The EU Digital COVID Certificate: What You Need to Know

What is the EU Digital COVID certificate and how does it impact American travelers visiting Europe?

The 27 nations that comprise the European Union are reopening to tourists this summer, including those from the United States. To make it easier for them to move around, EU countries are issuing EU Digital COVID Certificates. Also referred to as Digital Green Passes, Digital Green Certificates, or even “vaccine passports,” here’s what you need to know about traveling to the EU as a tourist this summer

What Is the EU Digital COVID Certificate?

The EU Digital COVID Certificate provides proof that its holder has either received a COVID-19 vaccine, tested negative for the virus, or has recovered from COVID. In this case, these certificates were created to be used by EU citizens. However, travelers from the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries may receive permission to access the system. This was confirmed to CNN by EU officials.

Who Can Access the EU Digital COVID Certificate?

The bloc’s member nations can decide if non-EU citizens can also use the digital travel certificate. In the future, a separate certificate might be developed for American travelers, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

Starting July 1, all 27 countries in the European Union will issue their version of the Digital COVID Certificate. Currently, nine of those 27 are already using the system at airports and border crossings. These countries are: Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, and Spain.

How the Digital COVID Certificate Works

Travelers with valid, verified vaccine records, a negative COVID-19 test, or proof of recovery from COVID-19 will receive a customized QR code for border officials and airport security workers to scan. The certificate containing the code can be either downloaded on smartphones or printed in hard-copy form.

The EU’s governing body requires that text must appear in the local language of the country that issues the certificate as well as in English, and the service must be free of charge. For those with privacy concerns, security measures must also be in place to protect users’ personal health data and to prevent fraud.

Participation in the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate program will be optional for all travelers, but those who have the certificate should be exempt from restrictions such as quarantines and further testing. Additionally, the certificate will be accepted for entry by all EU member nations, raising the possibility of more seamless multi-country trips across Europe. It’s likely that travelers without the digital certificate will need to jump through more hoops for entry.

Where to Get the EU Digital COVID Certificate

According to the EU’s program website: “National authorities are in charge of issuing the certificate. It could, for example, be issued by test centres or health authorities, or directly via an eHealth portal.” Since the June 1st launch of the certificate, over one million people have reportedly applied to participate.

However, this is primarily in reference to EU citizens, who can register through local or national health and travel services. Travelers that are citizens of other countries need to hold tight for now; details are scarce and even sometimes contradictory.

Travelers can follow along with developments and see which European nations have rolled out their Digital COVID Certificates at the EU’s dedicated website. From there, each passenger is responsible for securing the certificate in advance from the first European country they plan to visit.

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