What is the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
The EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation was started on 01 July 2021. EU citizens and residents can now have their Digital COVID Certificates issued and verified across the EU.
“When travelling, every Digital Green Certificate holder can have the same rights as citizens of the visited Member State who have been vaccinated, tested or recovered”
The EU Digital COVID Certificate is digital proof that a person either has:
- Been vaccinated against COVID-19
- Received a negative test result or
- Recovered from COVID-19
Digital Green screen: This is digital proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, or received a negative test result, or recovered from the viral infection. This document is valid across all EU countries.
Digital Red screen: This is digital proof that a person does not have a valid test, recovery or vaccination certificate.
The key features of the EU Digital COVID Certificate are:
- Digital and/or paper format
- QR code
- Free of charge
- In national language and English
- Safe and secure
- Valid in all EU countries
Which are the vaccines that have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA)?
The four vaccines that are approved by the European Medicine Agency are:
- Comirnaty (BioNTech, Pfizer)
- Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, Oxford)
- Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
The Commission has also allowed the Member States to issue certificates for vaccines other than those approved by the EMA. However, the decision is up to the individual Member State, if they want to permit entry for those vaccinated with such vaccines or not.
How does the EU Digital COVID Certificate work?
National authorities are in charge of issuing the certificate. The digital version can be stored on an electronic device. Citizens can also request a hard copy.
- The EU Digital COVID Certificate contains a QR code and a digital signature to protect it from falsification.
- When the certificate is checked, the QR code is scanned and the signature is verified.
- Every issuing body (a hospital or a test centre or a health authority) has its own digital signature key. All of this information is stored in a secure database in every country.
- The European Commission has built a gateway through which all the certificate signatures can be verified across the EU. The European Commission has guided the Member States to develop national software and apps to issue, store and verify certificates and supported them in the necessary tests to onboard the gateway.
What data does the certificate include?
The EU Digital COVID Certificate contains the required information such as:
- Date of birth
- Date of issuance
- Vaccine/test/recovery information
- A unique identifier
Each certificate contains the following additional information on the traveller’s status:
- For vaccinated travellers: The name of the vaccine and manufacturer, date of the vaccination and number of doses administered.
- For tested travellers: The type of test, the exact date and time of the test, the name of the test centre with the results.
- For travellers who have recovered from the virus: date of the positive test result, the name of the issuer of the certificate, date of issuance and validity.
All health data remains with the national authority that issued the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
How can you obtain an EU digital COVID certificate?
There are three ways to obtain the EU digital COVID certificate:
- Proof of vaccination against Covid-19: Full vaccination for COVID-19, with a vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
- Proof of recovery from Covid-19: When less than 180 days have passed since the date of positive test result (PCR).
- A recent negative PCR test: You have a negative test result (PCR test or a rapid antigen test).
The certificate is available in the national language and English. It consists of a QR code that is displayed on a device (like a smartphone or a tablet) or printed, and a digital signature, verified via EU Gateway.
How long will the EU digital COVID certificate be active?
The certificate is active from 1 July 2021, until June 31, 2022.
If required, the scheme may run for more than a year.
Can I Get an EU digital COVID certificate If I Have Been Vaccinated with Covishield?
If you were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute India (SII) known as Covishield, you may obtain a vaccine certificate to travel to at least five EU countries.
It is expected that in the following days more EU countries will start accepting the vaccine as valid for travel because the WHO has listed the same for emergency use since February.