What you need to know
- The EU is today rolling out Digital COVID Certificates across all of its member states.
- It will provide users digital proof of vaccination, negative test, or having recovered from COVID-19.
- The certificates are free and valid in all EU countries, and will "in principle" exempt travelers from free movement restrictions.
The EU has today announced it is rolling out its Digital COVID Certificates program to all EU countries, allowing users to carry digital proof of a COVID vaccine, a negative test, or having recovered from COVID-19.
The commission stated on Twitter:
We are bringing back the spirit of an open Europe.
As of today, EU citizens can get their #EUCOVIDcertificate issued and verified across the Union.
The EU says the new Digital COVID Certificates will be digital proof of either a COVID-19 vaccine, a negative test result, or having recovered from COVID-19, it is free and features a scannable QR code to aid traveling between member states.
Certificates can only be issued by national authorities, such as a test center or health authority, and then stored digitally on a device like an iPhone. Citizens can still choose to carry a paper version if they prefer, but both feature a QR code and digital signature of authenticity. The EU says the new certificates will be accepted in all member states, and that when traveling any certificate could "should in principle be exempted from free movement restrictions". The EU says that members states should not impose additional travel restrictions on holders unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health.
The EU says it has built a gateway through which certificate signatures can be verified all across the EU, and that no personal data passes through the gateway. The EU has also confirmed the certificates are not a pre-condition to free movement, and that citizens not yet vaccinated can still travel to other EU member states. Member states themselves can decide to accept vaccination certificates for either one or full doses of the vaccine.
Thierry Breton hailed the move stating "they thought it was impossible... but we made it."