The big news is already out there: the European Union plans to allow people from other countries to enter for travel this summer, including from places like the United States, Israel and UK.
It’s all wonderful, but the details are kind of important, and they’ve been relatively scant, particularly when it comes to what will count as “proof” of vaccination.
Who wants to book a big Europe trip, only to find out kids aren’t exempt from vaccination, or that the only proof they’ve got won’t be accepted?
To help ease these fears ahead of a promising summer of travel, the EU has further clarified how it would like member countries to treat travel docs, vaccination proof and everything else that will matter this summer.
European Union Summer Travel Plans
“The Commission proposes to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine,”
As clearly stated, European Union plans for summer travel revolve around courting fully vaccinated travelers, including those from the USA and UK and many other “third” country areas, which are not a part of the EU.
Many countries, including Croatia and Greece have taken a softer stance on entry restrictions, not only allowing fully vaccinated travelers, as per EU advice, but also anyone with a negative RT-PCR test taken within 3 days of arrival.
Spain, France and Portugal have all noted plans to welcome outside visitors this summer, with tentative dates set for early June. France, for example, plans to welcome outsiders from sometime between June 7th – June 9th, provided the epidemiological situation remains under control.
Exemptions to testing or vaccination requirements exist on a country by country basis for children, depending on age. It’s best to check IATA or official government pages for up to date information on these exemptions.
What Counts As Vaccination Proof For Europe?
Each country is able to adapt and adopt recommended entry rules as they wish, including the option to make vaccination optional for entry. But what most people want to know, is how they can prove they’ve been vaccinated! It’s not a perfect science right now!
The European Commission advice for countries accepting vaccinated Americans, travelers from the UAE, Israeli’s, Brits and other foreign visitors is fairly vague, but it should mean even basic vaccination certificates will be accepted.
Here’s the EU’s official advice for countries checking vaccination status…
“Until the Digital Green Certificate is operational, Member States should be able to accept certificates from non-EU countries based on national law, taking into account the ability to verify the authenticity, validity and integrity of the certificate and whether it contains all relevant data,”
The EU hopes to add clarity to vaccination proof which all member states can adopt, but only once the EU Covid-19 Certificate mobile app is ready for rollout – currently expected by the end of June. This would allow a more central and trusted database, with key information sharing between relevant countries as to vaccination status.
Obviously, tourists will be arriving before this date, though.
Until that point, all indications from EU officials suggest countries will accept CDC vaccination cards from the USA, and similar pieces of vaccination data from other countries.
To add an extra level of comfort to any near term travel plans, print outs of vaccine appointment confirmations and any other relevant correspondence won’t hurt, even if it’s not needed in the end. Basically, it never hurts to have more proof than needed.
A “wish this wasn’t necessary” reminder: forgeries face jail time, and some countries are implementing methods to rapid test arrivals for markers of vaccination, which would prove a faked certificate, if none are detected.
If in doubt, taking a negative covid-19 RT-PCR test before departure would add an additional layer of entry acceptance in many EU countries, so if covid-19 testing is easily accessible, there’s no harm in adding that extra check mark to your trip!