The UK formally left the EU on 31st January 2020 following the ratification of the withdrawal agreement in Parliament. Following this date, a transition period that temporarily held off any changes began where the UK and the EU could negotiate their future relationship. This is due to finish on 31st December 2020.

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 don’t reside within the EU will no longer be eligible to register or renew .EU domain names after the UK’s withdrawal date.

What happens from 1st January 2021 with my .EU domain?

From 1st January 2021, you will no longer be eligible to hold or register a .EU domain name if you are a UK organisation, not a resident of an EU member state, or a UK resident that isn’t an EU citizen. If your current website has a .EU domain and you do not fulfil these criteria, it will stop working.

Keep EU domain hosting after Brexit

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.

EURid, the registry which is responsible for the day-to-day running of the EU domains, will have sent you an email on 1st October informing you that you will lose your .EU domain name

This email asks you to demonstrate your eligibility for retaining your domain name. You may be able to pass 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.

You can prove your eligibility, 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.

If your registration details are not updated to meet the new requirements by 31st December 2020, the domain name will be suspended on 1st January 2021. This could cause serious repercussions, such as causing your website to cease functioning or affecting your email.

There’s good news for Fasthosts customers however. For those of you who don’t have EU citizenship or residency, we have rolled out our free EU Partner Service in association with our partner company, so you can keep using and renewing your .eu domain. Simply log-in to your control panel, go to your .eu domain, and hit the ‘Save my domain’ button.

If you do hold an EU citizenship, or have an address in the EU, and need to update your contact details for your domain, you can do this in your Fasthosts control panel too.

What happens if I do nothing?

If you haven’t satisfied the requirements of eligibility you will receive another email from EURid on 21st December warning you of upcoming action. The .EU domain that you’ve been using will then be suspended on 1st January 2020.

If you don’t intend to keep your .EU domain or 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.