The brand new digital COVID-19 travel passport certificate that is expected to streamline travel across Europe will come into force today. In principle, all holders should be exempted from movement restrictions.
So, how does it work? Where to get it? And what happens if a traveler does not get it?
First and foremost, the certificate was first proposed by the European Commission to simplify and guarantee safe free movement inside the EU during the coronavirus pandemic. It contains travelers’ vaccination status, COVID-19 test results and proof of recovery from the illness.
The COVID-19 travel passport contains a QR code with a digital signature to protect it against forgery. Once at the airport, travelers only need to scan it to let authorities know what restrictions apply to each passenger, if any.
If the traveler is vaccinated or bears a negative COVID-19 test, they will be free to go without more screenings or further questions.
Local authorities of each EU country will be issuing the certificate. Travelers will be able to obtain it at test centers or via official portals.
So far, EU authorities have not confirmed any types of bans on travelers who do not get it for any reason. The biggest downside of traveling without it would be to spend longer periods of time at airports while officials do the verifications manually.
The certificate will also work as a free-pass for other activities, such as concerts, exhibitions and conferences. In countries like Germany the vaccine certificate is already used to unlock access to gyms, restaurants and similar venues.
The only EU country unable to join the initiative today was Ireland due to a recent cyber attack.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate comes into force right as health authorities from a growing number of countries are raising new concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
On the bright side, the vaccination rollout in EU nations has been picking up speed over the last weeks. So far, more than 300 million vaccines have been administered.