There’s an increasing urge to get travel restored between the EU Member States as more COIVD-19 vaccines are getting approval and more people are getting vaccinated. Those who have vaccinated are now eager to resume travel between countries on a visitor visa and other visas.
For these vaccinated people, vaccination passports or vaccination certificates seem to be the solution to help them travel without restrictions. Many EU member states have considered the issuance of vaccination passports to their citizens. The document will also serve as proof that its holder is vaccinated against COVID-19.
There’s a consensus among European countries for the use of vaccination certificates, as reflected in the support shown by the European Council. But the EC observes that it’s too early to figure what the vaccination certificate will be used for.
The following are the EU member states and countries of the Schengen area that are either willing to bring vaccination certificates or planning to allow entry without restrictions to their territories to travelers holding such certificates.
The Czech Republic is considering the possibility of letting travelers who have vaccinated against COVID-19 to allow restriction-free entry into its territory. The country, however, isn’t planning on making the vaccine a travel requirement.
Nevertheless, granting such a document to Czech citizens won’t happen any time soon.
The country has plans to allow travelers from the EU who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. They won’t face any restrictions on entry if they show proof of vaccination.
The Prime Minister of Estonia and the Director of WHO have entered into an agreement whereby entrepreneurs and researchers of Estonia will be allowed to work on a digital immunization certificate along with interoperability projects. This agreement was drawn in October 2020.
Under the agreement, Estonia will be working on creating a yellow vaccination card that will enable the exchange of vaccination data across the border in a reliable and transparent manner. This can be used effectively in the present COVID-19 situation.
Denmark is all set to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine passport for its citizens. They can use it to travel without restrictions to countries that recognize such a document and ask for it.
These passports were to be ready by the end of January 2021. However, the Danish government has decided to offer digital vaccination passports to those too who are planning to come to Denmark.
The estimated time for digital vaccination passports to be ready for use is 3 to 4 months, as announced by Denmark’s Finance Minister. So, travelers on a business visa or work visa can take advantage of this document. The digital passport can be carried on one’s mobile phone.
Hungarians can now prove that they are immune to COVID-19 by using a plastic card issued to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered. The scope of holding the plastic card will be expanded, giving them more exemptions like staying out beyond 8 pm which has been imposed as part of the national curfew.
The Prime Minister of Greece was the first EU leader to officially ask the EU institutions to work on re-introducing the COVID-19 vaccination certificate. This will promote the facilitation of travel between member countries of the EU.
Greece went ahead with its plan to ease travel restrictions and allow travel with a vaccination certificate.
Iceland started granting COVID-19 vaccination certificates on January 21, 2021, to Icelandic citizens. These citizens have received their second jab of the COVID-19 vaccine. Iceland is the first Schengen country to start granting these vaccination certificates.
Digital vaccination certificate can be downloaded from heilsuvera.is in Iceland. The country will also recognize any COVID-19 vaccination certificate is going to be issued by EU and Schengen countries.
Sweden is among the most recent countries to reveal its plans to implement a digital COVID-19 passport by summer 2021. Sweden is already working on the development of an international standard for these certificates.
Spain’s Tourism Minister has also announced the country’s plan to create a vaccination certificate. This will be similar to the vaccination certificates developed by other EU countries.
Slovakia is also in support of introducing the COVID-19 vaccination certificate. The country sees the document as instrumental in relieving people of unnecessary bureaucracy amid the restrictions on travel within the EU.
Another country that supports the COVID-19 vaccination is Portugal which observes that the document will allow the travelers to show proof of security and avoid requirements like PCR tests on arrival.
Poland is planning to introduce the COVID-19 vaccination certificate in the form of a QR code. It can be downloaded only at the public health system available to its citizens. An alternative of a printed document will be available for those who don’t have smartphones.
The document will confirm that the person holding it will be allowed all the rights granted to vaccinated people as an entitlement.
Italy hasn’t hinted at any plans of introducing COVID-19 vaccination certificates. Nevertheless, Italy’s Federturismo Confindustria has asked the country’s government to hasten the rollout of national verification and issue certificates to those who take the vaccine against COVID-19.
Federturismo Confindustria has also communicated to the government the importance of restarting the tourism industry by the end of spring of 2021.
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EC – European Council
WHO – World Health Organization