The EU has agreed that people will be able to cross European borders from July 1 using a health passport, which will determine proof of a person’s state of health.
But what is it, and how can travelers get hold of it? When will travelers need it? And is it compulsory? And is there really an EU-wide certificate?
In light of the new formal agreement between all EU countries, here is the latest news on how to travel in Europe this summer.
It is now called an EU digital COVID certificate
On 25 May, the Permanent Representatives Committee of the European Council has given formal approval for the use of EU digital COVID certificates (the new definitive name of what has been called in turn, vaccination passports, health passports and digital green certificates).
What data does it contain?
In addition to relevant information such as the person’s name, the EU’s digital COVID certificate will provide proof that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, recovered from Covid-19 and will contain details of negative test results. Covid-19. This information will be in the form of a QR code, which is standardized across the EU.
The EU said it would be safe and secure, saying there would be no centralized database with everyone’s information ”. as reported by Local.
Where will the EU’s digital COVID certificates be used?
The certificates will be used when traveling in all EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Are EU digital COVID certificates legally required to travel to Europe?
The quick answer is no. EU digital COVID certificates will not be a legal requirement for travel, with the EU being quick to defend civil liberties by stating that ‘this is not a precondition for exercising free movement rights and this is not a travel document ”. This is the reason why it is called a certificate and not a passport.
It is undeniable, however, that border control will be much easier and faster if everyone uses it.
Should it be digital?
Again, the quick answer is no. Although it is called the European Digital Covid Certificate, it can also be on paper. If travelers only have a hard copy of vaccination documents or test results and are unwilling or unable to download them to their phones, they can travel with the paper versions.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said of the certificate: “all EU citizens have a fundamental right to free movement in the EU. The digital European Covid Certificate, available in paper or digital format, will make it easier for Europeans to travel – whether to see their family and loved ones or to take a well-deserved rest. “
Will the application be EU-wide?
Again, this is another issue with the title, as there will be no EU wide candidacy created, as confirmed Local.
If a traveler wants to use an app, rather than carrying the piece of paper, they should use the digital app created in the country of residence. So, if they travel to France, for example, they can download the TousAntiCovid application and upload the Covid-19 test results or vaccination certificates to travel there. In theory, anyone with a QR code could download it in the French application while traveling in France.
What if someone is traveling from outside the EU?
As reported by Local, Brussels has spoken with the UK government about travelers visiting European countries using the NHS app, where they can download UK vaccination certificates and test results. Transport Secretary Grant Schapps reported that the NHS app was being modified for use for international travel purposes.
What is less clear right now is how Americans and other nationalities fit into this picture when most American vaccination certificates, for example, do not come with QR codes. The EU is working with the US and the WHO to find a formal solution.
As reported by The telegraph, travelers from countries outside the EU could also use another application used around the world. The International Air Transport Association Travel Pass, which works the same as the EU’s, is one example. Over 20 airlines use the IATA Travel Pass, including British Airways and Singapore Airlines, and like those in the EU, it is free (IATA is funded by the airlines).
Wear a plan B
The telegraph Also recommend carrying paper documents, as a backup, in case the cell phones run out of battery and you cannot access the certificates. Local also reminds travelers that it might be wise to carry additional information for border control; vaccination certificates in France may not make sense with a UK passport, for example, when someone is traveling to Spain on vacation – take other proof of residence if it does not match nationality.
Check other travel restrictions
Just because the EU has agreed to allow vaccinated travelers to visit and open borders using the EU’s COVID digital certificates does not mean that travel restrictions have been or will be completely relaxed across the board. Europe this summer.
The European Commission concluded on May 25 that “each country will decide whether travelers can enter without quarantine or without additional testing,” but the EU urges countries not to impose additional travel restrictions, as reported by Local. In addition, he said that “Member States will refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on holders of a European digital Covid certificate, unless they are necessary and proportionate to protect public health”.
However, EU countries are continually changing their own travel restrictions week by week and travelers should check for updates regularly; what seems good a week, may change with the arrival of a new variant (currently seen by the threat of quarantine for British travelers in France on May 26 and concerns about the new Bordeaux variant).
Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa said in a press release that the EU’s digital COVID certificate was the first step towards a more free, normal and secure life. He also said, however, that “Member States will have to remain vigilant regarding the epidemiological situation, so that movements in the EU are safe, but at the same time our societies and economies can gradually recover”.
And when will everyone leave?
The EU’s digital COVID certificate will be in use by July 1 in all EU countries, with the expectation therefore that non-essential travel will be allowed across Europe on that date.
After a meeting of the European Council on May 28, the conclusions called a “mid-June review of the Council recommendation on EU travel” implying that an announcement would come from the EU on summer travel in the next two weeks, if not before.