Countries in Europe still require proof of vaccination for people to access bars, restaurants, and public spaces. The EU currently uses the European COVID Digital Certificate as proof of vaccination.
All countries within the EU have adopted the EU digital COVID certificate. Each country within the EU provides the certificate in English and the country’s national language.
In addition, each country is responsible for the regulations for the use of the COVID certificate within its borders.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate
The EU digital COVID Certificate was established as a means for vaccinated citizens to prove their vaccination status so they could access indoor activities and travel during the pandemic. The certificates are proof that you:
- Are vaccinated against COVID-19
- Had a negative test result
- Recovered from COVID-19 in the past 6 months
The DCC is available for free across EU countries. In addition to the EU countries, some countries outside the EU have adopted the EU’s digital vaccine passport. Here are some of these countries:
Ireland introduced the EU Digital COVID Certificate for travel, and to allow its citizens to access pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, and other indoor public events.
The certificate is available in paper and digital format. With these certificates, travelers into Ireland are not subjected to testing and quarantine requirements inside the country. However, when traveling abroad, travelers should learn about the quarantine and testing rules of the destination country.
Switzerland launched its COVID-19 passport in September. However, the country also joined the EU COVID certificate system. Since joining the EU’s system, Switzerland’s COVID pass became compatible with the EUDCC.
New Zealand joined the EU Digital COVID-19 certificate system in November 2021 after meeting the requirements the EU set for becoming a part of this vaccination certification system.
By joining the system, vaccinated New Zealanders can travel to the EU countries with COVID-19 certificates from their home country. These certificates will be recognized in the EU, as will EU COVID certificates in New Zealand.
Georgia, Moldova & Serbia
The EU, on November 15, announced that Georgia, Moldova, and Serbia had joined the EUDCC after the EU commission ascertained that they met the conditions to join the system as third countries.
As with other countries that joined the EUDCC, the three countries will ease entry requirements for travelers from the EU. The certificates from each of the country’s and the EU will be mutually recognizable.
Requirements for Other Countries to Join the EUDCC
The EU Commission has to approve othercountries before they can join the EUDCC system. The decision to allow a country into its vaccine certificate system relies on the third country meeting certain requirements such as:
- The other country’s COVID-19 certificate must meet the EU’s system interoperability. These certificates should be readable and verifiable across the EU, regardless of whether they are digital or paper-based.
- The other country’s vaccine certificate is verifiable for its authenticity, integrity, and validity.
- The vaccine certificate from the other country contains the information stated in the EU’s DCC regulations.
The EUDCC has been a successful model for what vaccine verification systems should look like. As a result, the efficiency of these systems has led other non-EU countries to request inclusion in the EU’s system. This inclusion is providing for mutual recognition of digital vaccine certificates from countries outside the EU. The EU has already approved dozens of other countries, including the UK, Albania, Andorra, Norway, Panama, and Singapore.