The .eu top level domain, TLD, is run within an EU framework and the right to register and own a .eu domain name is subject to eligibility criteria – in short, being an EU citizen, or being a company established in the EU. For British citizens and companies in post-Brexit they’ll no longer meet the criteria to register, or indeed continue to own their .eu domains.
So what does this mean for British .eu domain name owners?
The domain registry in charge of all .eu domains, EURid, is working on the basis that Britain will leave the EU without a deal on 31st October 2019. Just a week or so before the date on which the UK would fall out of the EU (assuming no deal is in place, or an extension sought and granted) EURid will be sending out emails to all owners of .eu domains who are based in Britain or Gibraltar. Domain name owners will then have until the 1st January 2020 to try and meet the eligibility criteria. After this date any domain not meeting the criteria will be withdrawn, on a practical level meaning that any website or email service attached to that domain will no longer work. Then on 1st November 2020 those domains which have been withdrawn will be fully revoked and any third party (based in the EU) will be able to register them.
Next Steps for .EU Domain Name Owners
If you or your business owns a .EU domain there are a few things you should be thinking about.
Firstly check whether your .eu domains were registered with a GB or GI (Gibraltar) country code.
For British companies with a subsidiary in the EU it would be sensible for them to transfer any .eu domains into the European subsidiary before 1st January 2020.
For UK citizens who are living in the EU, or EU citizens living in the UK they’ll still be entitled to own their domains, but should ensure that all details are updated to avoid losing the domain.
For anyone unable to fall into either of the above camps they need to start planning for losing their .eu domain from 1st January next year. If you have a business that relies on a .eu domain now is the time to start planning and think about setting up a new domain and redirecting the .eu domain as soon as possible.
It is also worth checking when your .eu domain is due to expire. If the domain expires between 1st November 2019 and 1st January 2020 it will no longer automatically renew so if you need to renew it for a couple of months to buy your business more time to prepare you’ll need to manually renew it. Domain name monitoring services such as that offered by StatusCake are a good way of ensuring that you’re always alerted to an approaching domain name renewal date.