Forget sunglasses, clutch bags or designer face masks – it seems the must-have travel accessory of the summer is a Covid-19 travel certificate. Love them or loathe them, their adoption by countries around the world means that their use is set to be key to fuss-free travel in the coming months.
The EU’s long-awaited travel pass, the EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC), is being used by a dozen countries at present, with several others set to join soon. Here’s what you need to know about it, and how American travelers could potentially get their hands on one.
The EU Digital Covid Certificate – Information for Travelers
The EUDCC is a document created by the European Union to facilitate safe travel across the continent. It will prove its holder has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has had a negative PCR or antigen test for the virus, or has recovered from the illness and has developed immunity as a result. Although designed with EU citizens in mind, third-country citizens are able to apply for the certificate in the EU nation they are residing in or visiting.
It contains a QR code, with a digital signature that will help protect it against falsification. The QR code will be scanned during checking, verifying the signature and validity of the certificate and its information. The EU has developed a system that will verify all signatures, without the need for personal information to be passed or stored.
The EUDCC is free, and is available to travelers in both paper and digital format, or both. It is not also strictly limited to travel purposes, with the likes of Austria considering using the certificates for access to hotels, restaurants and other social events. It is not a pre-requisite for travel – with freedom of movement being a principle enshrined by the EU – but it will guarantee the bearer the same rights as local citizens when in a different country of the EU.
Countries Adopt EUDCC Early – What Travelers Should Know
Despite not being scheduled to come into effect until July 1st, some countries have already begun distributing the certificates to their citizens. The start of the month saw 7 countries adopt the use of the certificate, with that number now growing to 12 countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Spain – that are using the app.
On top of that, a further 12 countries, as well as four from outside the bloc (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) have finished their testing phase, and could begin using their pass at any time. Three countries – Finland, Hungary and Malta – are still in the testing phase. An EU spokesperson also confirmed that Americans may be able to receive the certificate, with the final decision resting with the member state.
“Right now if you’re an American, not living in the E.U., you could get the certificate if you ask the national authorities of a member state to give you that certificate based on some proof that you’ve been vaccinated, or had a recent Covid test,” the spokesperson said.
The news follows the announcement by several EU member states that vaccinated Americans would be able to visit them this summer. Combined with the news that cross-border travel in the EU has been given the green light, it looks as though travel could be back with a bang this summer.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories