EU introduces Covid-19 travel certificate

17 March, 2021

By ECCT staff writers

The European Commission is proposing to create a Digital Green Certificate to facilitate safe free movement inside the EU during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a press release on the EU’s official website, Europa, the Digital Green Certificate will be a proof that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, received a negative test result or recovered from Covid-19. It will be available, free of charge, in digital or paper format. It will include a QR code to ensure security and authenticity of the certificate. The commission will build a gateway to ensure all certificates can be verified across the EU, and support EU member states in the technical implementation of certificates. Member states remain responsible to decide which public health restrictions can be waived for travellers but will have to apply such waivers in the same way to travellers holding a Digital Green Certificate.

According to the press release, all people – vaccinated and non-vaccinated – should benefit from a Digital Green Certificate when travelling in the EU. To prevent discrimination against individuals who are not vaccinated, the commission proposes to create not only an interoperable vaccination certificate, but also Covid-19 test certificates and certificates for persons who have recovered from Covid-19. Where Member States accept proof of vaccination to waive certain public health restrictions such as testing or quarantine, they would be required to accept, under the same conditions, vaccination certificates issued under the Digital Green Certificate system. This obligation would be limited to vaccines that have received EU-wide marketing authorisation, but member states can decide to accept other vaccines in addition.

If a Member State continues to require holders of a Digital Green Certificate to quarantine or test, it must notify the commission and all other member states and explain the reasons for such measures.

The certificates will include a limited set of information such as name, date of birth, date of issuance, relevant information about vaccine/test/recovery and a unique identifier of the certificate. This data can be checked only to confirm and verify the authenticity and validity of certificates.

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