Want a .gov? Start here.
.gov domains are available at no cost to qualifying U.S.-based government organizations.
|I’m new to .gov||I want another .gov domain|
New to .gov
This section describes the process for those without any .gov domain names.
- Step 0: Choose a great name
- Step 1: Determine your DNS host
- Step 2: Prepare and send the authorization letter
- Step 3: Submit the online form
- Step 4: Wait for review
- Step 5: Add name server addresses (if not done yet)
Step 0: Choose a great name
Your domain name represents your organization and your services to the world online. Good domain names are memorable, easy to say out loud (like over the phone or in a presentation), and must follow the general naming requirements and specific rules your organization type is subject to. (In practice, these requirements usually limit the range of potential names to only a few.)
Once you’ve reviewed the naming requirements, check to make sure your desired name hasn’t already been registered.
For more guidance on picking a great name, see our domain names FAQ.
Step 1: Determine your DNS host
We do not offer DNS hosting. This means you’ll need to operate authoritative DNS servers for your domain or obtain services from a DNS hosting provider. Where available, work with your IT support team to determine how you’ll host a new domain.
You do not need to have your hosting situation determined before making a request for a .gov domain. However, the domain cannot be activated until name server addresses are added to the .gov registrar and they are responding authoritatively.
For more information, see What are the name server requirements for .gov domains?
Step 2: Prepare and send the authorization letter
In order to request a domain name, we request an “authorization letter” from your authorizing authority. Who this is depends on your organization type (federal, state, city/county, etc.), but it is generally the highest ranking or highest elected official in your organization.
Use the appropriate template to prepare an authorization letter:
- Copy the template text into a document editor, then add the names and contact info for the people who will be your domain contacts. We require an administrative and a technical contact, and we recommend adding a security contact.
- Security contact details are made public, which allows people to report observed or potential security issues at your domain.
- Have your authorizing authority sign the document on official letterhead, and then send the signed authorization letter (in PDF) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once we receive your authorization letter, we will work to verify the authenticity of the request (including with your authorizing authority) and will create .gov registrar accounts for each domain contact.
Step 3: Submit the online form
After each domain contact has logged in to establish their account, any of them can complete the online domain request form at the .gov registrar. The form asks for some information you’ve already collected with the authorization letter, and allows you to submit name server information for your .gov domain, if known at this stage.
Step 4: Wait for review
Once the online form is complete, we will adjudicate the request.
- Requests from non-federal organizations are reviewed in approximately 20 business days, but may take longer in some instances.
- Federal agency requests typically are processed within 10 business days (executive branch requests are subject to OMB review).
Step 5: Add name server addresses (if not done yet)
If approved, you’ll be given a final opportunity to add name server addresses to the .gov registrar. This is a critical step: your domain will not be active in the .gov zone until your name servers are answering authoritatively.
Security best practices
Before you launch your new domain, we strongly recommend that you review our domain security best practices. Each recommendation can increase the resiliency of your online services while protecting your organization and its users.
Get another .gov domain
If you already have a .gov registrar account, log in and then click ‘Registration’ > ‘Register a domain’. Before doing that, we recommend you first consider how to choose a great name. After completing the domain registration form, you will also need to prepare and send an authorization letter.