News article

Brexit: .eu domain names and the transition period

2 July 2020


Find out what you need to do before the end of the transition period if you hold a .eu domain

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, entering a 'transition period'. This period was agreed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement and will last until at least 31 December 2020.

During this transition period, UK residents and citizens can continue to hold and register a .eu domain name. However, this will change once the period expires.

What you need to do

1. Check your eligibility
From 1 January 2021, you'll no longer be able to register or renew .eu domain names if:

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

Read the latest .eu domain names notice from the European Commission.

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

  • an EU/EEA citizen, independently of where you live
  • not an EU/EEA citizen but resident in the EU/EEA
  • an organisation, business or undertaking that is established in the EU/EEA

If you already have a .eu domain or are considering obtaining one, you should check the eligibility criteria set out in Article 4(2)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 733/2002, as amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/517, and seek legal advice if necessary.

You may still satisfy the eligibility criteria if you have your registered office, central administration, or principal place of business within the EU/EEA, are established within the EU/EEA, or are a natural person resident in the EU/EEA.

The European Commission and EURid, the registry which is responsible for the day-to-day running of the .eu Top Level Domain, have confirmed that 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, discuss with your registrar whether you will need to provide proof of eligibility.

2. What will happen if you don't meet the eligibility criteria
On 3 June 2020, EURid published guidance for UK registrants and the steps it will take around the end of the transition period. Their notice states that:

  • UK registrants will receive an email notification from EURid on 1 October 2020 informing them that they will lose their eligibility to retain their .eu domain name as of 1 January 2021 unless they can demonstrate their compliance with the .eu regulatory framework by updating their registration data before 31 December 2020.
  • EURid will then send a further email on 21 December 2020 notifying all UK registrants who did not demonstrate continued compliance with the eligibility criteria and their registrars of risk of forthcoming non-compliance with the .eu regulatory framework.
  • As of 1 January 2021, any UK registrant who cannot meet the eligibility criteria will have their .eu domain names withdrawn. A withdrawn domain name no longer functions, as the domain name is removed from the zone file and can no longer support any active services (such as websites or email).
  • Withdrawn domain names will not be available to any other entity for a further twelve months. On 1 January 2022, all the withdrawn domain names will be revoked and made available for registration by other entities.

Read the latest Brexit notice from EURid.

If you no longer meet the eligibility criteria

If you no longer meet the eligibility criteria, you should:

1) Discuss with your local 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.

2) 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.

3) 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:

  • .eu email addresses that access critical business processes, including online banking services, online payment providers, government services like HMRC online, or payment verification systems
  • .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
  • .eu email addresses used to communicate with customers, clients, internal communications or to distribute mailing lists
  • .eu websites or email accounts that hold data that you need to transfer before any loss of access
  • 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.

This list is not exhaustive, and you may also wish to consider and address any other areas that depend on your .eu domain name.

Registering a .eu domain name after the end of the transition period

If you are a UK resident, company or organisation planning to acquire a .eu domain name, check whether you remain eligible from 1 January 2021.

If you've registered Top Level Domains for EU member states

Similar eligibility restrictions may apply to EU Member State Country Code Top Level Domains such as .fr or .it.

You should check with your registrar that you're still eligible to retain the use of that domain from 1 January 2021.

Further information

The guidance takes into account the latest information published by EURid on 3 June 2020.

First published 30 September 2019