With Covid-19 rates on the continent generally in decline and vaccination rates increasing, a summer of travel looks likely to be on the cards for citizens of the EU. As well as European countries individually reducing their restrictions to facilitate travel, the EU’s long-anticipated travel certificate is finally with us.
Originally slated for a July 1st launch, the travel certificate system has been deployed a month early, with seven EU countries now beginning to use the certificates ahead of wider utilization by each member state. Here’s what you need to know about this story and a look at how those from abroad could be set to enter the EU soon.
EU Travel Certificate Here At Last – Information For Travelers
The creation and implementation of the EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC) – available as both a digital and a physical document –has been months in the making, but this week’s news that it is to be used for the first time will hopefully prove that it has been worth the wait.
After spending a prolonged period of time held up in the bureaucratic chambers of the EU, it was handed a boost last month when it had emerged that the member states had reached an agreement about the use of the travel certificate, and now it is set to be in the hands (or devices) of EU citizens earlier than many may have dared to hope it would be.
According to the website of the European Commission, 22 countries have tested the EU’s gateway, the system that verifies the security features contained in the QR codes of all travel certificates. Despite the launch date being July 1st, EU member states that have passed the technical tests and have the abilities to issue and verify the travel certificates may begin using them on a voluntary basis.
On June 1st, seven member states had agreed to start issuing the travel certificates – Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland. According to the EU, other countries have chosen to launch the travel certificate “only when all of its functions are deployed nationwide”, and it is expected that more will begin using them in the coming days and weeks.
Speaking about the launch of the system, the EU’s Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said:
“The Go-Live of the Gateway today is an important step which will allow Member States to start using the Gateway and start issuing EU Digital COVID Certificates. Seven Member States is a good start. I encourage others to follow as soon as possible. The timely preparation will allow the full system to be up and running by 1 July – when the proposal enters into application and the EU will be on time to open up again this summer.”
What this means for American tourists and other third-party travelers
There could also be positive news around the corner for Americans with the desire to visit the EU this summer. The EU is in contact with the US with regards to finding a way to verify the vaccination status of American travelers, a move that would see them able to enter the bloc with relative ease. This follows the positive news that the EU is set to re-open to third-country visitors this summer, providing that they arrive from countries with low infection rates. The incidence rate of countries must be lower than 75 cases per 100,000 people in order to be included in the safe list.
American tourists and other third-party travelers should wait for more clear direction and instruction is given for use of the Digital Green Certificate, as the details are still unknown for use outside the EU.
While most major EU nations have been speculating they will reopen this summer to the USA and other countries, only a few have so far: Romania, Italy, Greece, Croatia, and Iceland. Once the Digital Green Certificate has been coordinated to function with nations outside the EU, this would expand that list greatly.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com