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12 EU countries roll out Digital Green Pass. IATA’s Travel Pass being tested by global airlines

By Tanya Lara Published Jun 14, 2021 5:12 pm

From nine countries last week to 12 this week.

Twelve EU-member countries are now using the bloc’s digital COVID certificate a.k.a. the Digital Green Pass. It’s up to individual countries whether they would extend the use of the digital pass beyond their citizens or to non-EU visitors.

The 12 countries that have rolled out their Digital Green Pass ahead of the bloc’s July 1 reopening for the summer season are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Spain.

The Green Pass stores a QR code for verification, which border authorities and staff of venues such as clubs or stadiums can use to check against digital signatures stored securely in Luxembourg servers. 

Only COVID-related data is stored to prevent identity theft. EU lawmakers have agreed that for proof of vaccination, only brands authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) would be accepted in all EU countries. These are vaccines made by BioNTech/Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn, Estonia.

However, individual countries can also decide to accept—only within their borders—other vaccines like those produced by China or Russia. Spain, for example, is accepting tourists vaccinated with those approved by the World Health Organization, which include China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Another 12 EU-member states and 4 non-EU countries that are part of the Schengen Area are ready to launch the Green Pass app. These are Belgium, Cyprus, France, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Currently in testing phase are Finland, Hungary and Malta.

IATA Travel Pass

IATA’s mobile app will roll out first in the Middle East.

There is not a single vaccine pass accepted universally.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced June 10 that its own digital travel pass will be rolled out in the Middle East in the coming weeks. Like the EU pass, IATA’s mobile app will store proof of passengers’ vaccination, COVID testing that can be shared between airlines.

IATA said, “IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that helps travelers to store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines. It is more secure and efficient than current paper processes used to manage health requirements (the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, for example). This is important given the potentially enormous scale of testing or vaccine verifications that will need to be securely managed.”

Hallstatt Heritage Village, Austria

Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines are among global airlines that have been testing the app since January 2021.

Passengers can download the IATA travel pass on  Apple Store and Google Play but travelers will not be able to use it “unless their airline is part of a trial. If your airline is participating in one of these trials, they can provide you with instructions on how to use IATA Travel Pass.”

PH Green Pass

In May, the Department of Tourism (DOT) proposed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) setting up a Green Lane that will facilitate the entry of foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of the national government’s effort to reopen the economy.

According to the DOT, this will make it easier for fully vaccinated travelers to visit the country for leisure as quarantine rules are being relaxed with the progress of the vaccination worldwide.

“We must keep pace with our neighbors and the rest of the world in slowly reopening our tourist destinations. We must be ready for the visitors when the whole world is ready to safely travel again,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat