.AU direct domains march forward

A new Australian domain extension will be available from 24 March 2022, allowing eligible businesses to register .au ‘direct’ domain names for the first time.

What is the new domain?

The new domain extension is simply “.au” An example of a .au domain name is “pof.au”.

A .au domain name is an opportunity to shorten an existing domain name or to register a new one for the first time. Reasons to consider registering a .au domain name are:

  • To grow your online presence.
  • To simplify your domain name and make it easier to read and remember.
  • To make your mobile domain name search easier.
  • To ensure no one uses your existing domain name with the new .au extension.

When can a .au domain be registered?

Applications for .au domain names will open on 24 March 2022.  From that date, those with existing .com.au registered domain names will have 6 months in which to register the corresponding .au domain name.  This 6 month period is known as the Priority Allocation period and will see the corresponding domain name (for instance: pof.au) to your currently registered one (pof.com.au) reserved for you to register. Once the Priority Allocation period ends, .au domains will be available to anyone to register. There will be two categories of reserved domains:

  • Category 1 – for existing domains registered prior to 4 February 2018
  • Category 2 – for existing domains registered post 4 February 2018

For example: pof.com.au was registered prior to 2018, so it falls into Category 1. Category 1 domain holders will receive preference when registering .au domain names over Category 2 domain holders.

Eligibility Requirements

.au domain names are for general use, meaning any person or organisation can register them, provided they meet the eligibility criteria in the .au Licensing Rules. Unlike existing .au domain extensions (.com.au, net.au, etc.) which are subject to strict allocation criteria, the new .au domain extension does not need to match the applicant’s name, trade mark or a service, good, event, activity or premises provided by the applicant. Applicants must meet the same eligibility criteria (i.e. the ‘Australian presence’ requirement), however are otherwise free to register any available .au domain name.

If two or more eligible parties apply to register the same new .au, there will be a conflict. auDA, the body which oversees domain names in Australia,  is currently finalising details of what the conflict resolution process will be.

How much will it cost to register a .au domain?

Costs and registration periods are still to be confirmed and will depend on each Registrar but are expected to be in line with the current costs to register .com.au and .net.au domain names.


Natalie is an intellectual property manager with more than ten years’ experience in intellectual property (IP) research. She assists clients with renewals, registrations, new applications, filings, assignments and provides general IP advice.