Individuals and companies based in Great Britain are threatened with the loss of their .EU domains. On March 29, 2019, Great Britain will most likely become a third country. It’s up in the air if there will be a hard Brexit or weather the exit will even be postponed. Since the referendum in 2016, however, it has been clear that Great Britain is leaving the EU. Currently, nobody can tell how the exit of Great Britain will be carried out. But we have compiled information on how things will go on in the matter of .EU domains and what domain owners should pay attention to.
What means the Brexit for .EU domain owners?
For all those who remain in the EU, e.g. German owners of .EU domains, this has no effect so far. However, the situation is different for individuals, companies and organizations based in Great Britain: After the Brexit they will no longer be eligible to register .EU domains. In the course of the Brexit, about 300.000 owners of .EU domains may even lose their .EU address.
What happens with already registered .EU domains?
The EU Commission has entitled the registry EURid to withdraw .EU domains that will not meet the registration requirements on the date of the exit. This would require neither arbitration nor a special reason – EURid may decide at its own discretion.
Thomas Rickert, a domain law expert at eco Association of the Internet industry, explained the current situation to us: (Snapshot)
With the Brexit, the Britains will lose the possibility to register or keep a .EU domain. From March 30, 2019 on, the registrations of .EU domains will no longer be available for individuals, companies or organizations.
This means that starting on March 29, 2019, domain owners will violate the guidelines for .EU domains. Therefore, on March 29, 2019 they will be notified via email and receive a reminder on March 30, 2019 to change the contact data stored in the Whois to an EU-based address, for example by transferring the regarding .EU domains to an EU resident registrant. If the data will not be changed, the domain will become inactive starting May 30, 2019. They can be reactivated for one year. Then they will not automatically be renewed, but deleted and made available to anyone for registration.
This way, the registrants of .EU domains in Great Britain have enough time to find an appropriate solution without third parties being able to secure the trademarks and company domains with an .EU extension.
Which solutions are available?
British registrants could transfer their .EU domains to an EU resident trustee who meets the registration guidelines for .EU domains. Another possibility could be to register the matching domain under a ccTLD if still available. If this is not the case, .EU domain owners could focus on relevant industry TLDs to register matching domains.
One thing is certain, though: Even if there were a deal between Great Britain and the EU, .EU domains that have been registered in the United Kingdom would need to be transferred.
+++ Update +++
The regulations in case of a Brexit have been lifted. EU residents who permanently or temporarily live in Great Britain will not lose their .EU domains when the planned exit will be carried out. A notice to Brexit lobbyists last week announced that Member State nationals could keep and re-register domains regardless of their place of residence.
It remains the case, however, that British citizens may no longer hold or register .EU domains in the case of Brexit.