The Digital Green Certificate – a tool for Travel within the EU


The EU Commission adopted a legislative proposal establishing a common framework for the Digital Green Certificate, for EU citizens and a complementary proposal for non-EU nationals who reside in Member States or Schengen Associated States, and to visitors who have the right to travel to other Member States.

Dr Michael Frendo, from Frendo Lapira Legal, advisers to the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, summarised the points of this important development for the travel and hospitality industry.

  1. On March 17th the Commission proposed the creation of a Digital Green Certificate to facilitate safe travel inside the EU in support of economic recovery – a measure of particular importance to the hospitality and travel industry.
  2. The certificate, which will be free of charge and in digital or paper format, would be valid in all EU Member States and would be open to other membes of the European Economic Area, that is to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and to Switzerland [1].
  3. This Certificate will cover three types of certifications: (a) certificate that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19; (b) certificate that a person has received a negative test result (NAAT/RT-PCR test or a rapid antigen test) and (c) certificate that a person has recovered from COVID-19.
  4. The Commission will build a gateway to ensure that all certificates are verified across the EU. Member States who waive certain public health restrictions to persons showing proof of vaccination would apply these to all EU citizens holding the Digital Green Certificate showing they have been vaccinated with vaccines that have received EU-wide authorisation [2].
  5. The certificates will include a limited set of information such as name, date of birth, date of issuance, relevant information about vaccine/test/recovery and a unique identifier of the certificate.
  6. To be ready before the summer, this proposal needs a swift adoption by the European Parliament (“EP”) and Council. On March 25th, the EP adopted a fast-track procedure which is expected to bring approval by June.

[1] COM(2021) 130 final 2021/0068 (COD) Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on a framework for the issuance, verification, and acceptance of interoperable certificates on vaccination, testing and recovery to facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic (Digital Green Certificate) (Text with EEA relevance), Brussels, 17.3.2021.

[2] Member States may also decide to accept other vaccines in addition. If a Member State wishes to still impose quarantine or testing on holders of a Digital Green Certificate, it would need to notify the Commission and all other Member States and explain the reasons for such measures.

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