNAME.EDU.AU
    Registrant ID: ABN 18007342421
    Eligibility Type: Government Body
    Registrant Contact Name: Registrar Support
    Registrant Contact Email:

It is important to ensure that your registration details are correct and up to date as:
  1. if successfully allocated the .au direct name via the Priority Allocation Process, the name will be registered with the same details
  2. it is anticipated that where a name is contested, other parties may seek to challenge your eligibility for your existing domain to disqualify you from the process
  3. the authorisation code and confirmation emails for both opting into or out of the process will only be issued to the registrant contact by the .au registry.

You can change your contact name and email address via the management console. For instructions, see Updating WHOIS details for a domain.

If you need to change the registrant legal name, registrant ID or eligibility type, please email the details to for review.

How can I apply for a .au direct domain through the registrar?

Existing registrants looking to apply for their matching .au direct name through Education Services Australia, should complete the .au Direct Priority Application form on our website.

For those wishing to apply through another .au accredited registrar, please use the auDA Priority Token Retrieval Tool to recover your "Priority Contact ID" and "Priority Authentication Code" as they will be required to complete the application process where the registrar is not the sponsor of your existing domain name.

Please note that the tool will only issue the details to the current registrant contact email address. This can be updated via the management console. For instructions, see Updating WHOIS details for a domain.

For registrants seeking to register new .au direct names (i.e. names that have no existing matches in any of the other .au namespaces and will be available to the general public at launch), this feature will be added to the order form within the management console shortly.

While our initial priority is to assist registrants with securing their matching names, those wishing to register new names may still complete our .au Direct Priority Application form in the interim. However, depending on demand and competition for new names, you may also want to consider applying for new names via other registrars offering .au direct registrations to increase your chances of securing the new name (and with the option to transfer the registration to Education Services Australia in future, should you wish to).

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