THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS HAS APPROVED A NEW REGULATION THAT COMPLETELY CHANGES THE WAY TRAVEL BETWEEN CITIZENS OF THE 27 MEMBER STATES OF THE SCHENGEN AREA IS HANDLED: THE COVID PASSPORT.
On 1 February, new regulations will come into force for travellers from the European Union, including the requirement to have a covid passport.
The main objective is to simplify the applicable rules and give more clarity and predictability to EU citizens wishing to travel within the Schengen area.
In this blog post, we explain what is new in this new agreement between member states and the new way of travelling in the EU.
Covid passport, a prerequisite for travel within the EU
As we have already mentioned, on 1st February, the Covid Passport becomes compulsory to be able to travel, without any restriction, between the countries of the European Union.
But, what is the Covid Passport? The Covid Passport is a document certifying that the traveller has the complete vaccination schedule or, on the contrary, has passed the disease or has a negative PCR or negative antigen test.
How many doses does my Covid Passport need to register to be valid?
It is not enough to have a Covid Passport, but this accreditation document must meet a series of requirements:
- It must be stated that you have a complete vaccination schedule: Valid only one dose in the case of Janssen or if you have had the disease in the last six months. The second dose is only valid if received at least 14 days before the trip, although this second dose is no longer valid if the reminder dose has not been received within the last 270 days (9 months)
- In case of not having the complete vaccination schedule, it is necessary to present a negative PCR performed in the last 72 hours, or an antigen test with a maximum of 24 hours (until now it was 48 hours)
Can I travel if I am not vaccinated?
We have mentioned that one of the essential requirements for travel is to have a Covid Passport, although this requirement is only to avoid having to comply with the restrictions imposed by the country of destination.
For those who are not vaccinated or who do not have a full vaccination schedule, they may travel throughout the Schengen area, although under different requirements:
- A negative PCR test performed within the last 72 hours or a negative antigen test performed within the last 24 hours. Until now, antigen tests performed within 48 hours have been accepted
Are there people who are exempt from not having a Covid Passport?
The Council of Ministers has stated that there will be certain persons who will be exempt from not presenting the Covid Passport.
These are travellers with an essential function or need, cross-border travellers and children under 12 years of age.
Recall that, for countries, it is a recommendation and not a requirement
Although EU general affairs ministers have given the go-ahead to the changes, which will come into force on 1 February, they are only a recommendation and not a binding rule for national authorities.
Member states have the competence to control their borders, so governments can decide not to follow the guidelines even though they have been agreed by consensus among the 27 countries.
That said, there are already countries such as France, Italy, Portugal, Germany or the Netherlands that are imposing additional restrictions on travellers with an EU Covid Passport travelling to their territory, such as requiring a negative test.
If you would like more information on how to obtain your Covid Passport or if you have any doubts about the country you are travelling to, our advisors specialised in internationalisation will be happy to analyse your situation in a personalised way.
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