The testing phase of the coronavirus passport accepted by all European Union countries has started.
Summer is here; the coronavirus passport is almost here. The only thing missing is you on a flight, maybe to Hungary. After you are vaccinated, of course. If you are thinking about visiting this beautiful small country this summer, here is a little help.
Even though all member states are already allowed to start issuing and using the coronavirus passport,
considering the whole of the European Union, it will be valid from the 1st of July.
That gives you plenty of time to prepare for your summer vacations and find out all the necessary information about the document in this article.
Let’s start with the basics. What is exactly the digital covid certificate accepted in the EU?
The digital certificate unanimously accepted by all EU member countries is a document stating one of the following about its owner: he has received the coronavirus vaccine, he has a negative PCR test in his possession, or he has successfully recuperated from the infection.
The certificate can either be a piece of paper or a digital application; nevertheless, in both cases, it needs to include a QR code.
It will be free of charge for everyone either in English or the given country’s language.
And, of course, all EU countries accept it.
National authorities will line out the process of obtaining the certificate and decisions around it. According to novekedes.hu, you can either get it from a testing point or the sanitary authorities.
The digital version will be a mobile application; however, citizens are entitled to ask for a printed version, as well. Both versions need to contain a QR code with all the primary data alongside a digital stamp functioning as a digital signature proving the certificate’s authenticity. The member states have agreed on one single design, so independently from the country that provides you with the document, it will be easily recognisable.
After the technicalities, what changes will be brought by the passport into our lives considering the free movement between EU countries? The most important and exciting feature of the document is the fact that
its owner will be entitled to travel freely into any European Union country without having to follow the restrictions of the given destination.
Member states can not impose any restrictions on citizens with the digital Covid certificate, except in case any measure is necessary for the country’s public health.
Upon checking the document, the QR code will be scanned to verify the digital signature. Every single place entitled to provide the certificate, whether it is a hospital, a test centre or a health authority, will have its very own digital signature that is stored in a secure central database in every single country.
The European Commission has set up a software that functions as a service passage to check the digital signature without giving away any personal information on the citizen, since it is unnecessary when verifying the signature.
Since the certificate aims at providing an easement to EU citizens to freely travel from one country to another, which is a fundamental EU right in regular times, you do not actually need to be vaccinated to make use of it. Based on this, you are entitled to the certificate if you produce a negative PCR test, which is already a condition to enter several countries. However,
countries have the right to change their own restrictions in case a reason arises, and they need to protect the public health of their own citizens.
It means that in case of a new variant of the virus appearing in a country,
it is entitled to abolish the possibility to enter its territory with a negative test.
One of the most critical questions when it comes to the certificate: does it matter which vaccine I am inoculated with?
Member states are obligated to accept all those vaccines that the European Medicines Agency approves.
Furthermore, it is their personal decision whether they accept any further jabs, the ones they might be using as well, in their system. Moreover,
member states are also entitled to decide whether only one or both jabs are needed to be administered for the certificate to enter into effect.
The certificate itself will contain the most important information of the inoculated citizen: name; date of birth; the date of receiving the certificate; any further information that can be necessary related to the vaccine/the PCR test/recuperation from the infection and lastly, a personal identification. All these data are included in the certificate; however, as mentioned earlier,
when a given country verifies the vaccine passport, personal data will not be seen or stored.
Only the validity and the authenticity of the certificate will be verified so that all health data will remain in the origin country.
Upon visiting the European Commission website, we can see which countries are technologically ready to join the verification software.
Hungary is currently in the testing process,
alongside Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
Source: ec.europa.eu, novekedes.hu