a city with many buildings

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.

a bicycle on a bridge over a canal

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
a city with many buildings

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 Too

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.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Well I just submitted all the paperwork and we will see whether it goes through and how long it takes. Trip is not until next Spring so it would be interesting to see what happens when and if the flights are changed/cancelled.

  2. I live in Hawaii. A month ago we spent 11 days in Paris. Two weeks prior to arriving in Paris we filled out the form for the Passe Sanitaire and submitted it. We immediately received an email saying that our forms were received but it will take awhile for us to receive our Passe because of a backlog of so many submitted forms. We still went to Paris. We never received our Passe Sanitaire. We needed to go to a pharmacy on Ille St. Louis where we have an apartment. We had to do this 4 times. Each time took a total of one hour. When we arrived back in Hawaii we received an email from the Passe Sanitaire saying that our applications were rejected because we were not currently in France. What absolute stupidity. We guess France does not want our money. We have another trip to France in May for six weeks. We will apply again. We are positive that we will not have our Passe Sanitaire before we are to leave. We will then cancel our entire trip. Many Americans are having the same exact problem. Any suggestions?

  3. Based on my online applications mid September for foreigners vaccinated abroad, it took only 2 days to receive my pass sanitaire from France and 2 weeks for my covid certificate from Switzerland/Geneva.

  4. I went to France in mid-September. Thanks to your blog post, I knew exactly what to do.

    We (two friends and myself) submitted our form for the Passe Sanitaire and received an email, several weeks later, that it would take awhile to receive the Passe as they were so busy. Two of us resubmitted the same form. A day prior to our departure we received an email (one of us received the QR code) and I received an email, in french, stating that there was a problem with my application. When I landed in Paris, I resubmit the photo of my passport and sent an email that I was in Paris. I received an email, immediately, with my QR code. My other friend never received anything. She resubmitted, when she landed in Paris, along with a comment that she was in Paris. She received her QR code right away. That being said, after I left France, I received an email stating that my application was rejected because I was not in France. Moral of the story? Keep re-submitting your application.

  5. I’m planning to visit France so before that, I got to know about the EU digital covid pass thank you so much for sharing this info

  6. 3:30 AM Eastern time finally worked after 3 attempts. Got it 30 mins later. But I’m leaving in 2 days, so maybe that had something to do with it.

  7. I submitted all papers three days ago, when I was in Spain. Now I ma in Southern France. Have not received anything yet other than the email to verify email address. Only a few times they requested to see my health pass and the CDC card was accepted.

  8. Update: everything submitted on October 7. On October 11, I received E-mail indicated the app had been forwarded to the appropriate office. No further updates as of today, the 16th.

  9. Will any of these options work? I have the British HLC QR and Spanish FCS QR from our trip in September. My wife & I are traveling to Paris for our 20th anniversary in November. Submitted all of our info for the Pass Sanitaire on Sept 24th and received our e-mail indicating; In Progress “Usually, the files for this process are processed within 14 days.” Each day it seems they’ve added an additional processing day, we’re now at; In Progress “Usually, the files for this process are processed within 26 days.” Is this normal or is it just the French way of doing things? If the British or Spanish forms will work I’d rather log-in to my accounts and go that route.

  10. We went to France on Oct 1, 2021 and just returned. I had found out about the online process to request the French ‘Pass Sanitaire’ (health pass) from this site and others back in early Sept. I immediately submitted an online request, but my husband waited two weeks. My request was completed in two weeks, but his request was not completed by the time we went to Paris. However in addition to being tested every 72 hours, there are a few pharmacies (5 or 6) that will take a US Covid card and immediately issue a Pass Sanitaire. Some places charge €20, but we heard that one or more were free. Thanks Gilbert for all the useful information

    1. I’ve been in Greece for weeks and no one is wearing masks outdoors and no one is in restaurants either? Vaccination now, yes. Masks though…

  11. May be a silly question, but do you actually need to travel to France to get the pass? Can I just send a copy of a flight reservation along with other documents and receive the pass? Thanks.

    1. Yes, confirmed as well that they are no longer enabling this process. Could anyone post the list of pharmacies that can process the pass sanitaire. I believe there is a page on the site, but my French isn’t good enough to find it.

  12. Looks like this procedure is no longer available and that France now requires visiting a local pharmacy to get a certificate. Would appreciate any thoughts/articles on converting US vax cards or SmarthHealth QR certificates into something Schengen countries will accept, without needing to stop at a pharmacy in Germany or France first.

  13. This is lunacy!!! We have to stop all these progressive liberal countries destroying common sense. Mask have been proven not to work and the vaccines have been proven not to work.

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