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10 June, 2021

What will be the "covid passport" of the European Union for travel during a pandemic

The European Parliament approved a new document for travel in the region. It is a certificate with a mark of vaccination, illness and coronavirus test results. We tell you when the first certificates will be issued and how to travel with them in 2021.

"Covid passports" for travel to EU states in 2021
Photo: Adobe Stock

The certificate will allow the countries of the region to open their borders to tourists. The document will appear simultaneously in 27 states of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The system of issuance and verification of certificates will start operating on 1st of July, 2021.

The introduction of the vaccination certificate for international travel is a temporary measure, the European Commission stresses. It will be cancelled as soon as the World Health Organization announces the end of the pandemic.

What data will be entered on the vaccination certificate

The European Digital Green Certificate will combine three certificates in one document. Namely:

  1. Vaccination certificate indicating the brand of vaccine used date and place of vaccination, the number of vaccine doses taken.
  2. A certificate showing the result of a coronavirus test: PCR test or a rapid antibody test.
  3. A medical certificate stating that the person has had coronavirus in the last 180 days.

The name and date of birth of the holder, the number and the date of issue of the certificate will also be indicated on the document. The certificate will be issued in two languages: English and the national language of the country that issued the document. The authenticity of the certificate will be confirmed by a unique QR-code.

The certificate will be available in two formats: electronic and paper. The electronic certificate is not a mobile application, but you can download it to your smartphone.

A full description of the new vaccination certificate is on the website of the European Commission.

Covid EU passport: electronic and paper certificate
Source: European Commission

Who will be given a certificate of vaccination

Hospitals and public health authorities will issue certificates free of charge. The right to receive a certificate is:

  • Citizens of EU states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland;
  • Relatives of citizens of the states of the region, regardless of their nationality;
  • Residents of the states of the region;
  • Citizens of third countries with the right to enter the European Union.

The issuance of the certificate depends on the type of vaccine a person was vaccinated with. Those who have been vaccinated with an approved vaccine will definitely receive a certificate. As of June 2021, there are only four such vaccines in the EU: BioNTech/Pfizer, Mode a, AstraZeneca and Janssen.

States have the right to approve any other vaccine at the national level. For example, Hungary uses the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm. States will also decide for themselves whether to issue certificates after vaccination with a vaccine that is not EU-wide approved.

How to travel with a European vaccination certificate

Certificate holders will be exempt from entry restrictions when travelling within the EU and Schengen: quarantine and PCR tests. To avoid restrictions, it is necessary to show a certificate with a QR code when checking in for a flight, boarding a plane and passing the border.

The European Union sets general requirements for entry into the states of the region depending on the epidemic situation. But it is up to national governments to decide whether to lift restrictions on vaccinated tourists. Whatever the government's decision, it must apply to holders of an EU-wide certificate.

Let's look at an example. If Greece abolishes the quarantine for tourists with the Covid Passport of Israel, then it must also abolish it for vaccinated EU citizens, if they have a Digital Green Certificate.

If Greece continues to require a vaccinated EU citizen to cancel the quarantine, it must notify the European Commission and other EU members and explain the reasons for its decision.

But there is a nuance. All countries in the region are obliged to recognize only those certificates that indicate an approved vaccine. If a person has been vaccinated with Sputnik V, the government of the country decides at the national level whether to recognize his certificate or not. This means that a person can be allowed into Hungary with the same certificate, but not into Germany.

How to travel to the European Union during a pandemic

As of June 2021, most countries are still closed to tourists. Entry is possible only for a good reason: for urgent business matters, for work or study, for medical treatment or to reunite with family.

But some states already allow travellers with covid passports to enter the country freely.

Vaccinated Russians still need a visa to travel to Europe or America. A Schengen visa can only be obtained for travel to Greece. Other European countries and the United States temporarily do not issue visas, so you cannot go there even in case of emergency.

A second citizenship or residence permit allows you to travel around the world despite restrictions.

Citizens of Caribbean countries and Vanuatu travel without a visa to the Schengen countries and Great Britain. With the passports of these countries in 2021, you can go to Europe if you have a good reason.

A Caribbean passport or Vanuatu passport is issued by an investment of $100,000 or more. The investor makes a non-refundable contribution to the state fund, buys real estate or government bonds, and invests in local businesses.

A residence permit in an EU state allows you to return to your country of residence at any time. Residents also have the right to move around Schengen countries, subject to quarantine restrictions and obtain a new certificate of vaccination for free travel within the region.

Malta, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus grant residence permits by investments from €112,000.

Citizens of Malta have the opportunity to come to their home country at any time. It is possible to become a citizen only by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment. Applicants are subjected to a rigorous due diligence check. If the investor passes the check, he first receives a residence permit, and after a year or three years, he applies for citizenship. If his application is approved, the candidate invests from €690,000 and becomes a citizen of Malta.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of Caribbean and European citizenship and residency programs by investment. If you want the freedom of international travel even during a pandemic, seek advice from the experts of the investment programs.

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What will be the "covid passport" of the European Union for travel during a pandemic