Recent news on the 27th of September suggests that the UK travel industry is very close to joining the scheme for the EU vaccine passport. This is great news for the industry and all the British travellers looking forward to a holiday in Europe in the near future, with the scheme holding the potential to make travel for those holiday-makers simpler, more efficient, and cheaper.
On the 25th of September news from the EU clarified that they are in the stages of integrating the UK vaccine database with the EU database, an important step towards the start of this process. For travellers, this would mean using the Digital Covid Certificate that the EU provides in all 40 countries that are presently accepting this. This includes all 27 EU states and many more, now becoming one of the most widely used vaccination passports in the world.
The spokesman for the European Commission said, “significant progress was made on a technical front, namely when it comes to the connection to the gateway, with aim of going live [testing] soon.”
Travel to popular destinations like France, Portugal, and The Netherlands would then be cheaper since, currently, all non-EU residents must take tests whether they are vaccinated or not. This is the same for a fair few countries that accept the EU Vaccine Passport, and you can check out the specific destination entry requirements on the foreign travel advice page to see how this will affect your destination.
As a joint effort, The UK Foreign Office and Office of Health and Social Care formally applied to the EU scheme on the 28th of July and the technical work has been going on since then, to reach the great progress we’re seeing now.
“We have applied to link into the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate scheme,” a Foreign Office spokesman said. “Linking up to the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate scheme will enable us to digitally verify each other’s Covid certificates to make journeys easier.”
This passport will be used on all external EU borders as a scan and verify procedure, basically allowing the database to be checked for a valid vaccination status. This is also used domestically in some European countries and is something that could lead to domestic vaccine passports within the UK if necessary.
All it takes is the border guard, alongside restaurant, bar, and nightclub owners, downloading an app that can scan the QR code on the traveller’s vaccine passport and it will consult the database. A valid vaccine status or negative test result will be allowed to pass with ease. This should shorten waiting time greatly for travellers entering their destination if the destination is part of the scheme.
The amount this will take down prices is also a great piece of news for travellers. Though the entry requirements vary from destination to destination, there are situations like Portugal that this will have a great impact on. In Portugal, double vaccinated British holidaymakers are required to purchase a lateral flow test pre-departure, these coming in at around £20-£40 each time. But this requirement is simply because the current vaccine passport that UK travellers use is not recognised in Portugal. With the change to the EU vaccine passport scheme, these tests will no longer be necessary for entry.
This is some exciting news that’s been long coming and on top of the changes in testing costs and testing requirements in the UK, this has the potential to make travel in 2022 even more accessible and affordable to UK travellers.
So, keep an eye out for further progress and when you’re ready to book your next holiday, don’t forget to get in contact with a trusted PTS member. Or, if you’d like assistance choosing one of our lovely members to book with, you can contact PTS directly at 0207 190 9988.