EU's COVID Travel Certificate Has Launched for Summer Travelers
"EU citizens are looking forward to traveling again, and they want to do so safely. Having an EU certificate is a crucial step on the way."
The European Union launched its much-anticipated digital COVID-19 certificate on Tuesday, allowing travelers to get a head start on their itinerary planning or visit countries that will soon implement it — before it becomes standardized across the continent next month.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate, which countries can now start issuing, will allow EU citizens to upload proof of a vaccine, proof of a negative COVID-19 test, or proof they contracted the virus and have since recovered, according to the Commission. The free certificate will then issue a QR code with a digital signature "to protect it against falsification."
With the certificate, European travelers will be exempt from travel restrictions "unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health."
So far, seven EU countries (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia, and Poland) have signed up to issue the first certificates, according to the European Commission. The documentation will then be implemented across the bloc starting July 1.
"The EU Digital COVID Certificate shows the value added of effective e-health solutions for our citizens," Stella Kyriakides, the commissioner for health and food safety, said in a statement. "EU citizens are looking forward to traveling again, and they want to do so safely. Having an EU certificate is a crucial step on the way."
The rollout of the certificate comes as the EU makes plans to reopen to vaccinated foreign travelers this summer, including from the United States.
While all of Europe hasn't opened its borders just yet, several countries have already started welcoming American tourists, including Croatia, Italy, and Greece. Additionally, Spain has said it will begin welcoming U.S. travelers on June 7, and France has made plans to open its borders by June 9.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.