New EU travel restrictions make certificates valid for a maximum of 9 months after a second dose of a vaccination (or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination).
The European Union launched its EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) for all member states in summer 2021. New EU travel restrictions, starting Feb. 1, now make certificates valid for only up to 9 months after the second vaccination dose is received, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccinations is received.
This update can have a significant effect on business Travelers who move through, in and out of the EU on a regular basis. Here’s everything you need to know about this change to EU travel restrictions, including details on the timing and how it might impact business Travelers.
Why is This EU Travel Restrictions Change Being Made?
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, better known as the ECDC, protection against COVID-19 via vaccination “appears to be waning over time.” This new 9-month expiration on EUDCCs is designed to keep Travelers from moving through the EU when they are less protected from COVID-19.
The 9-month expiration can be indefinitely extended when a certificate holder gets a booster shot. Currently, there is no expiration on certificates for Travelers who have received a booster shot because there are limited data available on the efficacy of COVID-19 boosters. However, this may change in the future as the medical community learns more about the efficacy of booster shots.
When Does This Change Go Into Effect?
This change goes into effect for all EU member states on Feb. 1, 2022. That said, some countries have already started enforcing this change. All Travelers should review country-specific requirements before leaving on trips to the EU or countries participating in the certificate program. Because if Travelers do not meet the requirements of their destination countries, they will be treated as “non-vaccinated” persons.
What Nations are Participating in the Certificate Program?
A total of 33 countries and territories have created and launched COVID certificate programs recognized by the EU. Those 33 countries and territories are:
- Cabo Verde
- El Salvador
- Faroe Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom (plus Crown Dependencies: Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man)
- The Vatican
Again, be sure to check country-specific requirements while planning travel. At JTB Business Travel, we have partnerships in place with technology providers like Sherpa that can help provide real-time information on your destination and its requirements as you plan travel.
Can Eligible Americans Get a Certificate?
EUDCCs are available to non-EU countries with a similar and acceptable certificate program. For example, the United Kingdom is not part of the EU, but it has created the NHS COVID Pass, a UK-specific certificate program accepted by EU nations.
The United States does not have a certificate in place right now. That does not necessarily mean that Americans cannot travel to EU nations. Again, please check for country-specific requirements as you plan travel to the EU and other countries with certificate programs.
Have questions about planning international travel? The JTB Business Travel team is always here to help you create streamlined and productive itineraries. Contact us today to learn more about what JTB Business Travel can do for you and your business.