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DCMS: UK holders of .eu domains should get new TLD and seek legal advice
14 January 2019 (Edited )
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The UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has issued a guidance document for UK holders of European Union top-level domain names (.eu).

The first piece of advice provided in that document to UK holders of .eu domains is to check this EU Regulation to determine continued eligibility (or not) to hold a .eu domain post-Brexit:

Regulation (EC) No 733/2002 of the European Parliament

The relevant part of Regulation 733/2002 says, regarding the responsibilities of the .EU Registry [emphasis added]:

"The Registry shall:

(a) organise, administer and manage TLD in the general interest and on the basis of principles of quality, efficiency, reliability and accessibility;

(b) register domain names in the .eu TLD through any accredited .eu Registrar requested by any:

(i) undertaking having its registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the Community, or

(ii) organisation established within the Community without prejudice to the application of national law, or

(iii) natural person resident within the Community;"

So: to hold a .eu domain, an entity needs to meet at least one of those criteria. (Note that "Community" means the EU.)

The European Commission has confirmed in a media release that after the exit of the UK from the EU, entities established in the UK but not in the EU will no longer be able to register or renew .eu domains.

What DCMS suggests you do if you're in that situation:

  • Regardless of whether your current .eu registration expires before or after 29 March 2019, work with your local registrar to acquire a domain in another tld such as .com,, .net or .org.
  • Be aware that after 29 March you may no longer be able to access your site files or e-mail if still in a .eu domain.
  • Find out if your contract with your local registrar provides any recourse in the event of revocation of your .eu registration.
  • If planning to buy a .eu registration, check your post-Brexit eligibility under Regulation 733/2002.
  • Seek legal advice.



Sounds like the EC is very serious about this. If you haven't registered (or tried to) a .com domain in the past, know that that's a very competitive market, and not that many domain names that are relevant to your organization may be available. And .net and .org domains put you at a serious disadvantage when people are trying to find your website.

Take the best action you can, but take it fast!

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