How Brexit will affect .eu Domain Names

Posted on 28th February 2019


 

Once the UK has officially left the European Union (EU), those with an address in the UK or Gibraltar and UK companies without a presence elsewhere in the EU will no longer meet eligibility requirements for the .eu domain name.
 

The European Commission did debate whether or not they should allow existing domain owners to keep and renew their .eu domains indefinitely, but they sadly decided against this.
 

As such, it’s now time to start preparing for Brexit if you have a .eu domain name.
 

Of course no one knows how Brexit will play out, but in January this year, EURid, the .eu domain Registry, released some information on how Brexit could proceed. There are 3 possible outcomes:
 

- Hard Brexit: The UK leaves the EU with no deal on March 30, 2019.

- Soft Brexit: The UK leaves the EU on or after December 31, 2020, following a planned transitional period.

- Soft Brexit with .eu Provisions: The UK leaves the EU with a planned transitional period, and the deal includes provisions for .eu domains.
 

Outcome 1: Hard Brexit

Here are the dates and statuses you should be aware of if you’ve got a .eu domain registered in the event of a Hard Brexit:
 

23rd - 30th March 2019 30th March 2019 30th May 2019 30th March 2020
Registry NotificationsNew RequirementsWithdrawn StatusDeletion
Registry will contact registrars and registrants of ineligible domain names, informing them or eligibility requirements,  timelines and consequences of ineligibility.Local presence eligibility will be limited to registrants in the remaining 27 countries of the EU or in EEA member countries.

Domains Locked
The following actions would no longer be permitted:
 - Ownership changes to non-EU registrant
 - Explicit Renewals
 - Auto Renewals
Any domains that do not meet eligibility requirements will be placed in Withdrawn Status. The domain will remain on file with the registry, but no longer resolves.

Registrants may still update their registration data to meet the eligibility requirements, therefore reactivating their domain.
All ineligible domain names in Withdrawn Status will be deleted and made available for registration by any eligible registrant.
Domains and services remain activeDomains and services are deactivated.
Domains can be updated to meet eligibility requirementsUpdates are no longer possible


Domains belonging to EU Citizens living in the UK


These EU27 citizens would become ineligible on 30th March 2019 as the EURid policy determines eligibility based on the address of the registrant. However, the EU Commission has announced policy changes which would allow EU citizens in the UK to regain eligibility. These registrants would lose their eligibility on the 30th March 2019, but would likely become eligible once the new .eu regulations come into force later on in 2019.

There's sadly not any clarity on how long of a gap there'll be between the UK's withdrawal and the implementation of this new policy.
 

Outcome 2: Soft Brexit

If the UK were to leave the EU on or after 31st December 2020 after a planned transitional period, EURid's plan would be similar to the Hard Brext plan but with more time.

Here are the dates and statuses you should be aware of if you’ve got a .eu domain registered in the event of a Soft Brexit:
 

23rd December 2020 - 1st January 2021 1st January 2021 2nd March 2021 21st January
Registry NotificationsNew RequirementsWithdrawn StatusDeletion
Registry will contact registrars and registrants of ineligible domain names, informing them or eligibility requirements,  timelines and consequences of ineligibility.Local presence eligibility will be limited to registrants in the remaining 27 countries of the EU or in EEA member countries.

Domains Locked
The following actions would no longer be permitted:
 - Ownership changes to non-EU registrant
 - Explicit Renewals
 - Auto Renewals
Any domains that do not meet eligibility requirements will be placed in Withdrawn Status. The domain will remain on file with the registry, but no longer resolves.

Registrants may still update their registration data to meet the eligibility requirements, therefore reactivating their domain.
All ineligible domain names in Withdrawn Status will be deleted and made available for registration by any eligible registrant.
Domains and services remain activeDomains and services are deactivated.
Domains can be updated to meet eligibility requirementsUpdates are no longer possible


Domains belonging to EU Citizens living in the UK


The EU27 citizens living in the UK or Gibraltar would not become ineligible, as the new .eu regulatory framework would come into force in 2019, before ineligibility begins to exist in 2021. Depending on how EURid implements this new policy from the EU commission, EU citizens living outside of the EU could potentially be required to actively validate their eligibilty in order to maintain their registration.
 

Outcome 3: Soft Brexit with .eu provisions

In the event of a Soft Brexit where the deal includes provisions for .eu domain names, EURid would go without the transition plans outlined in the above tables and instead adopt whatever transition plan the provisions call for.
 

Preparing for Brexit

As no one knows for sure how Brexit will play out, we recommend preparing for the worst.

It's definitely worth registering a new, non .eu domain name now and moving your site to that new domain. You then have a fair amount of time for 301 redirects on your .eu domain to work and make sure that changing your domain doesn't hinder your SEO too much.

If you're a client of Toolkit Websites and you have a .eu domain and are not based in the EU, only in the UK, we can register a new domain for you and perform our Domain Name Migration service to move your website to that domain.

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