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covid certificate

The EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation entered into application on 01 July 2021. EU citizens and residents will now be able to have their Digital COVID Certificates issued and verified across the EU.

 

Learn how to get the certificate from your national health authority by selecting your country on the interactive map below.

What is the EU Digital COVID Certificate?

An EU Digital COVID Certificate is a digital proof that a person has either

tick icon been vaccinated against COVID-19
tick icon received a negative test result or 
tick icon recovered from COVID-19

 

How can citizens get the certificate?

National authorities are in charge of issuing the certificate. It could, for example, be issued by test centres or health authorities, or directly via an eHealth portal. Information on how to get the certificate should be provided by the national health authorities. 

The digital version can be stored on a mobile device. Citizens can also request a paper version. Both will have a QR code that contains essential information, as well as a digital signature to make sure the certificate is authentic.

Member States have agreed on a common design that can be used for the electronic and paper versions to facilitate the recognition.

Select your country on the interactive map below to learn how to get the certificate from your national health authority.

How will it help free movement?

The EU Digital COVID Certificate will be accepted in all EU Member States. It will help to ensure that restrictions currently in place can be lifted in a coordinated manner.

When travelling, the EU Digital COVID Certificate holder should in principle be exempted from free movement restrictions: Member States should refrain from imposing additional travel restrictions on the holders of an EU Digital COVID Certificate, unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health. 

In such a case – for instance as a reaction to new variants of concern – that Member State would have to notify the Commission and all other Member States and justify this decision.
 

How will the certificate work?

QR code icon The EU Digital COVID Certificate contains a QR code with a digital signature to protect it against falsification.
Scan icon When the certificate is checked, the QR code is scanned and the signature verified.
digital signature icon Each issuing body (e.g. a hospital, a test centre, a health authority) has its own digital signature key. All of these are stored in a secure database in each country.
validation icon

The European Commission has built a gateway through which all certificate signatures can be verified across the EU. The personal data of the certificate holder does not pass through the gateway, as this is not necessary to verify the digital signature. The European Commission also helped Member States to develop national software and apps to issue, store and verify certificates and supported them in the necessary tests to on-board the gateway.

 

Will citizens who are not yet vaccinated be able to travel to another EU country?

Yes. The EU Digital COVID Certificate should facilitate free movement inside the EU. It will not be a pre-condition to free movement, which is a fundamental right in the EU. 

The EU Digital COVID Certificate will also prove the results of testing, which is often required under applicable public health restrictions. The certificate is an opportunity for Member States to adjust the existing restrictions on public health grounds. 

Travel

The recommendation on coordinating free movement restrictions in the EU was amended mid-June with a view to the holiday season, further clarifying exemptions for fully vaccinated and recovered persons, efforts to ensure family unity (exempting children traveling with their parents from quarantine, if parents are exempted) and the updated colour-coding of the ECDC map.

Does it matter which vaccine citizens received?

Vaccination certificates will be issued to a vaccinated person for any COVID-19 vaccine. 

When it comes to waiving free movement restrictions, Member States will have to accept vaccination certificates for vaccines which received EU marketing authorisation. Member States may decide to extend this also to EU travellers that received another vaccine.

Fully vaccinated persons with the EU Digital COVID Certificate should be exempted from travel-related testing or quarantine 14 days after having received the last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for the entire EU. The same is true for recovered persons with the certificate.

What about tests?

Persons with a negative test in the EU Digital COVID Certificate format should be exempted from possible quarantine requirements, except when they come from areas heavily affected by the virus. The Member States agreed on a standard validity period for tests: 72 hours for PCR tests and, where accepted by a Member State, 48 hours for rapid antigen tests.

What data does the certificate include? Is the data safe?

The EU Digital COVID Certificate contains necessary key information such as name, date of birth, date of issuance, relevant information about vaccine/ test/recovery and a unique identifier. This data remains on the certificate and is not stored or retained when a certificate is verified in another Member State. 

The certificates will only include a limited set of information that is necessary. This cannot be retained by visited countries. For verification purposes, only the validity and authenticity of the certificate is checked by verifying who issued and signed it. All health data remains with the Member State that issued an EU Digital COVID Certificate.

Questions and answers about the EU Digital COVID Certificate

Questions and answers on the latest update regarding the coordination of COVID-related measures restricting free movement in the EU

Re-open EU: up-to-date information on travel and health measures

Find up-to-date information on travel and health measures in European countries, including on quarantine and testing requirements for travellers, to help you exercise your right to free movement. The information is updated frequently and available in 24 languages. This should help you plan your travel in Europe, while staying safe and healthy.

Visit Re-open EU

Timeline

  • 27 January 2021

    Guidelines laying out interoperability requirements of digital vaccination certificates were adopted, building on discussion held between the Commission and Member States in the eHealth Network since November 2020.

  • 17 March 2021

    The Commission proposed a legislative text establishing a common framework for an EU certificate.

  • 14 April 2021

    The Council adopted its mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament on the proposal.

  • 22 April 2021

    Member States' representatives in the eHealth Network agreed on guidelines describing the main technical specifications for the implementation of the system. This was a crucial step for the establishment of the necessary infrastructure at EU level.

  • 7 May 2021

    The Commission started the pilot test of the EU interoperability infrastructure (EU Gateway) that will facilitate the authentication of the EU Certificates.

  • 20 May 2021

    The European Parliament and the Council agreed on the EU Digital COVID Certificate.

  • 1 June 2021

    EU Gateway (interconnection of national systems) goes live.

  • 1 - 30 June 2021

    Warm-up phase: Member States can launch the certificate on a voluntary basis provided they are ready to issue and verify certificates, and have the necessary legal base in place.

  • mid-June 2021

    Revised Council Recommendation on travel within the EU.

  • 1 July 2021

    The EU Digital COVID Certificate enters into application throughout the EU.

  • 1 July - 12 August 2021

    Phase-in period: if a Member State is not yet ready to issue the new certificate to its citizens, other formats can still be used and should be accepted in other Member States.

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