Update: it took roughly one week for my certificate and QR code to be processed from the USA, and under 2 days for my partner. Wishing the same for our readers. Be sure to follow the instructions and insights below carefully.
If you want to visit Europe, there’s one way to make the experience far more enjoyable and streamlined than the rest, in just about any country you visit. The way to do that is to obtain an EU covid-19 health pass.
Europe created a rather brilliant, streamlined system where securing a digital proof of vaccination in one European Union country allows the certificate to work in any other. Basically, once you have a EU covid-19 vaccination certificate from one country, you’ll be all set in any others you visit.
For travelers hoping to visit more than one country, that’s really handy. That just leaves the rather large, or small problem of actually getting one.
Here’s how to get a EU digital covid health certificate pass from outside of Europe, and specifically if you’ve been fully vaccinated by a country outside of the European Union, like the United States, Canada, Singapore, Australia or anywhere else. All links to apply for one can be found below.
Why This Matters
Some European countries are being “cool” with vaccination certificates from the USA and other countries serving as your ticket to enter hotels, restaurants, museums and bars, and some don’t require any proof of vaccination at all. But for more than 16 EU countries, you absolutely do need proof of vaccination to do just about anything.
Countries including Spain and Greece have yet to demand any proof of vaccination to enter hotels, restaurants, museums or other attractions, but a growing list of countries demands proof of full vaccination for most activities.
Like the Netherlands, which insists that not only must you be vaccinated, but you must also have an EU certificate, rather than certificates from abroad. Having an EU version also allows you to use a QR code to scan in, rather than manually be let into places, in most countries.
If you don’t have an EU certificate, you need to constantly get tested for covid-19 to enjoy most attractions. This adds serious hassle to any trip, whereas once you have the EU pass, you’re good anywhere.
Some Countries Will Convert Your Foreign Covid-19 Certificate
Germany and France are always wonderful destinations, but if you want a health pass that opens up Europe, at least one is probably an essential trip, or at least a “planned” trip.
France created an awesome resource for people vaccinated abroad to convert their covid-19 vaccination proof into the French ‘Pass Sanitaire’, which unlocks stress free QR code access in all of Europe.
In fact, you don’t even need to physically be in France to receive one.
Anyone with an upcoming trip to France who meets these conditions, mainly being vaccinated abroad, can apply online with a few easy steps to receive a pass ahead of their visit. To successfully do this, you’ll need a photo of your…
- Passport page
- Your covid-19 vaccination certificate
- A flight itinerary for an upcoming arrival to France
After creating a quick online account, you simply upload your info and wait. Many people have experienced waits of up to 7 days, but many have also received their pass in under 24 hours. This is by far the easiest way to obtain an EU health pass with a QR code that works in other countries.
Germany doesn’t have as simple of an online system for visitors who have upcoming trips, but after arrival, the country makes it rather easy to receive one.
It may take one or two attempts, but most pharmacies (particularly chains) will be able to convert US CDC vaccination cards into the German version of the EU covid-19 health pass, which much like the French version should work everywhere in Europe.
There May Be More
There are various reports of people having success converting certificates in Italy and Spain, but there’s very little definitive information on how “legit” these options are.
If you’re traveling to Europe, it’s almost worth adding at least a one night stop in France or Germany, just to benefit. With Paris and Frankfurt serving as key European hub cities, that probably wouldn’t be too hard to organize.
Getting A Pass is Huge For Upcoming Trips
Once you’ve got a pass, moving throughout Europe is as streamlined as any travel experience can be right now. Without it, each country, bar, or city can present new hurdles.
Some countries and establishments are very strict about requiring a pass to enter, whereas others have no such requirement. Plus, having a digital pass is a great way to hedge against potentially losing a physical foreign vaccination card, if your country only issued paper versions.
Have recent experience with getting a pass? Share your experiences below.