Guidance

.eu domain names - what you need to do to get ready for Brexit

If you hold a .eu domain name or are thinking of getting one, you need to check if you will still be eligible if there’s no Brexit deal.

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Check your eligibility

If there’s no Brexit deal you’ll no longer be able to renew or register .eu domain names if:

  • your organisation, business or undertaking is established in the UK but not in the EU/European Economic Area (EEA)
  • you live outside of the EU/EEA and are not an EU citizen

You can only register or hold .eu domain names if you are:

  • an EU citizen, independently of where you live
  • resident in the EU or EEA
  • an organisation, business or undertaking that is established in the EU or EEA

For example, you may still be eligible if you have your registered office, central administration, or principal place of business within the EU/EEA.

Check the eligibility criteria set out in Article 3 of the Regulation (EU) 2019/517 and the latest Commission notice.

EU citizens who are resident in the UK will be able to retain their .eu addresses. If you are an EU citizen living in the UK and have registered a .eu domain name, you may need to:

  • update your details to prove eligibility
  • discuss with your registrar whether you will need to provide proof of eligibility

Once the new regulation has been incorporated into the EEA agreement, EEA citizens will also be able to register for .eu domain names independently of their place of residence. The timing of incorporation will be determined by the EU and the EEA.

What will happen if there’s a no-deal Brexit

EURid, the registry which is responsible for the day-to-day running of the .eu Top Level Domain, has placed its plan for a ‘no deal’ Brexit on hold while it waits for further instructions from the European Commission. However, in its notice to stakeholders, published on 9 September, EURid provided the following guidance:

Before no deal exit date

You will receive an email notification from EURid ahead of the withdrawal date highlighting that your domain name will soon not be compliant with the .eu regulatory framework.

Two months grace period

There will be a two month grace period after the date of the UK’s exit during which your domain names will remain active and can continue to be used. This will give you an opportunity to demonstrate compliance with the .eu regulatory framework (for example by notifying EURid that you have a legally established entity in the EEA, updating residence to an EU or EEA member state, or demonstrating EU citizenship). It is not clear whether it will be possible to demonstrate eligibility after the end of the grace period.

During this time, you will not be able to register a .eu domain name, or extend the term of your current .eu domain licence if it is not compliant.

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria and your domain name expires during this two month period, it will not be automatically renewed. It will be withdrawn at the point of expiry.

Ten month withdrawal period

If you have not been able to demonstrate eligibility by the end of the two month grace period, your .eu domain name will be withdrawn and will become inoperable. This means that you will not be able to access your .eu websites or email from the end of the grace period.

One year from Exit

EURid will not make these domains available to any other entity for a further ten months. At the end of this period, all affected domain names will be revoked and become available for general registration.

Read the latest EURid notice.

What to do

If you are eligible

If there’s no Brexit deal, but you are still able to satisfy the eligibility criteria:

  1. Update your details to prove eligibility before the end of the two month grace period.
  2. Discuss with your domain name registrar whether you will need to provide proof of eligibility.

 If you are not eligible

If there’s no Brexit deal and you no longer meet the eligibility criteria:

  1. Check your domain name expiry date and consider whether to renew it ahead of Brexit, if it expires within the two month grace period.
  2. Discuss with your domain name registrar whether to transfer your internet presence to another top level domain. Examples include .com, .co.uk, .net or .org. Your registrar will be able to offer advice on how to let your customers know that you’re moving or have moved to another domain, such as a holding page to redirect web traffic towards a new domain, or advice on how to update your search engine optimisation.
  3. You may wish to seek advice from your local domain name registrar on whether the terms of your contractual agreement provide for any recourse in the event of withdrawal or revocation of a .eu registration. You may also want to seek legal advice.
  4. Consider developing a migration plan for services and functions that your .eu domain, website or associated email address is linked to or supports, such as:
  • a .eu email addresses that access critical business processes, including online banking services, online payment

  • providers, government services like HMRC online, or payment verification systems.

  • a .eu email addresses that access services that use an email and password for registration, including membership organisations and clubs, social media, and two-factor authentication services.

  • a .eu email addresses used to communicate with customers, clients, internal communications or to distribute mailing lists.

  • a .eu websites or email accounts that holds data that you need to transfer before any loss of access

  • a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or other services that use your .eu domain name

  • Trademark or intellectual property rights impacted by the loss of your .eu domain name

If you have registered for a Top Level Domain of an EU Member State

Similar eligibility restrictions may apply to EU Member State Country Code Top Level Domains such as .fr or .it. If there’s no Brexit deal, you should check with your registrar that you’re still eligible to retain the use of your domain.

Published 16 October 2019