According to schengenvisainfo, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland made the certificates available to their citizens as of Tuesday (June 1) and are accepting them for visitors. The European Commission, the bloc’s administrative branch, said the system would be in use for all 27 E.U. countries as of July 1.
The New York Times reported that the document, known as a digital COVID certificate, records whether people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, recovered from the virus or tested negative within 72 hours. Travellers can move freely if at least one of those three criteria is met.
Things you need to know about the COVID-19 Certificate
The digital COVID certificate was launched after two months of preparation, a relatively fast turnaround considering that it required coordination among the 27 countries and contains security features to verify the data’s authenticity. Because of concerns about privacy, the system’s data is not retained anywhere, the commission said.
The long-term goal is for all people within the European Union to have the certificates and for visitors from outside the bloc to be able to receive one upon arrival. Providing them to outsiders could be tricky, however, considering that not all countries have been giving people secure vaccination documents.
Currently, as per the reports, the European Commission is in talks with the United States about how to verify the vaccination status of American visitors. It has also asked E.U. countries to start waiving testing and quarantine demands for people who are vaccinated or have recently recovered from the coronavirus and to stop requiring quarantines for people with a negative virus test.
After the regulation comes into force, the news site reported, there will be a phasing-in period of six weeks for the Member States that need additional time in order to start issuing the certificates. At the same time, the Commission will provide technical and financial support to the Member States in this regard.