On July 1, the EU unveiled its digital Covid certification system to make travels easier and safe within the bloc, plus four countries.
The European Union’s Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC), which is also called a vaccine passport, was officially introduced on July 1 covering a total of 27 EU member states and four non-EU-Schengen area countries.
The remaining six member states are expected to apply for the vaccine passport throughout the month, while Netherlands, Sweden and Malta are set to start issuing the certificate by the end of July 1.
Most of the EU states have already joined the joint network for issuing these digital certificates. For verification purposes, passengers need to show one of the three documents — a vaccine certificate, a recovery certificate, or a negative PCR result.
What is the EU’s Covid certificate?
The EU Digital Covid Certificate will indicate whether an EU citizen is vaccinated, has immunity because of a previous infection, and has tested negative in recent times.
The vaccine passport is recognised by all EU 27 member states together with Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
The EUDCC will be issued in a national language as well as English which will be either print or digital as people display their QR code on a device such as smartphone or a tablet and a digital signature.
The certificate could be verified via EU Gateway.
When will the EUDCC be ready?
The digital certificate will be in place for a year starting from July 1.
There is a six-week phasing-in period for the countries that are not ready to start the implementation on July 1.
For example, Ireland is likely to implement the scheme by mid-July as it is not ready to issue certificates at the appointed time.
What is the advantage for the EU?
The EUDCC aims to make the travel within the bloc easier for the passengers and workers in tourism, aviation and other sectors in terms of safety.
It has a quick verification process to save time and helps to detect fake certificates across the EU.
However, the certificate alone is not a travel document, passengers need their passports or another form of identity documents.
People having a EU digital Covid certificate are exempted from testing or quarantine.
How do EU citizens obtain digital certificates?
There are some requirements for EU citizens to have a valid digital certificate for travelling within the bloc.
Being vaccinated is the first way of obtaining the certificate as the shots should be approved and authorised by the EU.
Pfizer-BionTech, which is known as Comirnaty, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johson & Johnson are authorised by the European Medicine Agency(EMA).
Other vaccines have not yet been approved by the EU that means people cannot obtain the travel certificate with them.
Those who have been vaccinated in a non-EU country can request their certificate from the member state of their nationality or residence.
People who recovered from the coronavirus in less than 180 days are also eligible for receiving the certificate.
A negative test for the coronavirus is another way to obtain it.
What information the certificate includes
The EUDCC includes name, date of birth, date of issuance, vaccine/test/recovery information and a unique identifier.
The data will be retained on the certificate and not stored or retained when the certificate is checked by officials.
On the other hand, health data will remain with the national authority that issued the certificate.