European Union Begins Issuing Digital COVID Certificates

Back in April, the European Union announced plans to issue Digital COVID Certificates for vaccinated travelers. The certificates, which seven EU nations began issuing today, allow for unrestricted travel within the European Union for those who hold one. The seven nations now issuing the certificates include Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland with the other 20 nations expected to follow suit in the coming days and weeks. The certificate can be accessed digitally or travelers can obtain a paper copy. 

The Digital COVID Certificates standardize the entry procedures for any nation in the European Union and not only offers proof of vaccination, but also proof of negative COVID-19 testing and proof of past infection recovery. The expectation is that all nations in the EU will adopt the system by the end of June. 

Below is the list of information which appears on the certificate: 

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Issuing Member State
  • a unique QR code identifier
  • Which vaccine an individual received, the number of doses and the date of vaccination
  • For those who tested negative, the type of test, date and time of test, test center and result
  • For those who have recovered from COVID-19, the date of the positive test result, an issuer of the certificate, date of issuance, validity date.

When traveling within the EU, individuals present the certificate where it is then scanned and the signature on the certificate verified for authenticity. The expectation is that the vaccine passports will be necessary until the World Health Organization no longer considers COVID-19 a public health crisis. 

Some EU Nations Already Open for International Tourism 

Last month, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio announced that there would no longer be a quarantine requirement for travelers visiting from any EU country, the United Kingdom or Israel. All that’s required is a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel and upon arrival in Italy or proof of COVID-19 antibodies within the past 6 months.

Americans are also allowed to visit Italy, but there are conditions. In order to be eligible, Americans must book flights designated as “quarantine free”. As of today, there are three airlines offering these types of flights; American Airlines from New York to Milan or Rome, Delta Airlines From New York to Milan or Rome, and Alitalia from New York to Rome.