The wheels of bureaucracy move agonizingly slowly, and there’s nowhere than that is truer than in the European Union. Months after the idea was first floated, the EU has moved another step closer towards making Covid-19 travel passes a reality, when an agreement was reached between the European Parliament and EU member states last night.
From how and when it will be used, to what it will look like, here’s everything we know about the EU’s travel pass so far, and what it could spell for the future of travel on the continent.
EU’s Travel Pass – What We Know So Far
In March, when the EU first outlined its intentions of creating a digital travel pass, travelers may have been forgiven in believing that it might have come to fruition by now. Whilst that hasn’t been the case, yesterday’s announcement means that the EU is almost over the hurdle, and it could be with us within just a few weeks.
The travel pass has been keenly awaited by those in Europe. Fearful that it might not be ready in time, several countries pursued the option of creating their own travel pass in order to get tourism back up and running once more. However, following negotiations last night, the EU’s Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders tweeted “White smoke: we have a deal on the Commission’s proposal on the EU Digital Covid Certificate,” heralding a new dawn for pandemic travel in Europe.
Originally referred to as the Digital Green Certificate, the announcement revealed that the travel pass has taken on a new name, and is now referred to as the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC). According to the website of the Council of the European Union, the EUDCC will facilitate safe and free movement by proving that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, had a negative test or has recovered from the virus.
The EUDCC is set to be available both as a digital and physical document, and will be free for all EU citizens. It will contain a QR code, that will confirm the status of the holder when scanned. Set to be available by July 1st, the EU has stressed that it “is not a precondition for exercising free movement rights and it is not a travel document”.
Speaking about the document, the Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa said:
“The certificate is an important step towards a more normal, freer and safer life during the pandemic. It will facilitate the free movement of all Europeans, starting this summer. And it shows once again that the EU delivers. Member states will need to remain vigilant with regard to the epidemiological situation so that movement in the EU is safe, but at the same time our societies and economies can gradually recover.”
Only one more hurdle remains now before the certificate is written into policy, though it is expected to be a formality.
Details Travelers Should Know
Whilst the EU has created the certificate, it is still up to national governments to decide whether travelers with a certificate have to quarantine or get tested, though the body does urge member states to only enforce measures that are proportional and necessary, and should give 48 hours notice beforehand.
Vaccines currently accepted by the EU include the two-dose Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson. Only PCR and rapid antigen tests will be accepted as proof of a negative test result, whilst PCR tests will be accepted as proof of recovery.
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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