'CoronaCheck' is used in many places in the Netherlands. For example, in cafes, restaurants, and the cinema. As a Dutch resident, you can get a QR code based on your vaccination information. But the app leaves foreigners, like students and tourists from non-EU countries, out of the equation.
This article investigates how tourists and students from outside the EU can get access to public places in Europe. A few questions we'll explore are; is it possible to get access without a Digital Corona Certificate (DCC)? Are paper vaccination documents valid?
Strict rules for access to restaurants and entertainment venues apply not only in the Netherlands but also throughout Europe. Let's have a look at the 27 EU countries and if (and how) they've regulated non-EU citizens like tourists and students to get access to venues.
People from non-EU countries without Dutch residency cannot obtain a Digital Corona Certificate based on their vaccination.
Tourists or students from non-EU countries can only use the CoronaCheck app if the country is part of the EU digital COVID certificate system. So far, there are only 30 non-EU countries on this list.
That leaves a large group of nationalities that cannot upload their vaccination and must test every time before visiting a museum or dining in a restaurant.
According to the KHN (Horeca Nederland), a solution will soon be introduced for tourists who stay in the Netherlands for less than 2 weeks. We have not yet seen these new regulations confirmed.
In the Netherlands, a QR code is required at bars and restaurants. International students from non-EU countries cannot enter with their paper vaccination documents. There is currently no solution for this.
Non-EU tourists in Belgium who have been vaccinated in a country outside the EU can apply for the so-called Covid Safe Ticket (CVT). This is available to people over 11 years of age outside the EU who have been vaccinated with a vaccine approved by Belgium. On this Belgian government website, you have to fill in your details, details about your vaccine, where you got the vaccine, what language your vaccination document is in, and more information. Based on the information entered, you can get a CVT. The Belgian CVT will be valid for one month in Belgium. Please note that you can only use this code within Belgium; it does not work in other European countries. You can then use the CovidSafeBE app to access events or other occasions where a QR code is required.
Since October 19, the so-called COVID-19 "Green certificate" applies in Bulgaria to access restaurants, events, concerts, etc. However, it is unclear whether vaccinated tourists or students with vaccination from outside the EU can obtain this certificate.
In Cyprus, a digital covid certificate is required for specific occasions. For example, in entertainment centers and parties. Only fully vaccinated persons who can also submit a negative antigen rapid test can participate. Travelers must also take a PCR test at their own expense upon arrival in Cyprus. However, whether a paper vaccination from a non-EU country is valid to use as access is not clear.
Tourists need a corona pass to go to restaurants or museums in Denmark. Non-EU-vaccinated people cannot get this pass. People who have been vaccinated in Denmark (e.g., visitors who have family in the country) cannot get a corona pass. For the Danish corona pass, you need a CPR (Danish identity number). Although non-EU vaccinated people cannot use the official Danish corona pass, the Danish government has promised that this group of people can use documentation of the vaccine instead of the corona pass.
The website of the German government states that non-EU travelers must always have their vaccination papers with them. In Germany, the 2G rule now applies to restaurants, among other things. Theoretically, fully vaccinated non-EU tourists who have been vaccinated with an approved vaccine would be allowed access with their paper proof.
In Estonia, the so-called Estonia COVID pass app is used. In addition to their residents, this pass is only available to people with an EU digital COVID Vaccination Certificate (Recovery or Negative test also possible). A vaccination received in a non-EU country cannot be converted as a COVID-19 pass to be used in Estonia.
Finland has restricted entry for many non-EU countries. Furthermore, a corona certificate is requested at many public places such as restaurants and museums. Finland uses a COVID certificate reader app. It is unclear whether one can also gain entry with a paper vaccination certificate. This may be possible for hospitality, but perhaps not for large-scale events. According to the Finnish government site, organizers can decide whether they require visitors' COVID passports.
France is one of the few EU countries with its affairs in order for non-EU visitors such as students and tourists. These groups can get a QR code online, valid as a COVID certificate in France. Students can go to this link to request their certificate. Non-EU tourists must bring their vaccination certificates to a pharmacy in France. Then they will receive their valid code. You can find a list of pharmacies here.
