Immediately upon registration a domain name becomes ACTIVE, meaning that it is not available for registration.
It may take anywhere from 1 hour to 48 hours for the whois record to be updated for a newly registered domain. While registrations take a fraction of a second, updating the whois record usually requires some time.
Under most circumstances, a domain can be active for 1-10 years depending on the duration of the registration selected by the user.
During the "ACTIVE" state a domain name can be transfered from one registrar to another.