Brexit and .eu domains
October 1, 2020

The European Registry for Internet Domains (EURid) launched ‎the “.eu” top level ‎domain in 2005. It offers the opportunity of a ‎pan-European Internet name (for ‎websites and e-mail ‎addresses) for those who meet the eligibility criteria. At ‎‎present, there are approximately 135,000 .eu domains ‎registered to individuals, ‎businesses and organisations in ‎the United Kingdom.‎

The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020 at 11pm. It is ‎now in a transition ‎period until 11pm, ‎‎31 December 2020. During the transition period individuals, businesses and organisations in the UK can continue to register and renew .eu domains. However, after the end of the ‎transition ‎period, EURid has the authority to revoke .eu domains held by ‎UK-based ‎registrants who no longer fulfil the eligibility criteria. ‎In its Brexit notice of 3 June ‎‎2020, EURid warns that it will make ‎such domains inoperable from 1 January 2021. It also plans to revoke the domains of ineligible registrants from 1 January 2022. We therefore recommend our UK ‎clients to review whether they have .eu ‎domains and, if so, ‎whether the registrant can satisfy the following criteria from 31 December 2020:‎

  1. a) A citizen of the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (the EEA), ‎irrespective of their place ‎of residence;‎
  2. b) A natural person who is resident in the EU or the EEA, but ‎who is not a citizen of the EU or the EEA;‎
  3. c) An undertaking that is established in the EU or the EEA; ‎or
  4. d) An organisation that is established in the EU or the EEA.‎

Where an individual can meet the above criteria, they should update ‎the registration details of their .eu domain to ‎show EURid how they satisfy the criteria.

For UK businesses and organisations with .eu domains, ‎the position is less ‎clear, since the term “established” is not ‎defined in the criteria. This term ‎is broad and open to ‎interpretation. However, in our opinion, it implies something ‎‎more than a mere forwarding address in the EU or the EEA. ‎

If a business or organisation has subsidiaries in ‎the EU or the EEA, we recommend that ‎they consider transferring any .eu ‎domains held in the name of ‎a UK entity to a subsidiary which satisfies the above criteria. Otherwise, where this is not possible, we suggest ‎assessing whether the .eu ‎domain(s) can be left to expire, and any content be transferred to another domain. ‎‎Unfortunately, proxy services are not permissible under EURid’s ‎Domain Name ‎Registration policy.‎

If we can assist you in managing your domain names in preparation for Brexit, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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