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newsNew rules on the EU digital COVID certificate come into force

How long is the EU digital certificate valid?

On 21 December 2021, the European Commission adopted rules relating to the EU digital COVID certificate establishing a validity of 9 months or 270 days once 14 days have passed after the completion of the primary vaccination cycle.

In addition, the rules for the encoding of vaccination certificates will be adapted to take into account booster shots. Boosters will be recorded as follows: 

  • 3/3 for a booster dose following a primary 2-dose vaccination series
  • 2/1 for a booster dose following a single-dose vaccination or a one dose of a 2-dose vaccine administered to a recovered person

The new rules will apply as of 1 February 2022.

What is the EU digital COVID certificate?


All EU citizens who

  • have been vaccinated
  • have tested negative
  • recovered from COVID-19

are able to prove it with a digital certificate called the EU digital COVID certificate.

The certificate is issued for free by their national authorities and recognised by all EU 27 member states as well as in a number of non-EU countries.

The certificate is available in a national language and English. It consists of a QR code displayed on a device (like a smartphone or a tablet) or printed, and a digital signature, verified via EU Gateway.

From when is the EU digital COVID certificate active?

The certificate is active from 1 July 2021 and is free. The system is in place for 12 months starting from 1 July.

From 1 February 2022 the acceptance period of the EU digital COVID certificate will be 9 months (270 days), starting from the date of administration of the last dose of the primary vaccination cycle.

How does the EU digital COVID certificate make travelling within the EU easier?

The certificate makes it easier for you to travel safely through the EU by showing that you have been vaccinated, had a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19.

The EU digital COVID certificate has a speedy verification process and helps preventing the use of fake certificates across the EU.

The certificate alone is not a travel document. It isn't enough to travel, you still need your passport or another form of identification.

You also don’t need to have the certificate to travel but having it should make travelling easier. If you hold a EU digital COVID certificate you should in principle be exempted from testing or quarantine.

How do I obtain my EU digital COVID certificate?

There are three ways to obtain an EU digital COVID certificate:

  • vaccination
  • recovered from a SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • tested negative for COVID-19

Note: Tests recognised under the certificate include Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) tests, such as RT-PCR tests and rapid antigen tests (RAT). Travellers should always check the applicable rules, i.e. which test is accepted to waive free movement restrictions, at the points of transit and destination. Antibody testing is not recognised, though this may change after the system is launched.

EU citizens who were vaccinated in a non-EU country can request the EU digital COVID certificate from the member state of their nationality or residence. For further information, please address your member state of nationality or residence.

What are the travel measures for holders of the EU digital COVID certificate?


Travellers in possession of a valid EU digital COVID certificate should not be subject to additional restrictions to free movement.

A valid EU digital COVID certificate includes:

  • a vaccination certificate for a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), where at least 14 and no more than 270 days have passed since the last dose of the primary vaccination series or if the person has received a booster dose
  • a certificate of recovery indicating that no more than 180 days have passed since the date of the first positive PCR test result
  • a negative PCR test result obtained no more than 72 hours before travelling or a negative rapid antigen test obtained no more than 24 hours before travelling

Member states could also accept vaccination certificates for WHO-approved vaccines.

What data does the certificate include? Is the data safe?

The information contained on the EU digital COVID certificate is limited to:

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • date of issuance
  • vaccine/test/recovery information
  • a unique identifier

This data remains on the certificate and is not stored or retained when the certificate gets verified through the QR code or with human checks.

All other health data remains with the national authority that issued an EU digital COVID certificate.


Make your travel plan on Re-open EU

Re-open EU is an app and a website for all essential information on borders, available means of transport, travel restrictions, public health and safety measures such as on physical distancing or wearing of face masks, as well as other practical information for travellers.

All information is available in the 24 official EU languages.


How does it work if I want to travel from outside the EU?


The Council adopted a revised recommendation updating the approach to travel from third countries into the EU. The Council recommendation aims to ease the current restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU taking into account the progress of vaccination campaigns and developments in the epidemiological situation worldwide.

Where the EU is satisfied that a non-EU country issues certificates in compliance with standards and systems, which are interoperable with the EU system, the EU can adopt a decision on the basis of which such non-EU country certificates would be accepted according to the same conditions as EU digital COVID certificates.

So far, a number of non-EU countries and territories joined the EU digital COVID certificate system. This means that the certificates issued in those countries and territories are accepted in the EU under the same conditions as the EU digital COVID certificate. Likewise, the EU digital COVID certificate is accepted by those countries and territories.

In any case, the rules for acceptance of proof of vaccination are the same as for EU nationals: vaccines that have received EU-wide marketing authorisation have to be accepted, but EU countries can decide to also accept vaccines approved by the WHO.

Copyright European Union