EU Digital COVID Certificate - What Travelers Need To Know
The summer travel season has kicked off in the European Union (EU), and the European Commission (EC) is pulling out all the stops to keep tourists safe. About 70% percent of adults in Europe have been fully vaccinated to date and rules are being set to ensure safe travel. The EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) is the latest attempt to give tourists a safe summer holiday season in the European nations. If a trip to the EU is in the cards for the summer, here is everything you need to know about the certification.
What is The EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate?
The digital certificate is a digital proof of inoculation from the prevalent Covid strain. It’s a confirmation that one has been vaccinated against the Covid virus, has received a negative test result, or has recovered from the virus.
Vaccines that are authorized for this certificate in the EU are:
- Spikevax (previously called Moderna)
- Vaxzevria (previously called AstraZeneca)
- COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen
Four other vaccines are also under review. They are:
- Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac)
- COVID-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell) Inactivated Vidprevtyn
According to the BBC, 7 European countries are also accepting India’s Covishield vaccine. The countries are Austria, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Slovenia. Anyone from the U.S. who has been vaccinated and possesses the certificate will be allowed to travel to all EU countries. They are also exempt from quarantine, additional testing, and are given free movement unless they violate public safety. The certificate is free and has a scannable QR code for easy verification of details. It also contains a digital seal of authentication.
Countries issuing & accepting the certificate
When the digital certificate was launched on July 1, the Member countries were given a six week deadline to implement the initiative. Most countries are ready to comply with the terms and the process. Denmark, Spain, and Greece have already given the certificate a trial run. The EU certificate will also be applicable in other Non-EU countries like Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and Vatican City.
Conditions for additional tests
A negative test result exempts travelers from mandatory quarantine in most cases. But if the traveler comes from a heavily affected area where the virus has spread to extreme lengths, there are predefined procedures for tests.
The EU member states have set 72 hours as the standard validity for a Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR) test. For rapid antigen tests, the validity duration is 48 hours. U.S. citizens will therefore need to check with their health officials and confirm whether the certificates will be valid in the EU or not.
What personal data is going to be collected?
The certification will require the following information to be submitted:
- Date of birth
- Date of issuance
- Vaccine taken
- Test taken
- Recovery time
- Unique identifier
This data is mandatory for the issuance of the certificate and is stored for verification. When a traveler goes to another member country, the certificate is verified for its validity and credentials. Every testing center will have a unique digital signature that is stored in a database located in the country. The data will be secured in a well-protected reserve and will be accessible through a gateway. It can be noted that the EU follows the General Data Protection Regulation norms very strictly. Any breach in personal data is considered a violation of the laws, and penalties can reach millions of euros. The data protection laws are universal.
Who can get the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
At the moment, only citizens and residents of the European Union are eligible to apply for the certificate. However, there are certain countries that the EU has classified as “green”. Travelers from these countries can visit the EU without showing vaccination certificates. But there are some countries that have made testing before travel mandatory. The “green” countries are updated every week, and the list can be seen here. The present list is as follows:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Brunei Darussalam
- New Zealand
- Republic of Moldova
- Republic of North Macedonia
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- United States of America
- China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
The EU has also exempted healthcare professionals, health researchers, diplomats, passengers in transit, and third-country nationals traveling for study. However, travelers from amber-listed countries like the UK need to undergo one test before departure. With the U.S. being on the green list, American citizens will enjoy fast processing of documents and enjoy greater freedom on their trips.
What is the validity of the certificate?
The EU has not specified any specific validity for the certificate. For now, the timeline and its validity will depend on the time of the last vaccine taken and the most recent Covid negative test date.
To plan or not to plan for a Eurotrip?
The EU has taken steps to ensure that tourists and summer travelers can enjoy Europe’s famous attractions without fear. Travelers can expect strict enforcement of safety measures. Social distancing and standard operating procedures are also going to be enforced. You can expect famous tourist destinations to have more strict rules to protect the safety of visitors.
However, Covid cases in the EU are still being reported. And even if the general population is largely vaccinated, the dangers of getting infected are still present. That is why those planning to travel to the EU, for business or pleasure, need to have solid travel insurance plans such as Europe Travel Plus and Patriot International that cover emergency expenses including medical expenses. And even if the U.S. is a green country in the EU list, having a travel insurance plan will provide not only security from travel emergencies but also give access to a wider range of health care facilities. But before choosing travel insurance, proper research must be conducted on which plan to choose. Insurance plans differ in coverages and exclusions. You can compare from a wide range of plans on VisitorsCoverage. Choose from one that addresses your needs and gives the coverage you need. For quick plan selection and an in-depth understanding of which plan to choose, our Customer Success Team is happy to help you find the best plan for you.