COVID passport, evidence and documents

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The EU digital COVID certificate came into force on July 1, 2021. Citizens and residents of the European Union can since then have their certificates issued and verified in all EU countries. National authorities are responsible for issuing the document, a true ‘passport’ to travel and access public places in times of pandemic.

Currently, it is the sanitary control measure preferred by administrations, both in Spain and in the rest of Europe, and has displaced in most countries the requirement of quarantines or prior tests, which were requested a few months ago when vaccination was not as widespread as it is now. Although in Spain it is not yet requested by all territories, in many of the main European countries it has been requested for months to be able to access different types of establishments and public spaces.

And, given the escalation of infections this fall in Europe, there are countries that ask for the COVID certificate and at the same time submit a negative test, at least for citizens of countries and territories with a higher level of risk, as is the case of Portugal, Belgium, United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland and Lithuania, as seen in the map that opens this information.

The certificate, both in digital and printed format, allows the bearer to travel freely, and is recognized from the full vaccination, the Recovery after having had the disease or the negative result of a PCR or antigen type diagnostic test made 72 or 48 hours before the trip, respectively. Although in this field each country remains sovereign to define its own requirements and entry standards.

Thus, the documents required to travel to other countries oblige to take into account not only the place to which you travel, but also the territory from which you leave, since some countries establish different requirements depending on the epidemiological situation of the specific region from which you are traveling. And furthermore, those levels, usually marked by colors under national ‘traffic lights’, with their own criteria or based on the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC), are periodically reviewed.

Therefore, and to avoid surprises, in addition to the map guide that accompanies this news, it is advisable to go to official sources, pages of the European Union or institutions of the countries to which you want to travel.

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France

France approved the use of the COVID certificate in July – opposition to this measure caused many protests – and since then it is necessary to enter bars and restaurants, shopping malls, cinemas, theaters, public transport, and also in hospitals or nursing homes. Those who do not have the vaccination certificate can enter France with a negative test of less than 72 hours.

The government of Emmanuel Macron is using the COVID passport to incite the most skeptical to get vaccinated and face the fifth wave of the coronavirus. The French Executive has decided to generalize the reminder dose of the vaccine to all those over 18 years of age; Otherwise, your COVID certificate will expire from December 15 for those over 65 and January 15 for the rest.

Italy

To travel from Spain to Italy, you need the COVID certificate and fill in the passenger location form. Children six years of age and older, who are not vaccinated, will need to present a negative test. Children under the age of six are exempt. If you do not have a COVID certificate, you will have to undergo a five-day quarantine and perform a diagnostic test upon completion.

Last July, Italy became the first European country to implement the vaccination certificate as a requirement to access the country and also to most public spaces, such as museums, cinemas, stadiums and gyms. As the obligation to present the COVID certificate to work spaces was extended, violent protests took place.

Now the demands have been reinforced thinking about the greater mobility and social activity of the Christmas season. In this way, from December 6 to January 15, entry to bars, restaurants or shows will be prohibited to those not vaccinated, because the new COVID passport in the Italian country cannot be obtained with a negative test in the “yellow” and “orange” areas of the country. In addition, from that date, the COVID certificate will only be valid for nine months, to promote the reception of the third dose.

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United Kingdom

To enter the United Kingdom from Spain, you need the COVID certificate, or failing that, a test with a negative result, and also fill out an entry form to the country. However, the passport requirement is not homogeneous throughout the country: it is more severe in Scotland or Wales, where it is requested for cinemas, theaters, concerts and large indoor and outdoor shows.

Germany

In Germany, concerned about the increase in infections in which they qualify as the “wave of the unvaccinated”, the access of travelers from Spain with the COVID-19 passport or, failing that, a negative test is allowed. As in Spain, health measures vary in each of the States, although in general the COVID certificate is required to access bars, restaurants, nightlife and cultural events.

But current measures could be increased soon. A tightening of the measures that the federal government and regional leaders will agree to is expected. It is debated to limit the private encounters of unvaccinated people to the family or coexistence nucleus itself and two other people from another coexistence bubble, not counting minors up to 14 years old, the media advance.

And it is also on the table to demand to be vaccinated or to have had the disease to access retail establishments. In the case of cinemas, theaters and restaurants, it is also proposed to require a negative test in addition to the COVID passport.

Portugal

To travel to Portugal from a country with a high risk level, if you arrive by plane, boat or waterway, the COVID passport is required and also a negative test 72 hours before the trip or 48 hours before if it is a test of antigens.

This has created confusion because Spain as a whole was in a situation of intermediate risk when these measures were put into effect, but several autonomous communities, including those bordering Portugal except Extremadura, were at a high risk level, according to the ECDC traffic light .

As specified by the Portuguese authorities, by road it is enough to present the COVID passport as a document that proves the complete vaccination schedule, a negative test or having passed the disease, reports Europa Press citing sources from the Ministry of Internal Administration. If they do not have this certificate, they must present a negative PCR (done in the previous 72 hours) or a negative antigen test (done in the previous 48 hours). And if they arrive without a test, they must take one, paid for by themselves, at one of the points designated by the local health authority and wait for the notification of the result.

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Measures, in force from December 1 to January 9, they will be “revised” and “may change in a week”, according to the Portuguese authorities. The COVID passport is necessary in Portugal to enter restaurants, hotels, tourist accommodation, events with pre-assigned seats and gyms.

Spain

And what do foreign travelers and tourists have to do to enter Spain? In Spain, the COVID certificate is not required by all the autonomous communities. As of December 2, it is implemented in seven: Catalonia, Aragon, Navarra, the Balearic Islands, Galicia, the Valencian Community and the Basque Country. With variations according to territories, it is generally requested to access bars and restaurants, nightlife and large indoor events.

In addition, all travelers arriving in Spain by air or sea, including children of any age, passengers in transit and residents of Spain who return to their country of origin must fill out a health control form prior to their trip, which provides a QR code to present upon boarding and upon arrival. Children under 12 years of age are exempt from presenting certificates, but not from completing the aforementioned form.

With the emergence of the omicron variant, Spain has tightened controls at the entrances for travelers from several African countries and the United Kingdom, which will only be able to enter with the vaccination certificate.

Thus, travelers from countries considered high risk must provide a diagnostic test with a negative result carried out no later than 72 hours before arrival, regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated or have had the disease.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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