EU digital passport is live

By | Category: Travel news

Yesterday on July 1st, the EU’s digital covid certificate went live. And it happened on the very day that the Commission said that it would.

The NHS proof of vaccination card with details on the reverse side is a standby to the smart phone app

The official name might be “certificate” but most people look on it as a passport to international travel within the 27 members of the EU.

But the UK is not a member so why is it of interest to British travellers into the EU?

It is because the UK and the EU are in talks so that the NHS “passport” is acceptable and aligned with the EU version. That means once there is agreement – and it is unlikely that there won’t be – British travellers based in the UK should be able to travel anywhere in the UK.

Except that it won’t mean that.

Although this document exists, each EU country has the right to add rules for incoming travellers to its country. So Austria and Germany, for example, won’t allow Britons in other than in the most exceptional circumstances. Others want a period of self-isolation or quarantine.

Malta said earlier this week that it wouldn’t accept the NHS digital certificate only a paper based one. It was only yesterday mid afternoon that the FCDO website confirmed that an electronic or paper version was acceptable to the Maltese authorities.

Ireland’s system isn’t yet in alignment with the EU system so there is a problem there. The same applies to Switzerland which, although not being an EU member, is one of four countries that could be considered a “semi-member” in that it follows and agrees with much of what the EU does.

There is one other point about the EU passport. It says that it will only accept vaccination records if the vaccines have received EU marketing authorisation. That applies to BioNTech-Pfizer, Asta-Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.

But individual nations can decide whether or not to accept other drugs such as Sputnik (used in Hungary) or Covishield. (the India manufactured version of the Astra-Zenica drug.) Many people in the Uk have had the Astra-Zenica vaccinations which were made in India. Does this mean they will not be counted as unable to enter EU countries? Certainly a number of newspapers this morning are suggesting that.

For us travellers then, the best thing if you are travelling is to have a digital and paper version of whether you have been jabbed, recovered or have had a negative test.

Above all, check with the tourist board or the government of the destination that you are going to ro see what the rules are. Just because the British government puts it onto the green list doesn’t mean you can go there easily.

And the EU passport alignment with the NHS version is still mired in confusion of what you may or may not carry as proof of your health status.

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