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What happens when you register a .CA domain name? When will it expire – and what happens if it does?

Phases of the .CA domain name life cycle 

Domain is available

You can perform a search on either our website or a registrar’s website to see what domain names are available.

Domain is registered (0-7 days)

Once you register the domain, you have seven days to accept the CIRA registrant agreement to seal the deal. Most registrars have integrated this step into the process of buying the domain. The domain will not be functional until the agreement has been accepted.

Add grace period (5 days)

This period has little effect on registrants. The domain is fully registered and responds as a domain in the registered state would. During this period, registrars have the ability to cancel the domain name for a full refund if an error has been made.

Registration period (1-10 years)

The domain can be registered with a registrar anywhere from one to ten years at a time, and can be renewed with your registrar at any time prior to its expiry date. To save yourself from future issues, note the domain expiry date and be sure to renew before the domain expires. Some registrars offer an auto-renew service.

The domain expires

Upon the expiry date, CIRA will automatically renew your .CA for one year, charging your registrar. You will need to renew the domain with your registrar if you want to keep it. Your registrar has the ability to cancel this renewal, if you haven't renewed the domain with them. Expiry dates for .CA domains can be found by searching the WHOIS directory. If it's past your expiry date with your registrar, you will notice that the WHOIS record for your domain has changed to one year after the expiry date.

Auto-renew grace period (0-45 days)

If you don’t renew your domain prior to the expiry date, it will enter the auto-renew grace period, which can be up to 45 days in length. The length of this period is controlled by the registrar managing the domain, and as such varies according to their own policies. During this period, the domain name may cease to function, this action is controlled by the registrar.

Redemption grace period (30 days)

If you didn't renew with your registrar during the auto-renew grace period, your domain is now deleted and enters a 30-day redemption grace period. During this period, the domain is no longer active - any websites or email addresses associated with the domain name will cease to function.

During this period, you may request that your registrar restore and renew the deleted .CA for one year. This is your final opportunity to renew the domain.

Domain is added to the To Be Released (TBR) list

Once the redemption grace period ends and you haven't renewed your domain, the domain name status will change to pending delete and will be put onto the TBR list. CIRA releases domains through the TBR session every Wednesday at 19:00 (UTC)– the TBR list is updated every day. 

TBR session is held

For a domain to be included in a TBR session, it must appear on the TBR list for a minimum of 60 hours, up to one week. Only registrars can participate in the TBR session. If there is a domain name on the TBR list that you are interested in, contact a registrar that offers TBR as a service to express interest in registering the domain.

General availability

Domain names that were not registered during the TBR session become available to register shortly (less than 20 minutes) after the TBR session ends.