On 25 January 2022, the Council adopted a new recommendation on a coordinated approach to facilitating safe free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic. This recommendation is in response to the significant increase in vaccine uptake and the rapid roll-out of the EU digital COVID certificate.
The Council has adopted a recommendation establishing common criteria and a common framework on travel measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendation helps member states take decisions in a coordinated manner.
People with a valid EU digital COVID certificate
Travellers in possession of a valid EU digital COVID certificate should not be subject to additional restrictions to free movement.
A valid EU digital COVID certificate includes:
- a vaccination certificate for a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), where at least 14 and no more than 270 days have passed since the last dose of the primary vaccination series or if the person has received a booster dose
- a negative PCR test result obtained no more than 72 hours before travelling or a negative rapid antigen test obtained no more than 24 hours before travelling
- a certificate of recovery indicating that no more than 180 days have passed since the date of the first positive PCR test result
Member states could also accept vaccination certificates for WHO-approved vaccines.
The certificate has been in use since 1 July 2021. It is valid in all 27 EU countries and is also currently recognised by 33 non-EU countries and territories. The certificate is issued by national authorities free of charge. Holding a certificate is not a precondition for exercising the right to free movement and it is not a travel document.
People without a valid EU digital COVID certificate
People without a valid EU digital COVID certificate could be required to take a test prior to travelling or no later than 24 hours after arrival.
Transport workers, patients travelling for imperative medical reasons, seafarers and frequent travellers living in border regions should be exempt from this requirement.
Children under 12 years old should not be required to hold an EU digital COVID certificate. The same rules apply to children between 12 and 18 years old as to adults.