If you’re fully vaccinated, it’s an amazing time to visit Europe. Once rammed ports are all but empty, hotels are happy to receive visitors and tough tables at top restaurants are surprisingly manageable.
To make sure that things stay open this time, a growing list of countries are requiring proof of vaccination to do just about anything and everything indoors, and that’s worth knowing, ahead of any upcoming trips.
Here’s what it means for visitors from inside the EU, and out, including how to prove your status, even if you can’t access the European Union DCC, covid-19 vaccination app.
Vaccination Proof For Activities
Ah, Mr. Ott, welcome back to the restaurant – may we see your covid-19 vaccination?
Of 27 member states in the EU, 16 countries now require proof of vaccination for most activities, including dining, museums and evening spots. Pretty much anything indoors. Even the Eiffel Tower is requiring a pass or proof of vaccination.
This means if you’re planning to visit Europe as an unvaccinated visitor, you’re going to find dining options incredibly limited, and may absolutely want to get fully vaccinated before the trip.
Travelers visit any of the following 16 countries should expect to carry a copy of their vaccination proof, or a digital form of proof to enter hotels, indoor restaurants, indoor bars and most museums and other attractions, including…
*the list can change at any point, and countries may add requirements
For European travelers with residency in the EU, the EU DCC app is the easiest way to show proof at any juncture. Details on getting vaccination proof for each country can be found here.
For travelers coming from outside of Europe, from an EU ‘safe list’ approved country, such as the US, UK or Canada, the same proof of vaccination accepted for travel, such as a US CDC card will be accepted at hotels, restaurants and other attractions requiring them.
That might not prove as easy as it should, and some countries now have protocols for obtaining these passes before you depart, to streamline travel and alleviate any woes.
France now has instructions on how to deal with that, which involves emailing French Embassy authorities before departure with proof of vaccination. Visitors will receive a QR code to use while in the country to enter all venues.
Having digital proof, such as New York’s Excelsior Pass certainly makes this easier in some countries, but a copy of the original CDC certificate should also be accepted at most venues, or at a pharmacy to unlock the local pass after arrival, if protocols aren’t already in place, like in France.
There’s no charge for a pharmacist to enter a foreign vaccination certificate into the national database to unlock local apps for activities, though it’s a bit of added hassle. In time, hotels may begin in assisting with this, directly from the lobby.
If you’re an American, or someone vaccinated in the US with residency in Europe, who has access to a European health system, you can also have a European doctor upload your US vaccination proof to the database of the country your doctor is in.
For example, if you’re a French citizen or resident who was vaccinated in the United States, you can bring your vaccination proof to your French doctor, or perhaps even upload it online, and the doctor can add it to French vaccination records in advance, so that the EU DCC app can then be accessed, rather than carrying around a paper CDC copy or visiting a pharmacy after arrival.
Is Europe Still Worth The Trip?
I’ve been lucky to travel on both sides of the pond this year, and in my opinion, the answer is yes. If you hate crowds and over tourism, this is an incredibly unique year to experience countries which have been super busy, without the madness.
Pulling out proof of vaccination is no more of a hassle than proof of ID for age checks in a bar or checking into a hotel, so it’s hardly a deal breaker in that regard. Plus, now you’ve got all the info on how the systems work, so there’s no fuss. Really, it’s just a matter of stopping by a pharmacy on the way out for coffee.
If you had to pick just one country, aim for one which has traditionally been mobbed by cruise tourism. Cruises aren’t really moving right now, which means deals are all over the place, and cities are eager for visitors.