12 Aug 2020

According to the legislative requirements[1], the following individuals and businesses are eligible to register .eu domain names:

  • an European Union ("EU") citizen, independently of their place of residence
  • a natural person who is not an EU citizen, but who is resident in an EU member state
  • an undertaking established in the EU; or
  • an organisation that is established in the EU, without prejudice to the application of national law.

Following Exit Day[2], undertakings and organisations established in the United Kingdom ("UK") but not in any other EU member state, and UK citizens who are not resident in an EU member state (collectively "UK Registrants"), will no longer be eligible to hold or register an .eu domain name[3].

It is anticipated that this will impact over 300,000 .eu domain names registered to UK-based companies and individuals.

What will happen to existing .eu domain name registrations?

On 1 October 2020, EURid (the registry manager for .eu domain names) proposes to notify all UK registrants (and their registrars) that they will lose their eligibility as of 1 January 2021, unless they can prove compliance with the legislative requirements – by updating their details before 31 December 2020.

This could include:

  • for organisations, transferring/registering to a legally established entity/address in an eligible EU member state; or
  • for individuals, updating their residence to an EU member state.

If these requirements remain unfulfilled, the right-holder (and their registrar) will be notified of their non-compliance on 21 December 2020 and, failing any remedial action, confirmation of the withdrawal of the .eu domain name registration will be sent on 1 January 2021. A withdrawn domain name no longer functions; it will no longer support any active services (such as websites or email).

After twelve months following Exit Day (currently, 1 January 2022), all of the affected domain names which were withdrawn will be revoked – thereafter, becoming available for general registration. Their release will occur in batches from the time they become available.

Can UK-based businesses apply for a new .eu domain name after Exit Day?

As from 1 January 2021, 00:00:00 Central European Time, EURid will not allow the registration of any new domain name by UK Registrants, nor the transfer (including transfer through update) of any domain name to a UK Registrant.

Only individuals or organisations that can demonstrate that they fulfil the legislative requirements will be able to register an .eu domain name.

What if my question is not answered here?

Please contact any member of our Intellectual Property team if you have any additional questions.

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[1] Set out by Article 4(2)(b) of Regulation (EC) No 733/2202, as amended by Regulation (EU) 2019/517

[2] The day which marks the end of the period of time during which the UK will remain in both the EU customs union and the single market, currently 31 December 2020.

[3] EU citizens resident in the UK, and UK citizens resident in an EU member state, will maintain their eligibility after Exit Day.