The EU Digital COVID Certificate provides reliable, simple proof that people have been vaccinated against COVID-19. It can be stored on a smartphone via an app. Those who have recovered from a coronavirus infection or who have tested negative for coronavirus can also prove this in the apps.
At a glance
- The Digital COVID Certificate is valid throughout the EU as proof that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Many non-EU countries also recognize the certificate. Always check the current rules prior to traveling.
- The Digital COVID Certificate is a voluntary and complementary service. The yellow certificate of vaccination continues to be valid. This is particularly important for non-EU travel.
- Medical practices, vaccination centers and pharmacies, among other institutions, can issue the certificate.
- The COVID certificate can be stored on a mobile device using the CovPass app or coronavirus warning app.
- The apps can also be used to display proof of recovery from a coronavirus infection or negative test results.
What is the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
The EU COVID Certificate provides digital proof that people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Anyone who wishes to use this on a mobile device requires the CovPass app or the coronavirus warning app, both of which can be downloaded and used free of charge. Anyone who does not have a smartphone or tablet or who does not want to use the app can present the QR code on the hard copy of their COVID certificate.
It is useful to keep a copy of the printed vaccination certificate. This enables you to re-scan the certificate’s QR code if you lose or change your smartphone.
In addition to the COVID-19 vaccinations, the apps can also be used to store proof of a previous coronavirus infection. Previous infections are documented using a PCR test. To this end, you will receive a certificate of recovery. Negative tests can also be stored in the apps as test certificates.
You can also use the apps to manage family members’ COVID Certificates or perform a non-binding check of your certificates’ validity prior to traveling.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate is a voluntary, complementary service. You can decide if you wish to use it. The yellow certificate of vaccination continues to be valid. It is particularly required for travel to non-EU countries.
Important: The EU Digital COVID Certificate should not be confused with the electronic certificate of vaccination. The Digital COVID Certificate only proves you are protected against COVID-19. The electronic certificate of vaccination, on the other hand, is part of the electronic patient record (ePA) and a digital version of the entire yellow certificate of vaccination.
Where can people get the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
All vaccinations are recorded in the yellow certificate of vaccination. You will also receive the EU Digital COVID Certificate. Medical practices, vaccination centers and pharmacies, among other institutions, can issue the certificate.
If you do not receive the COVID certificate immediately, you can have it issued retrospectively, for example at a pharmacy. Your yellow certificate of vaccination and personal identification card or passport are required to this end.
Medical practices and pharmacies can also issue certificates of recovery.
How does mobile usage work?
To save the COVID certificate on a smartphone or tablet, you first need to download and install the CovPass app or the coronavirus warning app. You can then use the app to scan the COVID certificate’s QR code.
How is the data on the EU Digital COVID Certificate stored?
The vaccination is documented in line with current regulations. When the QR code is created, the data recorded is sent to the Robert Koch Institute for signing off and then deleted immediately. This prevents the falsification of certificates.
The data needed for the proof of vaccination is exclusively stored on the specific device: the QR code contains the person’s first name, last name and date of birth as well as information on the vaccination, just as shown in the yellow certificate of vaccination. This includes, for example, the date of vaccination as well as the vaccine used and its batch number.
This data is fully deleted upon removal of the CovPass app or coronavirus warning app.
How is the EU Digital COVID Certificate verified?
To verify the EU Digital COVID Certificate, the QR code is scanned with a special verification app. The certificate can be presented in two ways: in hard copy or as a mobile version.
When the QR code is scanned, the first name, last name, date of birth and vaccination status are displayed. No data is stored. Photographic identification must also be provided.
For how long is the EU Digital COVID Certificate valid?
If there is proof of a booster, the EU Digital COVID Certificate is valid without restriction for everyone.
If there is proof of primary vaccination, the certificate is valid for international travel for 270 days for people aged 18 years or older and for an unlimited period for people under 18. There are currently no restrictions when using the certificate for other purposes within Germany.
Certificates of recovery are valid within Germany for three months.
What should I do if I receive the message “Validity is about to expire”?
For technical reasons, the EU Digital COVID Certificate automatically expires after 365 days. A notification will be provided 28 days before expiry. To continue to have a valid form of proof, you must renew the certificate for your last vaccination or your certificate of recovery. The app can be used to easily trigger the issuance of the new version.
What should people do if their EU Digital COVID Certificate contains errors or is lost?
If you notice an error in your EU Digital COVID Certificate, such as the wrong vaccine or a misspelled name, you can obtain a new QR code from your medical practice or pharmacy if necessary. The same applies if you have lost the hard copy.
For the new certificate to be issued, you will need to present your yellow certificate of vaccination and your identity card or passport.
Is the EU Digital COVID Certificate recognized outside the EU?
There are multiple non-EU countries that recognize the EU Digital COVID Certificate as proof of COVID vaccination and the list is expected to grow. Despite this, if traveling to non-EU countries, people should generally still take their yellow certificate of vaccination with them as an internationally valid document.
A list of the non-EU countries that accept the EU COVID Digital Certificate can be found on the European Commission’s website.
Where can I find further information about the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
Important questions and answers about the EU Digital COVID Certificate can be found at zusammengegencorona.de, a Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit) website.
The recognition of the certificate in other EU member states depends on the regulations in the individual countries. An overall summary of the current COVID measures and travel restrictions can be found on the official EU website.
- Bundesministerium für Gesundheit (BMG). Nachweise. zusammengegencorona.de. Aufgerufen am 18.07.2022.
- Bundesministerium für Gesundheit (BMG). So funktioniert der digitale Impfnachweis. zusammengegencorona.de. Aufgerufen am 20.01.2022.
- Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Apothekerverbände e.V. (ABDA). Kampf gegen Impfpassfälscher: Apotheken können vor Zertifikatserstellung nun Chargen prüfen. Aufgerufen am 20.01.2022.
- Europäische Kommission. Digitales COVID-Zertifikat der EU. Aufgerufen am 26.05.2021.
- European Commission. EU Digital COVID Certificate: Commission adopts binding acceptance period of nine months for vaccination certificates. Aufgerufen am 20.01.2022.
- Robert Koch-Institut (RKI). COVID-Zertifikate der EU digital nachweisen. Aufgerufen am 26.05.2021.
- Robert Koch-Institut (RKI). Häufig gestellte Fragen. digtialer-impfnachweis-app.de/faq. Aufgerufen am 18.07.2022.