The EU has adopted Regulation (EU) 2021/953 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2021, which regulates the issuance, verification and acceptance of interoperable COVID-19 vaccination, diagnostic test and recall certificates, also called "EU digital COVID certificate" in order to facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The term "EU Digital COVID Certificate" refers to the interoperable certificate containing information on vaccination, the result of a diagnostic test or the recovery of the holder, issued in the context of the pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2. It is an EU Digital COVID Certificate is a digital accreditation that a person: has been vaccinated against COVID-19, or has had a test with a negative result, or has recovered from COVID-19.

See: European Union COVID Digital Certificate from the official website of the European Union.

The EU digital COVID certificate framework will enable the cross-border issuance, verification and acceptance of any of the following certificates:

a) A certificate confirming that the holder has received a COVID-19 vaccination in the Member State issuing the certificate (vaccination certificate);

b) A certificate confirming that the holder performed a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) or a rapid antigen test listed in the updated common list of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests established on the basis of the Council Recommendation of 21 January 2021, carried out by health professionals or personnel qualified to perform the tests in the Member State issuing the certificate, and indicating the type of test, the date on which it was performed and its result (diagnostic test certificate);

c) A certificate confirming that, following a positive result of a NAAT test performed by healthcare professionals or qualified testing personnel, the holder has recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection (certificate of recovery).

The characteristics of this certificate are:

  • The certificates that will be delivered may be in digital or paper format and will contain a bar code that will allow verification of their authenticity and validity.
  • It shall be issued in the language of the issuing State and also in English.
  • A separate certificate shall be issued for each vaccination, test result or recovery. Such certificate shall not contain data from previous certificates, except as otherwise provided for in these Regulations.
  • They will be issued free of charge, but a fee may be charged in the event that a new certificate is requested due to repeated losses.
  • Possession of the aforementioned certificates shall not be a precondition for exercising the right to free movement.
  • In relation to countries with which there is an agreement on the free movement of persons, the Commission will evaluate the certificates issued by these countries and their conformity with the Regulation and also the reciprocity in terms of acceptance of the certificates issued by the Member States.
  • The vaccination certificate shall contain the following categories of personal data: a) the identity of the holder; b) information about the COVID-19 vaccine and the number of doses administered to the holder; c) certificate metadata, such as the certificate issuer or a unique certificate identifier.
  • The diagnostic test certificate shall contain the following categories of personal data: a) the identity of the holder; b) information about the NAAT test or rapid antigen test to which the holder was subjected; c) certificate metadata, such as the issuer of the certificate or a unique certificate identifier.
  • (ii) The recovery certificate shall contain the following categories of personal data: a) the identity of the holder; b) information about the holder's previous SARS-CoV-2 infection following a positive test; c) certificate metadata, such as the issuer of the certificate or a unique certificate identifier.
  • Where a certificate of vaccination has been issued in a third country for the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine corresponding to one of the COVID-19 vaccines accepted in Europe, and all necessary information, including reliable proof of vaccination, has been provided to the authorities of a Member State, those authorities may issue to the person concerned, upon request, the certificate of vaccination.
  • The Commission may eventually establish that COVID-19 certificates issued by a third country according to technological standards and systems that are interoperable with the trust framework for the EU digital COVID certificate, that allow verifying the authenticity, validity and integrity of the certificate, and that contain the data set out in the certificates issued in the EU countries, should be considered equivalent to the certificates issued by the Member States in accordance with the Regulation, in order to facilitate their holders to exercise their right to free movement in the Union.
  • This Regulation shall apply from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

Regulation (EU) 2021/954

Regulation (EU) 2021/954 of June 14, 2021, published on June 15 in the DOUE, establishes that the aforementioned regulation also applies to third-country nationals who are legally present or resident in a Member State and are entitled to travel to other Member States.

In relation to Ireland, and taking into account that it does not belong to Schengen territory, it is not bound by these Regulations, nor subject to their application. If Ireland confirms that it accepts certificates issued in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2021/953, certificates issued by Ireland will be accepted, provided that they comply with the conditions set out in that Regulation.

This Regulation does apply to Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

It will be applicable from July 1, 2021 until June 30, 2022.

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