For British .eu registrants, and there are currently around 135,000 of them, if they hadn’t realised they were about to lose their domain names as a result of Brexit, a notice sent to them by the .eu registry EURid last week may have jolted them into action to do something as they will no longer be eligible to hold their .eu domain name as of 1 January 2020.
The 1 January date is significant as on 31 December 2020, the 11-month transition period will come to an end, a period where the UK was bound to the EU’s rules. This period cannot be extended.
Brexit has been particularly harsh on .eu registrations which, going by EURid’s end of quarter reports, peaked at around 323,000 [pdf] at the end of the first quarter of 2018, meaning there have been close to 190,000 registrations lost in 27 months.
On 1 October EURid notified by email all British .eu registrants and their registrars that as of 1 January 2021 UK registrants will no longer be eligible to hold a .eu domain name unless they demonstrate their compliance with the .eu regulatory framework by updating their registration data before 31 December 2020, as per eligibility requirements. This compliance could be shown by proof the registrant of a European Union country, or a country in the wider European Economic Area, that is the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway. The registrant need not reside within the EEA (which includes the EU), they may reside anywhere in the world, but they need proof they or their company are a citizen of an EEA country or have a registered office in one of these countries.
On 21 December 2020 EURid will send out a second notification to UK registrants and their registrars to remind those that have not acted.
On 1 January 2021, EURid will again notify by email all UK registrants and their registrars that their domain name, or even domain names, is no longer compliant with the .eu regulatory framework and will be consequently withdrawn. This will mean withdrawn domain names will no longer function, as the domain name is removed from the zone file and can no longer support any active services (such as websites or email).
Twelve months after the end of the transition period on 1 January 2022, all the affected domain names will be REVOKED, and will become AVAILABLE for general registration. Their release will occur in batches from the time they become available.
For more information, and possibly more up to date information, see the EURid “Brexit notice” here. The BBC has published “Brexit: Seven things changing in January and others that remain unresolved” as well as an explainer “Brexit: What is the transition period?“