Travel and Covid-19 – The European Covid digital certificate comes into force – News

The European health pass comes into force on Thursday 1er July 2021. Europeans with a full vaccination, a negative test or proof of recovery from Covid-19 will be able to travel more easily within the European Union. But beware, some countries retain specific restrictions.

As the tourist season restarts, despite the threat of the Delta variant which encourages many countries to slow down their deconfinement, it will be (a little) easier to travel from this Thursday in the 27 countries of the European Union (EU ), as well as in Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, the Vatican and Lichtenstein. The European health pass – officially called “European Covid digital certificate” – comes into effect.

Digital or paper

This certificate is systematically issued by the professional who carried out the vaccine or the test. The certificate takes the form of a QR Code delivered on paper or in electronic form, to be loaded into the TousAntiCovid application. The format of this QR Code is the same throughout Europe: the objective is that a customs officer, for example, only needs a few seconds to flash this QR Code in order to check the status of a person , rather than deciphering a document that is not necessarily written in their language.

Three ways to get around

Vaccination is not compulsory to travel between countries. This pass can take three different forms:

  • a vaccination certificate with one of the vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Please note that the vaccination cycle does not end with the last injection. It is only considered valid 2 weeks after the 2e injection of Cominarty (Pfizer), Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines, 4 weeks after the Janssen vaccine, and 2 weeks after a single injection for people who have had Covid.
    Good to know : Please note, the format of the QR code for vaccination certificates changed on June 25 in order to comply with European standards. If you were vaccinated before this date and printed your certificate, you must generate a new one on the website. If you imported it into the TousAntiCovid application before this date, you must go to “My Carnet” and click on “Convert to European format” so that the operation is done in a few seconds. If this option does not appear, remember to update the application on your phone;
  • a negative RT-PCR test certificate less than 72 hours, or antigen test less than 48 hours.
    Good to know : some countries, such as Belgium or Ireland, do not accept antigen testing; others require a test of less than 48 hours and not 72 hours: remember to check the entry procedures for your destination;
  • a certificate of reinstatement : serological tests attesting to the presence of antibodies are not currently considered proof of cure. Only a positive RT-PCR test dating back more than 11 days, but dating from less than 6 months, is accepted as reliable data for recovering from Covid. This period of 6 months maximum is for the moment purely theoretical, since the device generating QR-Codes on the tests has only been in place since April 20. People who have been tested before this date have no way to add their test to the application.

Other country restrictions

Although the objective of this certificate is to allow free movement in the countries concerned, it will not necessarily be enough for you to present it to have free access. Countries remain sovereign as to the requirements they can impose on travellers. Some countries, for example Belgium, impose the presentation of a negative test even to vaccinated travellers; others, such as Ireland, have retained the requirement of quarantine on arrival even for those vaccinated. The procedures for entering each country can be consulted in the “Advice to travelers” section of the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

And the children?

The certificate also concerns them: only children under 11 are exempt from a health pass. However, vaccines are not accessible to them before the age of 12. Test or reinstatement certificates are therefore the only possible options. If your child does not have a smartphone, don’t panic: it is possible to load several certificates on the same TousAntiCovid application.

Outside the European Union

To leave the European Union, the rules of the country of destination apply. Find out before you go. Some countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, have already announced their intention to accept the European certificate sooner or later. On return, France imposes restrictions depending on the epidemic situation in the country of origin. For example, if you are returning from Australia, vaccination or a test is sufficient. It’s a different story if you come back from England, where the Delta variant is a concern: in addition to vaccination, you need a negative test, which is expensive. In the absence of vaccination, a test and a compelling reason are required, isolation for 7 days is necessary and a test may be imposed on arrival in France.

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