In this article:
- What is the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
- Who can get the EU Digital COVID certificate?
- How to get the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
- How can non-EU travelers get an EU Digital COVID Certificate?
- Can I travel to the EU without the EU Digital COVID certificate?
- Are vaccination certificates issued outside the EU (CDC white card, NHS proof of vaccination, etc.) valid to travel?
What is the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
The EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) is a system proposed by the European Union to facilitate free movement between EU countries. It covers three different types of COVID-19 certificates:
- Vaccination certificates: from vaccines that received EU marketing authorization. Vaccination certificates are valid for 9 months following the administration of the last dose of the primary vaccination, or indefinitely for certificates with booster doses.
- Test certificates: NAAT tests (including RT-PCR tests) are widely accepted, but each country has the autonomy to decide whether it accepts rapid antigen tests or not. The validity period for NAAT tests is 72 hours since its issue date and 48 hours for rapid antigen tests.
- Recovery certificates: must indicate that no more than 180 days have passed since the date of the first positive PCR test result
Who can get the EU Digital COVID certificate?
- All EU citizens and their family members
- Non-EU nationals who are legally staying or residing in a Member State and have the right to travel freely between the EU
EU citizens who were vaccinated abroad can request the EU Digital COVID Certificate from their country of nationality or residence, but the EU countries are not obliged to offer this possibility.
Alternatively, the European Union provides a list of countries whose COVID certificates are recognized under the same conditions as the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
How to get the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
National authorities of each EU country are in charge of issuing the EU DCC. It could, for example, be issued by test centers or health authorities, or directly via an eHealth portal.
You can learn how to get the certificate from your national health authority on the interactive map available here:
How can non-EU travelers get an EU Digital COVID Certificate?
In most cases, it isn't possible. Countries are not obliged to issue a certificate to a non-EU national or foreign resident wishing to travel. In specific circumstances, some of these countries may offer the EU DCC or equivalent certification provided that all reliable documentation has been presented. Check the national authorities from your destination country via the EU interactive map to see details.
Can I travel to the EU without the EU Digital COVID certificate?
You may still be able to travel since most EU countries offer some alternatives for travelers who don't have the EU DCC. Here are the steps we recommend you follow:
1. Check if travel is allowed for your destination
2. Read the description to confirm if you meet the eligibility or exemption criteria to enter
3. Check what are the required documents for your trip
4. Read the description of each recommendation to confirm if the documents you have are considered valid by the government of your destination country
Information about alternatives for travelers unable to present the EU DCC is usually available in our recommendations for vaccination and/or testing. If a foreign certificate of recovery is accepted, it should be shown in the section "Details and exemptions".
Are vaccination certificates issued outside the EU (CDC white card, NHS proof of vaccination, etc.) valid to travel?
Each EU country has sovereignty to decide the requirements and procedures required by foreigners seeking to enter their territory. While the European Commission recommends to the EU Member States accept vaccination certificates from non-EU countries containing the necessary data, this may not be the case for many travelers.
Our team at sherpa° always aims to list specific vaccination certificates if they are mentioned in our sources. We strongly encourage travelers to check carefully our recommendations for proof of vaccination to see what their destination country defines as valid proof of vaccination.