From 1 July, the EU covid passport will become available in all EU Member States
Finding our way around the different travel rules and regulations in the past one a half years has been quite challenging. That’s why the EU is introducing a new covid passport, also called the Digital Green Certificate, which will simplify the process of getting across borders while keeping both travelers and the locals safe. What is the EU covid passport? Essentially, it is an official certificate to be accepted by all the European Union Member States and its main purpose is to facilitate safe and free movement of people within the bloc. The EU Digital COVID certificate (EUDCC) is used to verify that a person has been vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19, or tested negative for the virus. The main features of the certificate are: Digital and/or paper format QR code Free of charge In national language and English Safe and secure Valid in all EU countries Citizens of each state will have the option to acquire a paper certificate and a digital one, which can be stored on their mobile phones. Such a certificate will include a QR code and essential personal information (full name, date of birth, and the name of the EU Member State) verifying its authenticity and validity. The personal data on the certificate do not get stored or passed on while being checked by another Member State, which ensures their safety and security. How do I obtain the EU covid passport? How do I obtain the EU covid passport? To obtain the passport, it is necessary to meet the requirements for vaccination, recovery, or testing negative. Each country is issuing certificates via its own channels and apps created in collaboration with the European Commission. Vaccinated travelers will be issued a certificate after the first shot of a two-dose vaccine. The used vaccine must be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) — Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, and Janssen. The certificate of a vaccinated person will include additional information on the vaccine, such as its manufacturer, the number of administered doses, and the date of the vaccination. Today, a majority of countries in Europe have started using the EUDCC Gateway while supporting at least one certificate in terms of vaccination, recovery, and negative test result. The countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Iceland. On 24 June, Norway eased off restrictions on travel using the EU covid passport, however, for the time being it’ll only accept passes from Austria, Bulgaria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Croatia, Iceland, Poland, and Latvia. During the so-called phase-in period between 1 July and 12 August, EU Member States can still use other formats apart from the covid passport in case they are not ready to start issuing the covid certificates to their citizens. These formats should be accepted by the other Member States as well. Those who have recovered from the disease will have their covid certificates valid for 180 days since the last positive test result: “The EU Digital Covid Certificate of recovery confirms that the holder has recovered from a SARS-CoV-2 infection following a positive test. It should be issued no earlier than 11 days after the first positive test,” according to the European Commission. A test certificate is based on either a PCR or antigen test with a negative result. What countries are set to adopt the EU covid passport? The passport will be officially available in all EU Member States from the beginning of July. Still, individual states have already been issuing and using it since its launch at the beginning of June. On 1 June, the interconnection of national systems — EU Gateway — was launched. A handful of European countries started using the certificate already from this date, and they include Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia, and Poland. The launch is followed by one month of a warm-up phase in which individual countries can start using the certificate on a voluntary basis.