Guideline on How Your Domain Names Will Be Affected By Brexit

What will happen if you don’t meet the eligibility criteria?

From 1 January 2021, any UK registrant who cannot meet the eligibility criteria set out by the EU will have his .eu domain names suspended. A suspended domain name can no longer support any active services (such as websites or email). However, the domain name can be reinstated if registration data is updated to meet the so-called eligibility criteria.

Domain names that are not reinstated will remain suspended until 30 June 2021. They will then be withdrawn as from 1 July 2021. On 1 January 2022, all the withdrawn domain names will be revoked. They will then start to be made available for registration by other entities.

To prevent this from happening you are advised to consult with your domain name expert.

Do you fulfil the eligibility criteria? 

You are not able to register or renew .eu domain names:

  1. if your business or undertaking is established in the UK but not in the EU or
  2. if you live outside of the EU and are not an EU citizen.

You can only register or hold .eu domain names if you are:

  1. an EU citizen, no matter where you live, (hereunder the UK)
  2. not an EU citizen, but resident in the EU,
  3. a business or undertaking that is established in the EU.

You may still satisfy the eligibility criteria if you

  1. have registered an office, central administration, or principal place of business within the EU,
  2. are established within the EU, or
  3. are a natural person resident in the EU.

What to do if you no longer meet the eligibility criteria

  1. Discuss with your domain name expert whether to transfer your internet presence to another top level domain, such as .com, .co.uk, or .org. It will be possible to get advice on how to let your customers know that you are moving or have moved to another domain, or how to update optimisation of your search engine.
  2. Seek advice from your domain name expert on whether the terms of your contractual agreement provide for any options in the event of withdrawal or revocation of your .eu
  3. Consider developing a migration plan for services and functions that your .eu domain, website or associated email address is linked to or supports, such as:
  • IP rights impacted by the loss of your .eu domain name
  • .eu email addresses that access critical business processes, such as online banking services, online payment services, government services, or payment verification systems,
  • .eu email addresses that access services that use an email and password for registration, including membership organisations, social media, and two-factor authentication services,
  • .eu email addresses used to communicate with clients, customers, employees or to distribute mailing lists,
  • .eu websites or email accounts that hold data that you need to transfer before any loss of access,
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN) or similar services that use your .eu domain name
    The list is not exhaustive.

The list is not exhaustive.

Conclusion

If you already have an .eu domain or are considering obtaining one, you are advised to seek legal advice, hereunder to discuss with your domain name expert whether you will need to provide proof of you fulfilling the eligibility criteria in order not to risk your domain names being suspended, and ultimately withdrawn and revoked, whereby they will be available for registration by other entities.

This news article does not intend to cover all domain name related issues that Brexit creates.  The above is only a brief summary of some issues covered and not to be regarded as actual legal advice.  Concrete and detailed legal advice should be obtained if you have any questions on the impact that Brexit will have on your domain name situation and strategy.

Further information: