Saturday, May 29, 2021

Estonia Becomes One of the First Countries to Join EU Digital COVID-19 Passport

Estonia will be among the first EU countries to start issuing the EU Digital COVID-19 passport in a bid to allow free movement for its citizens wishing to travel within the European Union and Schengen Area.

“In the first half of June, Estonia and the first EU member states will have three EU-wide digital COVID certificates valid throughout the EU: an immunisation certificate, a negative test certificate, a COVID-19 pass certificate,” the e-services development and innovation advisor of Ministry of Social Affairs Aurora Ursula Joala said.

In cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), Estonia has been working on a digital COVID-19 Passport since October of last year. Whereas on April 30, 2021, the country launched its digital vaccination passport, reports.

On May 20, Estonia tested the country’s compatibility with the EU Gateway system, and the Head of Representation of Estonia, Keit Kasemets, said that the test proved successful.

The Estonian authorities do not plan to reach mutual agreements with countries outside the EU Gateway framework. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Social Affairs revealed that 30 EU and EEA countries are ready to join the EU Gateway by the end of June.

Until now, vaccinated Estonian citizens have been able only to obtain vaccination certificates. However, from the end of June, they will be able to add their testing history information to the digital passport.

The ones who have already obtained their vaccination passport will be able to create a new and updated passport in line with the standards set by the EU.

The European Parliament and Council have already reached an agreement on the establishment of the EU Digital COVID-19 Passport while ensuring that it will be ready by the end of June.

The passport will be issued by each country’s national authorities and will be available in paper or digital format.

Additionally, the Member States are required to recognise the vaccination certificates that have been issued in other states as long as the passport holders have taken a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

According to the EU Commission, the passport will include information on whether a person has been vaccinated against the COVID-19, has recovered from the virus, or has recently received a negative test result.

Consequently, there will be three different certificates for each category.

The regulation on the digital COVID-19 passport is expected to be effective for 12 months. Nonetheless, the passport will not be a precondition for travel or considered a travel document.

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