Skip to main content

Background: What is a country code top-level domain?

The section of a domain to the right of the dot is called a top-level domain (TLD). Anyone launching a website can choose a TLD that they think will best represent their brand and appeal to their website visitors. TLDs can be seen as symbols that indicate aspects of a website or email address, like location and trustworthiness, in just a few letters.

TLDs can be broken down into generic (gTLDs) like .com, .net and .org, and country code (ccTLDs) like .CA for Canada, .fr for France and .mx for Mexico.

Some ccTLDs have no restrictions for who can register them. Other ccTLDs, like .CA, have presence requirements - meaning only individuals, businesses, etc. can register them if they have a connection to the TLD's delegated country. How strict that connection is, and how it's enforced, is up to the ccTLD's registry.

Keeping .CA Canadian

What are the presence requirements for .CA domains?

The .CA registry is managed by CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (that's us!). .CA has always had Canadian Presence Requirements, meaning when you register a .CA, you must: 

  • select a category that indicates your connection to Canada. The most commonly chosen ones are Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident, and Corporation.
  • accept the .CA Registrant Agreement where you agree to terms for registering your domain name.

In certain limited circumstances after you register a .CA, CIRA may request that you send some documentation to prove that you fall under your chosen category and that you meet CIRA's Canadian Presence Requirements.

Learn more about CIRA's role as the .CA registry.

Frequently asked questions

  • How can I tell if a website/business is Canadian?

    .CA domains are reserved for individuals, businesses and organizations with a connection to Canada.

    When shopping online, we recommend that you always research and confirm the following, regardless of what the domain name for the website is:

    • Shipping details. Many companies have pages on their website dedicated to transparent shipping locations and details.
    • Price currencies. Check if prices are listed in CAD.  
    • Product information. If buying locally-made goods is important to you, find out if there is any information on materials used or location of assembly. 

    If you suspect that a .CA website does not have a connection to Canada, please report it to us and our compliance department can investigate.

  • What can I do if I experienced an issue with a .CA domain?

    If you experienced an issue with a .CA domain name such as phishing, scams, or fraud, please use this form to tell us more and learn what the next step is.

  • How many different Canadian presence requirement categories are there?

    There are 18 categories in total and can be broken down into two types.

    1. Individuals

    Includes: 

    • Canadian citizen
    • Permanent resident
    • Legal representative
    • Aboriginal peoples

    The contact information provided when you register a domain as an individual is not displayed in the .CA WHOIS; no need to purchase additional WHOIS privacy protection services from your registrar.

    2. Non-individuals

    Includes:

    • Corporation

    • Association

    • Partnership

    • Government

    • Trademark registered in Canada

    • and more - read the policy.

  • Do I have to provide my passport to register a .CA?

    No - not at the time of registration. However, in certain limited circumstances, after you register a .CA, CIRA may request that you send some documentation, such as a scan of your passport or permanent resident card, using a private webform to prove that you fall under your chosen category and that you meet CIRA's Canadian Presence Requirements.