Update: in the most recent Brexit notice update, EURid has stated that the following guidelines are on hold. The official information from gov.uk has not been updated since October 2019, so it is unknown what the exact terms of the deal are in this regard. However, it is still very likely that owners of an EU domain will need to ensure it is registered under an EU address in the near future.
The UK’s exit from the European Union has prompted a range of concerns, but one question is especially relevant for online businesses: what happens to .eu domain names registered in the UK?
Brexit notice from the .eu registry
EURid, the registry that manages the .eu domain, has released a Brexit notice detailing how the .eu regulatory framework will change as the UK’s exit comes into effect.
The .eu Brexit notice states that individuals and organisations that do not reside within the EU will no longer be eligible to register or renew .eu domain names after the UK’s withdrawal date.
However, this date may be subject to a withdrawal agreement that includes a transitional arrangement. Confirmation is not yet possible due to ongoing UK-EU negotiations, but EURid has outlined action plans for two possible scenarios:
Assuming the UK leaves the EU with no deal (please note the following guidelines are based on the previous date of 31 October 2019):
- Following the deadline, it will no longer be possible to register or renew .eu domains with the UK registrant country code (GB/GI), unless the registrant is an EU citizen regardless of their place of residence.
- Registrants of existing .eu domains who do not comply with the registration changes will be notified by email.
- Registrants will be given until 1 January 2020 to update their data or transfer their domains to a valid EU registrant. The domains in question will remain active during this two-month period, but will not be eligible for renewal or transfer to another non-EU registrant.
- Any registrants who do not show compliance by the end of the two-month period will have their domains withdrawn, meaning they will no longer function with website or email services. On 1 November 2020, the affected domains will be revoked and will become available for general registration.
Please note that these plans and dates are all subject to future developments in the Brexit process, and there is still uncertainty. EURid will provide updates as and when the situation changes. While the dates will change, the timeline is expected to remain the same.
Full details of the current action plans: https://eurid.eu/en/register-a-eu-domain/brexit-notice/.
How to keep .eu domains after Brexit
As detailed in the Brexit notice above, the only way for UK-based people and businesses to keep their .eu domains is to update their registration data with valid EU contact details.
This is possible, for example, if your company has a registered address located inside one of the remaining 27 EU countries or the European Economic Area. With valid contact details for an EU-resident individual or legally established entity, your .eu domains will be fully compliant with the changes and will continue to function normally.
For information on changing the address associated with a domain in your Fasthosts control panel, read our help article: how to update the contact details for a domain name.
.eu domains post Brexit: what to do next
If you intend to keep your .eu domains after Brexit, we recommend updating your contact details with an EU address as soon as possible.
However, if you don’t intend to keep your .eu domains post Brexit, there are still steps you can take to manage the transition. If you haven’t already done so, you should start redirecting traffic to a different domain immediately – this will introduce your new web address to users in advance, while also minimising any impact on your SEO ranking and online marketing activities.
Need an alternative domain name? The .uk domain is ideal for any British business looking to attract both a local and a global audience – and if you already have a .co.uk, you may have the equivalent .uk set aside for you. Even better, you can now get your reserved .uk domain free for the first year with Fasthosts. Visit our rights of registration page to find out more.