With success, the European Union has worked on restoring the freedom of travel which has been limited due to the pandemic. By July 1st, the EU COVID-19 Vaccine Passport/Certificate allows EU citizens, residents and travelers from other countries to travel to and throughout Europe again. Here’s what you need to know when you are planning to travel to and throughout Europe for leisure and international business.
What is an EU COVID-19 Vaccine Passport/Certificate?
The EU COVID-19 Vaccine Passport/Certificate is a one-piece document that can be issued to a EU citizen, resident or traveler in both a paper and digital format. There are three types of the EU's COVID-19 Passport. The type depends on the status of the citizen, resident or traveler:
- Vaccination passport: The EU COVID Vaccination Passport will be issued to those who have been fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus, with one of the four vaccines approved by the European Medicine Agency (Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Vaxzevria/AstraZeneca).
- Test certificate: All travelers who test for COVID-19 with PCR or Rapid Antigen test, and result negative, can obtain an EU COVID certificate.
- Recovery certificate: Travelers who have recently been infected with COVID-19, and recovered from it, should also be permitted to travel with an EU COVID travel certificate.
By offering these three types of EU COVID travel certificates, the EU does not discriminate those we are not vaccinated when travelling across Europe. Everyone who is not vaccinated can still have the possibility to travel freely in Europe thanks to the test certificate and recovery certificate.
In the meantime, numerous names have been given to the European COVID-19 Travel Passport/Certificate already. Here’s a couple of them.
- European COVID-19 Travel Passport/Certificate
- EU Digital COVID Certificate
- Digital Green Certificate
- EU COVID-19 Vaccine Passport/Certificate
What is the purpose of the EU's COVID-19 Passport/Certificate?
The purpose of the European COVID-19 Travel Passport/Certificate is to restore the freedom of travel, which has been put to a halt for over a year now. The certificate removes travel restrictions such as entry bans, quarantine obligation and testing for those who hold the document. In other words, those who are holding an EU COVID Certificate will be able to travel throughout Europe without the need to quarantine or test for COVID-19.
Are all EU Member States accepting the EU COVID-19 Passport?
The EU Member States are not legally obliged to implement the certificate. However, it is promising to see that all EU Member States are already in the process of introducing it. Member States are still able to impose restrictions on arrivals from other EU countries, but if they do they must inform the EU Commission and all rest of the Member States and provide reasons why such measures are being taken. A reason for Member States to impose a restriction to a particular country is when a Member State has a higher COVID-19 rate.
How does the EU COVID-19 Vaccine Passport/Certificate work?
Travelers will have to show the certificate to the border guards, either in paper format, or digitally in their (smart)phones or tablets. Every certificate will contain a unique QR code to securely verify the authenticity, integrity and validity of the certificate. The certificates will be issued in two languages, in English and the official language(s) of the issuing country.
How to obtain a EU Vaccine Passport?
Every EU citizen can obtain the certificate in the country where they receive the vaccine. The certificates will be issued by qualified bodies in each EU and Schengen country. These bodies could be hospitals, test centers, health authorities, etc.
Non-EU citizens who may be eligible to apply to obtain the certificate should apply for such a document through their destination Member State.
Is the EU COVID-19 Passport/Certificate also available for North-American travelers?
As the Member States reopen the borders for travel from non-EU countries for non-essential purposes, the EU also intends to issue EU COVID travel certificates to travelers from non-EU countries intending to enter the EU. The United States and Canada have been added to the list of countries to lift travel restrictions.
The Commission also intends to accept certificates issued from non-EU countries, which are issued under the same conditions as the ones by the EU.
Are Canadians allowed to travel to the EU as well with the certificate?
Unfortunately, Canada is not (yet) on the list of countries for which the EU Member States will gradually lift travel restrictions. EU Member States are currently individually accepting or declining non-essentials travel from Canada. France, for example, allows Canadians already.
What does the EU COVID-19 Passport/Certificate mean to EuroDev?
At EuroDev, we're extremely excited about being able to travel and do business throughout Europe again. (Business) travel is an important part of our DNA as it is an important element our added value to clients. The passport/certificate will make it possible to visit European tradeshows, distributors and end-users throughout Europe on behalf of our North-American clients. Also, the passport allows our North-American clients to visit us again to meet project teams in real life.
Read more about why European tradeshows are important to our clients.
In case you would like to have more information on working from home in Europe, or European HR in general, do not hesitate to connect with Monique Ramondt-Sanders - VP of Human Resource Outsourcing at EuroDev. Interested in more information concerning our HR Outsourcing services? Please have a look at our HR Outsourcing page.
EuroDev, established in 1996 with offices in The Netherlands and France, has a single, defined purpose to help mid-sized North American companies expand their business in Europe. We have created a proven, successful business development model and since our founding, have partnered with over 300 companies to help them define and meet their European business goals. Services provided include Sales Outsourcing, HR Outsourcing and Digital Marketing.
Source: Schengen Visa Info and European Commission