Since July 1, the European Union has made its COVID-19 passport available to all of its citizens and residents as well as to particular groups of visitors from outside the EU.
Since the beginning of June, when the Member States began implementing the certificate one by one, the EU Commission’s procedures for its introduction have been finished.
What is the purpose of the EU’s COVID-19 Passport?
- The European Union produced the European COVID-19 travel certificate in an effort to reestablish travel freedom, which has been suspended for more than a year since the epidemic broke out worldwide.
- The Commission wants to eliminate travel limitations such as entry prohibitions, quarantine requirements, and testing through the certificate.
- The EU Commission has urged the Member States to lift the entry limitations placed on people’s freedom of movement since mid-March 2020, effective July 1 for those who possess such a document. However, the members have the option to lift those restrictions earlier.
What Is an EU COVID-19 Vaccine Passport/Certificate?
- The one-piece EU COVID-19 Vaccine Passport/Certificate is available to travelers in both paper and digital formats.
- Three versions of the EU’s COVID-19 passport have been introduced, depending on the status of the traveler: Vaccination passport, Test certificate, and Recovery certificate.
- Most people who possess such a document are allowed to travel throughout Europe without being quarantined or having their COVID-19 tested.
- Travelers should be aware that some Member States are putting more stringent restrictions on specific nations with higher COVID-19 rates.
What is a Vaccination Passport?
All persons who have received one of the four coronavirus vaccines authorized by the European Medicine Agency are given the EU COVID Vaccination Passport:
- Comirnaty (BioNTech, Pfizer)
- Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, Oxford)
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
The certificate serves as proof of vaccination while also providing details on the vaccine, such as when the doses were given, who the manufacturer is, etc.
What is a recovery certificate?
- The ability to travel with an EU COVID travel certificate should likewise be available to travelers who have recently recovered from COVID-19 infection.
- The Commission further notes that antibody testing, which determines whether a person has acquired antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, cannot be utilized to get a recovery certificate.
The EU Vaccination Passport: How Do I Use It?
- You must bring your certificate, whether it be in digital or print form, wherever you go in the EU. At any border crossings, you experience while traveling, you must present them.
- The certificates are protected from forgery by their own digital signature key, which is a component of the QR code.
- Through a gateway that the EU Commission built and is now connected to the national systems of the Member States, the verification was made possible.
What is a Test certificate?
- An EU COVID certificate may be obtained by any traveler who has undergone a COVID-19 PCR or Rapid Antigen test and had a negative result.
- The Member States must make this choice because the EU has not yet established a standard timeframe for when these tests must be completed.
What are the advantages of receiving an EU Digital COVID certificate?
- The EU DCC is a digital record that demonstrates a person’s Covid-19 immunization, test result, or recovery status in order to promote free movement within the EU. The EUDCC facilitates quicker and safer access to the European Union in its external aspect.
- Third-country nationals can now enjoy the same favorable travel conditions as EUDCC holders thanks to the expansion of the EU DCC’s exterior dimension through the process of recognizing Digital COVID Certificates issued by other nations.
- 14 days following the last dosage of an EU-approved vaccination, fully immunized individuals possessing the EU Digital COVID Certificate should be free from travel-related tests or quarantine. This should also apply to people who have recovered after receiving just one dose of a two-dose vaccine.
- The certificate can also be used to gain entrance to cultural events, locations, or other activities where having a digital pass is required after entering the EU+ area.
What Third Nations Have Enrolled in the EU COVID-19 Vaccination Passport Program?
The EU Commission has recognized vaccine certificates produced by various authorities as being equal to those granted by the 27 EU countries, the four Schengen Area-associated nations, Andorra, San Marino, Vatican City, and Monaco.
These third countries are:
- North Macedonia
What Information Does the Document Contain?
Every certificate contains the following information on the holder:
- name & surname
- date of birth
- the Member State issuing the certificate
- QR code
Depending on the traveler’s immunity status, each certificate includes the extra information listed below about them:
- For vaccinated travelers: the brand and name of the vaccine, how many doses were given, and the date(s) of immunization.
- For tested travelers: type of test, date and exact time of test, name of the test center, and the results.
- For travelers who have recovered from the virus: Date of the positive test result, certificate issuer name, issue date, and validity date
Where Can I Obtain My EU Vaccine Passport?
- In the nation where they receive the vaccination, every citizen of the EU can obtain the certificate. In every EU and Schengen nation, qualified bodies issue the certifications. These organizations could be clinics, laboratories, health authorities, etc.
- Citizens of third countries who may be able to apply for the certificate should do so through the Member State where they intend to travel.
How long will you need this document?
- The plan is completely operational as of July 1, 2021, and it will last through June 30, 2022.
- There has been a phase-in period for the first six weeks, or until mid-August, so that Member States can build their capacity to issue their own EU Digital COVID certificates if they are unable to do so by July 1. Ireland was the only nation to begin distributing the paper after July 1.
What is the cost?
- The cost of the EU COVID travel certificates must be covered by the Member States, therefore travelers are not required to pay for them.
Can a Citizen of the EU Travel to a Non-EU Country With an EU Travel Document?
- The World Health Organization (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and other international efforts are welcome to propose changes to the EU’s vaccination certification (ICAO). Prior to this, the Commission had stated that it was trying to ensure that the certificates were compatible with those created in other nations.