In Greece, a COVID pass is used in many public places, such as restaurants and cafes. Non-EU visitors to Greece report problems on internet forums. Some restaurants do not accept paper vaccination certificates. The digital covid-19 certificate would also not work correctly for people with a non-EU vaccination. People from the United States and Canada have been turned away from stores and restaurants. Although Greece has a corona pass system, it works anything but smoothly.
Non-EU visitors to Hungary can get a paper certificate at Hungarian government offices (kormányablakokban). The vaccination is then converted to an EU digital COVID vaccination certificate. You can then download and print this in PDF. This paper contains a QR code that you can use for events or restaurants.
The Irish DCC is only given to people of Irish nationality who, for example, have been vaccinated in a country outside the EU. However, no mention is made of how visitors such as students or tourists must prove their vaccination if they want to go to museums or restaurants.
In Italy, the Green Pass is used, which is only usable for EU citizens. If you are visiting Italy as a tourist from Canada or the United States and have been vaccinated there, you must show your paper proof at restaurants or events. The Italian government site warns that not all restaurants will accept the paper version of the corona proof.
Croatia uses the E-citizen portal for corona certificates. In principle, this is only accessible to people from EU countries. It is not clear whether people with a corona certificate from a non-EU country can access museums and public places.
International students (non-EU) studying in Latvia have difficulty getting a valid COVID-19 certificate to participate in society. Latvia does not yet recognize any certifications non-EU citizens have received in their country of origin. Some students, therefore, choose to get vaccinated once again in Latvia, all to obtain a valid entrance ticket.
Latvian citizens who have been vaccinated outside the EU with an EU-recognized vaccine should contact the National Health Service.
In Lithuania, the so-called 'Opportunity pass' is used for access. You need a Lithuanian certificate for this. The government site does not clarify the situation of non-EU visitors and whether or not they can receive an access pass.
The European corona certificate is used in Malta. It is not clear whether people who have been vaccinated in a non-EU country can also gain access with their paper documents.
From November 1, 2021, restaurants and hotels will only be open to vaccinated people. Tourists with a vaccination from outside the EU cannot receive a digital Austrian Grüner Pass. However, the government says it approves paper vaccination certificates. The vaccination must be recognized by the WHO and written in English or German.
Poland has not made clear how visitors with a non-EU vaccination are received. Therefore, it is not clear whether you can participate in public life as a tourist in Poland with a paper vaccination certificate.
In Portugal, you can apply for a digital COVID-19 pass online. However, this is only available to people living in Portugal. People without an EU digital COVID certificate can travel to Portugal. However, they may need to do a COVID-19 test for entry to access certain events. It is not clear whether showing paper proof of vaccination will be accepted.
Strict entry rules and quarantine apply to travelers from many non-EU countries. A corona certificate is requested at restaurants and other places. It is not clear whether vaccinations from non-EU countries are also accepted. In principle, only the European system is used.
Non-EU tourists in Slovenia must be either vaccinated, recovered, or tested. It is not clear how this rule is implemented. People from Slovenia can use the so-called Digital Green Certificate as an entrance ticket.
Slovakia uses the European corona certificate, but it is not accessible for use by non-EU travelers. Fortunately, Slovakia has launched a digital covid certificate. This also allows travelers from non-EU countries to gain access to events and entertainment venues in the country.
Spain uses the European digital corona certificate. Most non-EU vaccinations cannot be converted to the European system. The pass is required to access nightclubs, bars, and concerts, among other things. The only option, for now, is to gain access with an Antigen Rapid Test. Vaccination proof from a non-EU country is, therefore, at some locations, not valid to gain access.
From November 22, 2021, only vaccinated and recovered persons in the Czech Republic will be allowed access to restaurants and tourist accommodations under certain conditions.
In addition to the EU COVID digital certificate, the following vaccination certificates are also valid:
A vaccination certificate must be presented at major events of more than 500 participants in Sweden. It has not been made clear whether visitors with a non-EU vaccination may show their paper proof of vaccination.
Visitors in Europe with a vaccination certificate from a non-EU country run into many issues. In some places, like Greece, they're declined access to restaurants or stores. Students in certain countries have to get 'double vaccinated' to access venues. To date, France is one of the few European countries with transparent regulation about how non-EU citizens can get a digital covid certificate for access. Both tourists and students can easily retrieve a valid QR code for access in France. Now we're waiting for the rest of Europe to catch up.