There is very little that’s “easy” about travel in Europe right now, particularly if you’re coming from outside the bloc. More than 16 countries require proof of vaccination for just about everything indoors, but that only becomes a problem once you’re in.
That’s where the nerve racking research starts. Do I need a test? What if I am going to another country? Will my vaccination certificate be accepted?
Making matters trickier, some countries recognize foreign vaccination proof at the border, but not for activities once inside. They require even fully vaccinated visitors to be tested every few days, just to obtain a QR code allowing them to enter cafes and museums.
Others, like France and Germany, have made it relatively easy, allowing people to convert their foreign vaccination proof into an EU Digital Covid Certificate, and in the case of France, before they even enter the EU. Basically, it’s a minefield.
Even once a European Digital Covid Certificate (EU DCC) pass is obtained, travel within the bloc, which has always ben built on “free movement” is currently anything but that. Each country has varying rules for vaccinated people and where they’re coming from, which are holding travel back significantly.
The European Commission is looking to change that…
Europe Simplifying Travel
With cases unfortunately on the rise, the good news may be delayed, but Europe is actively looking to simplify travel restrictions within the bloc, and make free movement possible, yet again.
If people are vaccinated, they should be fine for all activities and border procedures without testing.
Bloomberg was first to report on the proposals, which create a more binary system for all countries to work with. Basically, you’re either fully vaccinated and are not subject to testing or quarantine in any country, or you’re not and you are.
This would alleviate the current uncertainty people face when moving from one EU country to another, due to regularly changing entry and testing protocols. Some EU countries say vaccinated visitors can enter without testing, yet others demand both.
It’s made checking in for flights online a thing of the past, among others.
“Given the very sizable impact on the exercise of free movement, persons traveling within the EU should in principle no longer be required to quarantine save for very exceptional situations (e.g. new variants of concern),”European Commission
Even if the EU adopts the commission’s second (lesser) proposal, which would still have color coded rules for each country, the aim is to create a more uniform approach. Countries would simply be “red” or “green”, much like the system used by the UK.
If people are fully vaccinated, the rules would be simple and uniform for all non “red” countries both at the border and inside. There would also be greater warning and data transparency around any moves from a safe “green” country to “red”.
Get An EU DCC Certificate
Getting an EU DCC certificate from abroad, before arrival into the EU is the smartest thing potential visitors can do. Most of Europe accepts the NHS digital certificates from the UK, but not those from the USA and elsewhere, automatically.
Submitting “proof” of an upcoming flight to France can secure an EU DCC certificate with relative ease. It took 7 days for mine to arrive, and under 4 days for my partner, all done through standard online form channels.
GSTP believes these requests are usually processed based on the date of arrival, so the “sooner” you arrive, the better.
These EU DCC passes have made transit and travel through countries like Greece, Spain and others miraculously easy. Whenever proof of vaccination is needed to enter any bars, restaurants, hotels or museums, the QR code on the phone does the trick in seconds.