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Everything you need to know about Europe's vaccine passports

June 02, 2021
6 min read
Passport Control at Prague Airport
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As the world reopens, the COVID-19 vaccine will be a new entry requirement for some destinations and travel providers.

Many destinations will accept proof of vaccination to allow some travelers to skip COVID-19 tests and lengthy quarantines. This proof, in some countries, may come in the form of a vaccine passport.

In mid-May, the European Union confirmed it would reopen to fully vaccinated travelers this summer — including Americans. And seven EU member states (Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland) issued the first EU Digital COVID Certificates on June 1. Non-EU member states, such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, will also use the Green Certificate — but not the United Kingdom.

If you're traveling to Europe this summer, here's what you need to know about current vaccine passport plans and requirements.

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Digital International Certificate of COVID-19 Vaccination. The certificate indicates that the holder has been vaccinated against COVID-19 (Image by courtneyk/Getty Images)

What to know about the EU vaccine passport

Under the vaccine passport scheme, each EU Member State would adopt the same entry requirements for visitors. The Digital COVID Certificate will show that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus. Fully vaccinated travelers would be allowed entry to each EU country without the need for a further COVID-19 test result or quarantine on arrival.

Do I have to download an app?

The certificate, formerly called the Digital Green Certificate, will be available for free in digital (with QR code) or paper format.

Other vaccine passports in Europe

Denmark

Denmark launched a vaccine passport for its citizens called Coronapas. The pass, which is available through an app or by paper, can be used to show that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the Coronapas website, travelers can see their pass once a lab has analyzed their COVID-19 test. Travelers can only see their passports if their test result is negative and is not older than seven days.

Estonia

The Estonian government announced on April 30 a vaccine passport called VaccineGuard. It is expected to comply with the European Union’s certificate and allow Estonians to cross borders with proof of vaccination status.

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France

France will allow travelers from the U.S. starting June 9. According to The Local Europe, people vaccinated in France will receive a certificate with a QR code that can be used to go to events in France and for EU border crossings, starting on June 9. The code can be used for international travel beginning July 1. It’s unclear, right now, how American travelers will prove their vaccination status to enter France.

Iceland

Iceland rolled out digital vaccination certificates to its citizens earlier this year.

It looks like the certificate is only available to Icelanders, but the country is open to certain travelers. Eligible travelers include those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who can prove they’ve already recovered from the virus. You’ll need proof of vaccination or prior infection to show the border agent upon arrival in Iceland and when checking into your hotel. Having these documents also lets you skip the mandatory testing and quarantine imposed on other travelers.

At this time, Iceland recognizes several vaccines, including the three approved for emergency use in the U.S., for entry. You must bring your CDC-issued vaccination card with you to the border. Your card must have the following information:

  • First name and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Name of the vaccinated disease (COVID-19)
  • Where and when the vaccinations took place
  • List of the number of doses required to complete
  • Information on the issuer of the certificate
  • Name of the vaccine
  • Manufacturer of vaccine and batch number
  • Written in Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, English or French

Ireland

According to Reuters, Ireland will roll out a vaccine passport that would allow its citizens to travel more seamlessly throughout the EU starting July 19. Prime Minister Micheál Martin said that Ireland would “broadly apply the same approach” to international travelers, including Americans.

Greece

Greece is welcoming tourists back again, which includes American and British travelers. Tourists looking to visit Greece must meet the entry requirements, including being fully vaccinated or having a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. Greece said previously that fully vaccinated travelers from Great Britain would only need their handwritten paper NHS card as proof of vaccination.

What about travel to the United Kingdom?

According to a report from The Telegraph, the United Kingdom’s plans to roll out a vaccine passport may be in limbo. The vaccine passport was reportedly supposed to be used to gain entry into large events like concerts or sporting events. However, this report has not been independently confirmed by TPG. U.K. residents already have access to the NHS app; a digital vaccine passport only applies to travelers in England.

Featured image by (Photo by Uskarp/Shutterstock)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023