Friday, June 4, 2021

EU COVID-19 Passport to Be Open for International Travellers – Including UK & US

The European Commission has announced that the EU Digital COVID-19 Passport may also be issued to non-European travellers, including those from the United States and the United Kingdom.

The non-EU countries will be subject to the acceptance of the individual Member States of the validity of the passport, including proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test result, or proof of recovery from the COVID-19, reports.

“Right now, if you’re an American, not living in the EU, you could get the certificate if you ask the national authorities of a member state to give you that certificate based on some proof that you’ve been vaccinated or had a recent Covid test,” a spokesperson of the European Commission said.

Nonetheless, he emphasised that such a decision rests with each individual Member State.

It was also revealed that the EU Commission is in talks with the United States regarding a US COVID-19 Passport, which could be accepted as an equivalent document by the EU states.

On Tuesday, the EU Commission announced that seven countries, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia, and Poland, had started issuing the first EU COVID-19 Passports to allow safe travel within the bloc. On the other hand, several other countries have decided to launch the passport only when all functions are utilised nationwide.

Similarly, Estonia has also become one of the first countries to start issuing the passport to allow free movement for its citizens who wish to travel within the EU/Schengen Area.

According to the Commission, more countries are expected to join the system in the upcoming weeks, while it was revealed that 22 countries have successfully tested the gateway since May 10.

The Member States are required to recognise certificates issued in other states of the bloc as long as the holder has taken a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency.

The EU Parliament and Council have already reached a provisional agreement to establish the EU Digital COVID-19 passport while assuring that the passport will be ready for use by the end of June.

Nonetheless, the COVID-19 passport will not become a precondition for travel or considered a travel document.

According to the Commission, each country will be responsible for issuing its passport, which should determine whether:

  • The holder has been vaccinated against the COVID-19
  • The holder has recovered from the virus
  • The holder has recently obtained a negative COVID-19 test result

There will be a distinct certificate for each category mentioned above, containing a QR code to check their validity and verify their authenticity.

“It will be free of charge, secure and accessible to all. Available in digital format or on paper, it will be a proof that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, tested negative, or recovered from an infection,” EU Commission’s statement reads.

The agreement reached by the Member States regarding the EU Digital COVID-19 Passport has also been welcomed by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

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