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Opening the .swiss domain to natural persons

Sole proprietorships without an entry in the commercial register should also be able to obtain a .swiss domain name in future. (zVg) / b52_Tresa
Bern - Starting in the first half of 2024, natural persons domiciled in Switzerland or with Swiss citizenship will also be able to acquire a domain name ending in .swiss. To this end, the Federal Council has adopted a revision of the Ordinance on Internet Domains. It has also instructed the Federal Office of Communications, which is the registry operator of the .swiss domain, to prepare for this opening.
Sole proprietorships without an entry in the commercial register, such as architects or craftsmen, should also be able to obtain a .swiss domain name in future. The Federal Council has therefore decided to relax the established requirements for the allocation of these internet addresses. Accordingly, it has extended the eligibility for allocation of swiss domain names to natural persons domiciled in our country as well as to Swiss nationals living abroad. As a result, the entire Swiss community will have access to a name space intended for them of high quality and the highest possible security. This was the goal set by the Confederation at the time it took over operation of the .swiss domain.

Expansion subject to conditions

To obtain a .swiss domain name, a natural person must fulfil certain conditions: For example, the name applied for must in principle contain at least one of the official surnames or another surname registered with the civil registry office. In addition, Swiss nationals living abroad may only use their domain names ending in .swiss for private or charitable purposes or association purposes. A person who does not have a physical administrative domicile in Switzerland cannot therefore use an indication of origin such as .swiss for commercial activities from abroad.

Furthermore, the ordinance contains provisions on the order of allocation if several applications are submitted for the same .swiss domain name.

OFCOM will now prepare the operational opening of .swiss for natural persons, which is planned for the first half of 2024.

When it was launched in 2016, the allocation of .swiss domain names was reserved for companies entered in the Swiss commercial register with their registered office and physical administrative headquarters in Switzerland, Swiss public corporations or other Swiss organisations under public law, and Swiss associations and foundations. This restriction on the right to allocate was intended, on the one hand, to prevent a general rush for these domain names and, on the other, to enable OFCOM, in its capacity as registry operator, to carry out preliminary checks in order to guarantee the quality and security of this internet domain. At the beginning of May 2023, just under 19 000 domain names ending in .swiss were registered.

Fight against cybercrime

The revision of the VID is also intended to strengthen the fight against cybercrime. If it is suspected that abuse is being carried out via a website in the .ch or .swiss domain, the holder of the domain name in question will in future only have 10 days instead of the current 30 days to identify themselves and, if necessary, to provide a valid correspondence address in Switzerland. In addition, a new provision will be introduced for domain names that were allocated less than 90 days ago: If there is a suspicion that an illegal act has been committed by means of a newly allocated domain name, the registry operator can block it for 10 days and then revoke the allocation if the holder has not correctly disclosed his or her identity within the same period.


published: Thursday, June 29, 2023 / 3:32 PM , updated: Thursday, June 29, 2023 / 3:34 PM