New Government Services Policy (May 2020)

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In May 2020, Google will update the Other restricted businesses policy, and add a new Government Documents and Official Services policy. We will begin enforcing the policy on 26 May 2020, with full enforcement ramping up over approximately 5 weeks. The current policy for the Sale of free items, which is a part of our Other restricted businesses policy, will be removed.

New policy for government documents and official services

Google will no longer allow ads for documents and/or services that can be obtained directly from a government or a delegated provider. This includes offers of assistance to obtain these products or services. A delegated provider is defined as a company that has been officially entrusted or assigned by the original provider (the Government) to provide certain products or services on their behalf, that are either usually executed or had previously been done by the Government itself. Promotions from authorized providers or resellers will be prohibited. This policy will apply regardless of the price being charged by the advertiser for the product or service.

This new policy will prohibit the promotions for documents or services that facilitate the acquisition, renewal, replacement, or lookup of official documents or information that is available directly from a government or government delegated provider.

Examples (non-exhaustive): passports and other forms of national ID; proof of permanent residency; proof of immigration status/registration; driving licenses; travel documents like visas and Electronic Travel Authorizations (ETAs); social security cards; hunting or fishing licenses; gun licenses or registration; and documents or information derived from official registries like birth certificates, marriage certificates, and military records.

This policy will also prohibit promotions for assistance with applying or paying for official or public services that are directly available via a government or delegated provider.

Examples (non-exhaustive): assistance with applying for government appointments or benefits; assistance with requesting an official change of address, an official name change, unclaimed money, or a mail hold; and assistance with paying transportation fees, such as bridge tolls or congestion charges.

The following professional services are not restricted by this policy: tax preparation services, legal services, business-to-business (B2B) / enterprise services, immigration lawyers or immigration consultants where the focus is on consultation and not mere assistance acquiring particular travel documents.

Violations of this policy will be considered to be non-egregious and will therefore not lead to immediate account suspension without prior warning. Repeated violations could lead to account suspension.


(Posted March 2020)

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