The European Green Pass is in force: everything you need to know

July 1st, 2021, the European Green Pass launched: this is how it works and where it is valid.

The European Green Pass officially entered into force on Thursday 1 July 2021, thus allowing its holders to return to travel freely throughout the EU. For the moment, the certificate goes alongside the Italian Green Pass, which is valid only within national borders. Let’s try to clarify the requirements for obtaining the document and how to use it.


EU Green Pass, what it is and what it is for

The EU digital Covid certificate is a document adopted to facilitate the safe free movement of citizens within the borders of the European Union during the pandemic. Thanks to the Green Pass, which is accepted in all Member States starting from 1 July 2021, travelers are exempt from any travel restrictions (such as quarantine) throughout Europe.

Specifically, this certificate guarantees that its holder is immunized against Covid following vaccination, has tested negative for the swab or has already recovered from the infection. Countries that accept it cannot impose any restrictions on travelers who are in possession of it, unless there are concrete dangers to public health – in which case, however, the State in question must inform the Commission and all other States members to justify their decision. EU Green Pass, the requirements to obtain it

To obtain the European Green Pass, one of the three essential requirements must be met :

  • be vaccinated against Covid;
  • be negative for the molecular or antigenic swab;
  • be cured of the infection.

For vaccinated people, the certificate is valid from 14 days after the second dose (in the case of single-dose vaccine, the validity starts from the 14th day after inoculation). Furthermore, only vaccines authorized by the EMA are accepted. However, each individual State can decide whether to recognize other vaccines and whether to issue the Pass after the first dose – which in this case will only have value within the national borders of that country.

The Green Pass can also be obtained, in case of non-vaccination, by submitting to the swab . For the molecular test (also called pcr test) the validity is 72 hours from the moment of its execution, while the antigen test is valid only for 48 hours . Furthermore, this last buffer may not be accepted by all states – it is a decision left to individual countries. Do-it-yourself swabs are not valid .

Finally, it is possible to request the certificate upon attested recovery from Covid-19 : it is possible to request it starting from the 11th day after the positive swab, that is, when the period of contagiousness has ended, and it is valid for the following 180 days.

EU Green Pass, how to request it

If in possession of the requirements we have just talked about, travelers can apply for the European Green Pass . Deputies to issue this certificate are the national authorities, who can decide independently how to issue the document – as long as they make it available to citizens the possibility of having it digitally. In Italy, the Pass is issued only through the national platform of the Ministry of Health , and can be requested in both digital and paper form.

And the Italian Green Pass ? Many citizens already have it, because it is used to move freely throughout the national territory without the limitations provided by the Regions belonging to the red and orange zone. There is currently a period of 6 weeks for this certificate to be made compatible with the new EU model.

EU Green Pass, how it is done

The European Green Pass is a digital certificate (which can also be obtained on paper) with a QR code and a digital signature to guarantee its authenticity and prevent it from being falsified. The document is free and is written in the national language and in English, and is also valid in all European Union countries.

All the organizations authorized to issue the Green Pass have their own digital signature , which flows into a protected national database. The EU has created the Gateway, an IT platform that allows the verification of all digital signatures at European level – the personal data of the certificate holder do not flow into it, since they are not necessary to certify the validity of the digital signature.

EU Green Pass, what information it contains

There are many questions regarding the security and privacy of the information contained in the EU Green Pass . The certificate contains some fundamental personal data such as the name and surname, the date of birth, the date of issue of the document, the unique identification code and all information relating to the vaccine, swab or recovery.

In particular, in the case of a Pass obtained following vaccination , the type and manufacturer of the vaccine, the number of doses received and the date of administration are indicated. For the certificate obtained upon execution of a swab , the basic data are the type of test, the date and time of the execution, the place and the result. Finally, in the event of recovery from Covid, the document contains the date of positive outcome of the test and its period of validity.

All personal information contained in the Pass is not retained by the authorities when the QR is scanned to verify its validity. Indeed, Member States are not authorized to store travelers’ personal data , but only to guarantee the authenticity of the digital signature.

EU Green Pass, the countries in which it is valid

The EU Green Pass entered into force on 1 July 2021, however a transitional period is envisaged to allow all countries to adapt to the model envisaged by the European Union. This period will end on 12 August 2021, the date on which all states must be ready to connect to the European Gateway.

The certificate is valid in all European countries , although some (at the time of entry into force of the document) are not yet able to issue it to its citizens. The states in question are Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania and Sweden. The EU Green Pass is also valid in some non-European countries : Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City (however, it is not yet active in the latter three countries).

EU Green Pass for children

Another knot still to be solved concerns the adoption of the certificate for minors under 18 . According to current guidelines, children under 2 years of age can also travel without a Green Pass. The problem obviously does not concern those who have recovered from the infection and those who have been vaccinated: in this regard, the EMA has given the green light to the use of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine also to children between 12 and 15 years old.

In the age group between 2 and 6 years, children must have the Pass to travel, but are exempt from carrying the tampon. From the age of 6, on the other hand, in order to obtain the certificate, they must undergo tests.

July 1st, 2021 Source: