Can you keep your .eu domain name after Brexit?
As with many of the intricacies of the UK’s exit from Europe, there are some changes that may be coming for those with .eu domains.
If you’re a UK business with a .eu domain, you may need to look into changing it if and when the UK exits the EU, though exactly who will be affected by this is currently (June 2019) still under negotiation.
This change could affect over 300,000 people and organisations based in the UK. Therefore, if you are considering the change, it might be best to do it sooner rather than later. This is because, if there is a mass exodus from .eu domains, other domain extensions (such as .co.uk, .com, .org and .inc) will get snapped up and you may miss the chance to get the one you want.
There was a significant drop off of 5.9% in .eu domains in the earlier part of 2018, with more predicted to follow. It is, of course, understood that UK businesses will not be entitled to own an .eu domain if the domain is registered to a UK address.
How do I move from a .eu domain name to a non-eu domain address?
There are several steps to follow that could make the .eu migration easier, if necessary at all…
- If your company or business has a European postal address, you may be able to switch your domain admin address over to that address, though this could depend on the who registered the domain – this is as yet unclear.
- If you don’t have a European postal address, or a business subsidiary to move your address to, you need to start considering moving your domain. Look for the same name under .co.uk, .uk and .com to start with. If those are taken, consider an easy, minor alteration to your previous name or look at less frequented options, such as .net, .inc or .biz.
- Whilst you’re looking at potential domain names, it might be worth combining your purchases. There will be a lot of demand for non .eu domains – ones that are similar to yours may also get bought up, causing you issues when customers try to find your new site.
- It has recently been announced that any freed up .eu addresses will be resold to European businesses a year after Brexit. This means that your original .eu address may end up being used by another company, eventually. Remember to remove your old web address from all correspondence and social media to avoid confusion.
Note that if you are resident in Europe citizen, but your business is registered in the UK you probably won’t be able to keep your .eu domain either – so the same steps apply.
Under the initial Brexit date of March 29th, the EURid website said:
“There may be situations of EU citizens, who at present are residing in the UK and have registered a .eu domain name. These citizens would become ineligible as a result of the UK withdrawal and would, therefore lose their eligibility for a .eu domain name, but might become eligible again when the new .eu regulatory framework comes into force later this year. At present, such individuals will experience a disruption of service from 30 May 2019, as a result of the withdrawal of the name.”
As Brexit has now been delayed, the official cut-off date is uncertain, but general advice is still the same. If you can move your domain sooner rather than later, you may be better off in the long run.
To keep up to date with developments regarding this change, have a look at the European Commission’s Digital Single Market news page.