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Where can you travel to using your Danish coronapas app?

Fourteen EU countries are now using national versions of the EU Digital Covid Certificate. But can you use your coronapas to travel ahead of the official launch on July 1st?

Where can you travel to using your Danish coronapas app?
The 'Coronapas' app is pictured on a mobile phone display on May 28, 2021 in Copenhagen. Photo: Signe Goldmann / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP

Denmark was the leader of the pack with its coronapas app, but 13 other EU countries have now launched their versions of the EU Digital Covid Certificate: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Spain. 

Iceland also has a version of the app up and running. 

The idea is for the common EU system to launch on July 1st, from which point all countries in the EU and Schengen bloc will accept each other’s apps, using QR codes to make showing test, vaccination and immunity at the border easy and convenient. 

Christian Wigand, a spokesperson for the European Commission, said that he believed some countries would already be accepting other countries’ versions of the app as proof of a vaccination, negative test, or immunity. 

“The regulation on the certificate will only be applicable (=be binding) as of 1 July, so in practice, many Member States will use/accept national certificates (or the yellow WHO vaccination pass) for now as well,” he said. “For those who are issuing, as far as I am aware they also are able to read/verify.”

The European Commission on Tuesday launched a new website and app, Reopen EU, which will provide “real-time information on borders and available means of transport and tourism services in Member States”. 

According to the website, all of the EU countries where the Digital Covid Certificate is up and running, are now connected to the “gateway”, the EU’s common system (See a screen grab from the Austria page below). 

However, right now, it would be a brave traveller who tried to use their national app to prove their test result, vaccination status or immunity even when entering these countries, as it seems unclear whether many of them accept EU Digital Covid certificates other than their own. 

Can you use a foreign EU Digital Covid Certificate to enter Denmark? 

When The Local rang up the Danish police’s Coronavirus travel hotline, the advisor checked with her superiors and advised those travelling from the 11 countries up above not to try to use their EU Digital Covid Certificate’s to enter Denmark. 

Other the 11 countries, Germany, Austria, Poland, Czechia, and Bulgaria, and parts of Croatia, Greece and Spain are classed as “yellow” by Denmark, meaning travellers from these places do not need proof of a negative Covid-19 test to enter Denmark anyway. 

But the advisor said that travellers coming from the other six countries should print out their negative Covid-19 test of proof of vaccination.

“We don’t know,” she admitted. “But we don’t think that we accept QR codes from countries other than our own. We would not recommend that people bring a [digital certificate] with a QR code these days, we would recommend that people print out a certificate with their birth date, vaccination dates, and their names” 

Can you use a Danish coronapas to travel to the 11 countries with EU Digital Covid Certificates up and running? 

According to the website of the German Health Ministry, proof of vaccination can be in either physical or digital form, in German, English, French, Italian or Spanish, which would appear to include the coronapas.

The website did not give any details on whether test results or evidence of immunity can be supplied in digital form, however. As Denmark is classified as a “simple risk zone”, travellers from Denmark do not currently have to fill in a Digital Registration Form before entry. 

According to Spain’s website for tourists and travellers, an EU Digital Covid Certificate is accepted as proof of negative Covid-19 status, vaccination, or immunity, but travellers also need to obtain a Spanish QR code by uploading documents to the Spanish website or app. 

As Denmark is currently considered a risk area by Spain, you need to show your coronapas or printed out documents on arrival at the airport.   

According to Greece’s government, Greece is ready to use the Digital Covid Certificate. “Greece is already ready and in the meantime will be able to apply the certificate in cooperation with all European countries also ready,” reads a Q&A on the government website, so it seems like the coronapas should work. 

According to Austria’s government, the country accepts “a pdf from an electronic vaccine passport, either on your phone or as a hard copy” for proof of a negative test, vaccination, or past infection, which would appear to include Denmark’s coronapas. 

Croatia’s government travel website specifies that, “when entering the Republic of Croatia, passengers can also show their EU Digital Covid Certificate”. 

Ursula Joala, adviser on E-services Development and Innovation Policy at Estonia’s Ministry of Social Affairs said that other country’s EU Digital Covid Certificates were already being accepted at Estonian border controls. 

“The verification of the EU digital COVID certificates can be done from mobile devices as well as from paper certificates,” she said. “In Estonia we are moving towards a paperless society to reduce waste and to promote a green way of life. We would recommend all travellers to ensure they have a backup plan in place for if their phone battery dies.” 

Estonia’s digital certificate is in the form of a website rather than a phone app

A travel advisor for the government of Czechia was unsure whether an EU Digital Covid Certificate such as the coronapas would be valid and advised bringing a paper version of the negative test certificate. Travellers from Denmark also need a “worthy reason” and to fill in a pre-travel form. 

There is no information on the website of the Polish border guards on whether the EU Digital Covid Certificate is accepted from countries other than Poland, or on that of the government of Bulgaria. 

The Local is currently waiting for more information from the European Commission and the Danish foreign ministry, so this information should be updated later today.

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TRAVEL NEWS

‘A game changer’: Airlines demand EU explain new border system for non-EU travellers

Industry associations representing airlines have called on European authorities to plan a “public communications campaign” to alert non-EU nationals about new requirements to enter and exit the Schengen area.

'A game changer': Airlines demand EU explain new border system for non-EU travellers

The EU Entry/Exit System (EES) will record the biometric data (finger prints and facial recognition) of non-EU citizens travelling for short stays to the Schengen area (EU countries minus Ireland, Romania and Bulgaria, plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), each time they cross the external borders.

Fully digital, the system will enable the automatic scanning of passports replacing manual stamping by border guards. The data collected will be kept in a centralised database shared among the Schengen countries.

The EES was created to tighten up border security and will ensure the enforcement of the 90-day limit in any 180-day period for tourists and visitors. But it requires changes in the infrastructure at the external borders, including airports, and the setting up of a new digital infrastructure to connect authorities in participating countries.

Its entry into operation has already been delayed several times. The latest date for the EES launch was May this year, but last week European authorities decided to postpone it again “due to delays from the contractors”. It is now expected to enter into force at the end of 2023, as The Local reported this week.

Airline associations including European region of Airports Council International (ACI), Airlines for Europe (A4E), the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the delay and said further preparations are needed.

“The EES will be a game changer for how the EU’s borders are managed. There are, however, a number of issues which must be resolved to ensure a smooth roll out and operation of the new system so that air passengers do not face disruptions,” a joint statement says.

Things to be resolved include a “wider adoption and effective implementation of automation at national border crossing points by national authorities, funding by member states to ensure a sufficient number of trained staff and resources are deployed to manage the EU’s external border, particularly at airports,” and the “deployment of sufficient resources” to help airports and airlines with new procedures.

Airlines also said there needs to be a public communications campaign to inform non-EU citizens about the changes.

In addition, industry groups called on EU-LISA, the agency responsible for managing the system, to “strengthen communication” with airlines and with international partners such as the US “to ensure IT systems are connected and compatible.”

The decision to postpone the EES entry into operation until after the summer “will give airlines, airports and EU and national authorities the opportunity to resolve these issues and ensure the system is fully tested,” the statement continues.

The EU-LISA is currently preparing a revised timeline for the launch, which will be presented for approval at the Justice and Home Affairs Council, the meeting of responsible EU ministers, in March 2023.

This article was prepared in cooperation with Europe Street News.

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