The European Union’s digital COVID-19 certificates for travel will be officially available and enforced throughout its 27 countries by July 1. However, some of those started accepting its use on Tuesday: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland.
That means that they have made them available to their own citizens and are also accepting them for those traveling there.
These digital green certificates indicate to officials in these countries that the holders are protected against the COVID-19 virus. They can be attained through proof of having been vaccinated, having received a negative test result from within the previous 72 hours or having suffered from and recovered from an infection. Once this is done, free travel will be possible throughout all participating countries.
Another intent behind this program is to make them available to non-EU visitors, generally by giving those individuals the opportunity to receive one upon arrival with proof of being protected.
That may prove tricky as those vaccination documents need to be approved by the EU. However, the organization is already negotiating with the United States to ease this process for American visitors. Those negotiations could result in the production of U.S. COVID-19 certificates that would be treated the same as these digital green certificates.
The issuance of the EU’s digital COVID-19 certificates was an idea that was proposed in March, so the processes necessary to enable the plan to come to fruition have been moving relatively quickly.
Note that this certificate does not need to be digital in nature as paper-only formats will be made available as well.
EU officials have also recommended to the bloc’s countries that they remove all additional requirements for vaccinated individuals, not forcing them to also have a recent negative test result or quarantine, and to not require that those who are not vaccinated but do provide a negative test result to quarantine.
Although EU countries, in general, have been vaccinating their citizens at a considerable rate, there is still improvement to be had, according to Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe. He said on Friday that “the vaccination roll-out still goes too slow” in these countries.