The certificate COVID-19 European Union will enter into force on July 1 to facilitate travel within the European Union (EU) despite the pandemic. Vaccines, tests, immunity: how will it work?

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– What does this certificate contain?

“The European digital certificate covid”, the official name of the health passport, will be recognized and legible throughout the EU, and is free.

There are three possibilities: it certifies that the person is vaccinated against covid-19, or that they passed PCR or negative antigen tests, or that they are immune after suffering the disease.

The validity dates of the tests are not harmonized, it depends on the Member States.

To show that they are immunized, a person can provide a positive PCR test revealing their infection. The duration of immunity is a maximum of 180 days, but States can reduce it.

Serological tests are still not considered very reliable to certify immunity, but it is planned to evaluate it in the first four months of application of the regulation.

– What vaccines are accepted?

All four EU approved vaccines are accepted: Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

It is not mandatory, but people with vaccines used in the EU (Sputnik V in Hungary) or approved by the WHO (Sinopharm) can be accepted.

– How is the certificate?

It has a QR code with an electronic signature that reveals its authenticity, legible in all EU countries. It can be presented to the competent authorities in digital format on a smartphone or printed on paper.

Member States decide whether to integrate this certificate into their national tracing application or to use a different one.

– The ‘crux’ of personal data?

The certificate will only contain “strictly necessary” personal data, in accordance with European regulations (RGPD). These data will not be exchanged between countries, except for the key that verifies its authenticity that must be transmitted.

The retention of said data by the countries of transit or destination will be prohibited.

– Does the certificate exempt from a quarantine upon arrival?

In principle, yes, but there will be exceptions, if the situation in the traveler’s place of origin deteriorates, due to the appearance of a variant, for example.

In this case, the country of destination must notify the other Member States and the EC 48 hours before introducing new restrictions and on their duration.

Travelers can consult the “Re-open EU” site where the conditions in different European countries are listed.

– Is it only good for travel?

The regulation applies to free movement, but Member States may decide to use it for other purposes (concerts, festivals, etc.), according to their laws.

– What is planned for children traveling with their parents?

In general, children and adolescents will not be vaccinated by the summer (boreal), and a negative test may be required.

– How many countries does it comprise?

It will be applied in 30 countries (the 27 plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein).

Technical tests were carried out successfully in 18 countries, verifying that they can connect with the gateway configured by the EU.

The digital certificate will be effective on July 1 for a period of one year.

A transition period of six weeks is foreseen for countries that are not prepared to issue certificates following the European model. During this, the others must accept national documents that contain the data required at European level.

– And for third countries?

The EU is in talks with several third countries, such as Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, and also with international organizations such as the WHO and air transport associations for reciprocal recognition and interaction.

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