Digital vaccine certificates for European travel 'ready in June at latest'

31 March 2021, 11:19

The EU will allow people to travel with fewer restrictions after it brings in digital vaccine passports by June.
The EU will allow people to travel with fewer restrictions after it brings in digital vaccine passports by June. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Europeans should be allowed to travel this summer with the introduction of digital Covid certificates by June at the latest, according to Spain’s foreign minister.

The pass is designed to allow EU citizens to get around the bloc with fewer restrictions and demonstrate if the bearer has had a vaccine or tested negative for Covid.

The development keeps hopes of summer holidays alive – while travel from third countries like the UK will be allowed based on how safe they are.

Travel outside the UK without a reasonable excuse is also illegal, so while the EU prepares its internal tourism, it is still unknown whether Brits will get the chance to head to the Costa del Sol.

Read more: What rules will Brits face in European summer destinations?

Spanish foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said "if all goes well, we will have a vaccination certificate in June at the latest", Sky News reports.

"If it can be in mid-May, better but not later than June," she said.

The digital certificates will prove users have either had a vaccine, tested negative recently or recovered from Covid-19.

They will be available digitally or on paper, be free of charge and valid across all EU member states.

Read more: SAGE professor reluctant to go on holiday abroad before 2023

Users should become exempt from restrictions imposed on free movement "in the same way as citizens from the visited member state", the European Commission said.

For now, it is illegal to travel from England without a permitted reason.

Brits will have to wait to see if they can travel abroad legally later this year.
Brits will have to wait to see if they can travel abroad legally later this year. Picture: PA

Boris Johnson said he can see foreign holidays being popular and pledged to make more announcements about travel next month, when speaking during his appearance at Parliament’s Liaison Committee.

"As soon as people feel it is safe, you will see a miraculous change in the mood and what happens. That is what this is all about," he said.

"We're getting there step by step, jab by jab - we're not there yet but I'll be saying more on April 5 and then on April 12, and we will do what we can."