The EU will officially launch its Covid certificate programme on July 1st to facilitate travel between member states and Schengen area.
With restrictions easing and the summer tourist season on the way, the new EU digital Covid-19 certificate looks to pave the way for seamless travel within the EU and Schengen area and also facilitate in-bound travel from outside the bloc.
The certificate can show whether a person has been vaccinated, recovered or has tested negative for covid-19, and should allow the holder to travel cross-border in the EU without restrictions, “unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health”.
It will be up to member states to issue their own certificates and these will be recognised across the bloc for the purpose of travel. The certificates will also be used by non-EU countries in the Schengen zone, which include Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
How will it work?
The covid-19 certificate can be stored and displayed on a smartphone device, and a paper certificate can also be requested. These will both contain a QR code that can show whether a person has been vaccinated, recovered or has tested negative.
The personal data stays on the certificate and is not stored by visited countries during verification.
The system is currently being trialled in 10 EU countries prior to its official launch at the beginning of July. The countries currently taking part in the trial include Spain, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Croatia and Bulgaria.
Some EU countries such as France have already begun accepting fully-vaccinated visitors from countries such as the US, with Portugal also following suit.
Currently the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be accepted by the scheme, which includes the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. However member states may accept other vaccines approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation (WHO).