Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland—all members of the European Union—have officially implemented a new digital COVID-19 certificate system that will greatly ease travel within the region.
This new system, which relies on a document known as a digital green certificate, tracks whether travelers have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered from a previous infection, or tested negative for the virus within the previous 72 hours. Travelers that meet those parameters will be exempt from measures such as quarantine and testing upon arrival.
The aforementioned countries made the digital green certificate available to their citizens on Tuesday, which happens to be well ahead of schedule, as the remaining 20 member nations of the European Union are not expected to do so until July 1.
According to the European Commission, the Union’s administrative branch, the system’s data is not retained anywhere—a move that is intended to reduce concerns about privacy.
The ultimate goal is for everybody living inside the European Union to receive a digital green certificate, and for visitors to the region to receive one upon arrival. The major hurdle with respect to meeting that goal is that not all countries provide their citizens with secure vaccination documents.
In terms the United States, the European Commission is reportedly in talks with officials to lock down a way of verifying the vaccination status of Americans. Once that’s been sorted, that trip to Europe you’ve been daydreaming about will likely be much closer to reality.