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26th February 2019

What happens to my .EU domain after Brexit?

26th February 2019

What happens to my .EU domain after Brexit?

Ryan Mitchell

Posted: 26th February 2019

T: 023 8048 2316

E: Email Me

EURid is the registry manager for .eu domain names. On 24 January 2019 EURid published a notice explaining the implications of Brexit on .eu domains registered with the GB (Great Britain) and GI (Gibraltar) country codes.

The changes are necessary because .eu domains can only be held by registrants within the EEA (which the UK may be leaving as a result of Brexit).

At the end of last year the United Kingdom ranked sixth out of all EU member states for number of .eu domains registered. EURid reported that 240,887 .eu domains were registered to UK registrants and 1,109 to Gibraltar registrants. The ‘registrant’ of a domain name is the owner of that domain name.

If the UK leaves without a deal:

  • On 23 March 2019 and on 30 March 2019 (exit day), EURid will email GB and GI registrants that their domains are non-compliant.
  • From 30 March 2019 no new .eu domains can be registered under the GB or GI country codes.
  • For two-months after 30 March 2019, registrants who have a GB or GI country code:
    • will be allowed to update their information to show that they have an establishment in the EU (if they indeed have one);
    • will be allowed to transfer their domain names to other registrants. The exception is that .eu domains cannot be transferred to registrants who also have a GB or GI country code; and
    • will not be permitted to extend their term (unless transferring the domain to an eligible registrant) and will not have their domains automatically renewed.
  • From 30 May 2019 onwards any registrants who have not demonstrated eligibility (i.e. by updating their details to show establishment in the EEA) will have their domains withdrawn. This means their domains will be unavailable for use. From 30 May 2020, these withdrawn domains will be revoked and made available in batches for registration by other people.
  • If UK or GI registrant owns a domain name which is the subject of legal proceedings then the domain will remain on the register until 30 May 2019. After this date the domain will be suspended unless the court ruling establishes a transfer to a registrant who does not have a GB or GI country code. If the outcome of legal proceedings is that the domain should stay with the UK or GI registrant then the domain will be withdrawn.

If the UK leaves following a transition period

If the UK leaves the EU following a planned transitional period on 31 December 2020 (or a later date) then:

  • On 23 December 2020 and on 1 January 2021 EURid will email GB and GI registrants that their domains are non-compliant.
  • From 1 January 2021 no new .eu domains can be registered under the GB or GI country codes.
  • For two months after 1 January 2021, registrants who have a GB or GI country code:
    • will be allowed to update their information to show that they have an establishment in the EU (if they indeed have one);
    • will be allowed to transfer their domain names to other registrants. The exception is that these domains cannot be transferred to registrants who also have a GB or GI country code; and
    • will not be permitted to extend their term (unless transferring the domain to an eligible registrant) and will not have their domains automatically renewed.
  • From 2 March 2021 onwards any registrants who have not demonstrated eligibility (i.e. by updating their details to show establishment in the EEA) will have their domains withdrawn. This means their domains will be unavailable for use. From 1 January 2022, these withdrawn domains will be revoked and made available in batches for registration by other people.
  • If UK or GI registrant owns a domain name which is the subject of legal proceedings then the domain will remain on the register until 2 March 2021. After this date the domain will be suspended unless the court ruling establishes a transfer to a registrant who does not have a GB or GI country code. If the outcome of legal proceedings is that the domain should stay with the UK or GI registrant then the domain will be withdrawn.

What should I do?

Brexit negotiations are still underway. It is possible that UK (and Gibraltar) owners of .EU domain names may still be permitted to hold .eu domains if the UK remains in the European Economic Area post-Brexit. Nevertheless, you may want to consider:

  • transferring ownership of any .eu domain names to a EU-based subsidiary; or
  • moving your website to a different top-level domain (such as .com or .co.uk).

Even if you do not operate a .eu website, consider whether you use any email addresses using the .eu domain, as those will be lost unless you are able to establish eligibility.

For further advice in this area, please email me. 

To find out more about the intellectual property services we offer please follow this link.

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Ryan Mitchell

Posted: 26th February 2019

T: 023 8048 2316

E: Email Me