What is a Digital COVID Certificate?

An EU Digital COVID Certificate allows you to travel freely in participating countries and dine indoors during the pandemic.
Written by
Illustration of people wearing masks waiting in an airport with suitcases

If you have recovered from COVID-19, been fully vaccinated against the virus, or recently received a negative test result, you can receive an EU Digital COVID Certificate. 

This certificate will allow you to travel freely to all countries within the European Union (EU), as well as to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway. Other countries may be added to the list in the future.

You can also use the Digital COVID Certificate to dine indoors at bars, cafes and restaurants.

What is a Digital COVID Certificate?

The Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) was introduced to help people to travel freely and safely in Europe during the pandemic. You can receive a DCC if at least one of the following applies to you:

  • You have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19
  • You have received a negative test result no more than 72 hours before arrival
  • You have recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months

The Digital COVID Certificate will be sent to you by email or by post, and is free of charge.

What information is on the Digital COVID Certificate?

The DCC will contain the following information about you:

  • Your name
  • Your date of birth
  • The date the certificate was issued to you
  • Information about your vaccination, COVID test, or recovery 
  • A unique identifier number

Each DCC comes with a QR code to prevent fake certificates from being made.

How can I store the Digital COVID Certificate?

The DCC can be stored on your COVID Tracker App. This can make it easier for you to carry your certificate with you. To store your DCC on your device, you can follow these steps:

  • Update your free COVID Tracker App to the latest version, or download it if you do not have it already
  • Scan the QR code on the certificate

Your certificate will be stored on your phone only. It will not be shared with anyone.

What does the Digital COVID Certificate allow me to do?

A DCC will allow you to travel freely within the EU and dine indoors at cafes, bars and restaurants in Ireland.

Travelling abroad

If you have a DCC, you will be allowed to travel within the EU and to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway without the need for quarantine. It is important to remember that you will still need to follow the restrictions that are in place in the country you are travelling to and from. You can get up to date information about the travel restrictions in place on the ReOpen EU website.

Indoor dining

Indoor service in bars, cafes and restaurants reopened on July 26th for fully vaccinated people. To eat or drink indoors, you must show proof that you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. Your EU COVID Digital Certificate (DCC) or a HSE vaccination record can be used as proof of vaccination or recovery.

You also need to have photo identification (such as a passport or driver’s licence) to show that the proof of vaccination or recovery belongs to you.

If you are visiting Ireland from another country and do not have a DCC or HSE vaccination record, you can use an official vaccination record issued by the country where you were vaccinated or tested for COVID-19.

Your proof of vaccination/ recovery and identification will be checked at the door of the restaurant, bar or cafe. If you do not have proof of vaccination or recovery, the bar, restaurant or cafe can refuse admission.

If you are under 18, you do not need proof of vaccination or recovery to dine indoors provided you are there with a fully vaccinated or recovered person.

Read more about the current COVID restrictions in Ireland.

Other uses of the DCC

While the DCC is mainly to be used for travel, individual countries can decide to use it for other purposes too. 

How do I get a Digital Travel Certificate?

How you receive your DCC will depend on the reason that you are receiving it. 

If you have been fully vaccinated

Once you have been fully vaccinated (which means receiving one shot of the Janssen vaccine, or both shots of the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines), you should automatically receive your certificate within several days. You will receive the certificate by email, if the HSE has your email address. Make sure to check your spam folder if you do not find it in your inbox. Otherwise, you will receive it by post. 

If you received your vaccine from a GP or pharmacy, you are likely to get your DCC in the post.

If you have been vaccinated and do not receive your DCC in a few weeks, you can call the COVID Cert helpline on 1800 851 504 or 1800 807 008.

Although you may receive your DCC shortly after you have been vaccinated, it’s important to remember that there is a waiting period for the vaccine to be fully effective. If you plan to travel or do other activities after being vaccinated, you will need to continue to take extra precautions while waiting for the vaccine to become fully effective. The waiting period is:

  • 14 days after the Janssen vaccine
  • 15 days after the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine
  • 7 days after the second dose of the Pfizer Vaccine
  • 14 days after the second dose of the Moderna vaccine

Even if you receive your certificate before this time is up, you may not be fully protected until the waiting time has passed.

If you have recovered from COVID-19

If you had COVID-19 within the last six months and have recovered from the virus, you will be able to get a DCC. You must have tested positive within the last six months and the certificate can be issued no earlier than 11 days after the first positive test. To request this certificate, you can call 1800 851 504 or 1800 807 008.

If you have received a negative PCR test

If you plan to travel, but you have not been vaccinated, you will need to get a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travelling. If you receive a negative PCR test within 72 hours of travelling, you can receive a Digital COVID Certificate.

You will need to arrange your own test for travel through a private testing facility.

If you have received a negative antigen test

If you receive a negative antigen test, you are able to request a certificate. Some countries will accept this certificate if the test is taken up to 48 hours before travelling. You can check ReOpen EU to see if it is accepted in the country you are travelling to.

It is important to be aware that a DCC based on a negative antigen test will not be accepted for entry into Ireland. You need to keep this in mind if you are making a return trip. If you plan to travel to another country that does accept this form of DCC, you will need to have a PCR test no more than 72 hours before you return to Ireland.

Can I travel without a Digital COVID Certificate?

It is still possible to travel without a DCC if you satisfy certain conditions.

If you wish to travel without a DCC or if you have a DCC that won’t be accepted in your destination country (for example, because antigen tests are not accepted everywhere), you will need proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.

Can I travel outside of Europe?

If you wish to travel outside of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway, you should check the current rules and restrictions in the country you are travelling to. It is possible that you will need to show proof of a vaccine, proof of a negative test result, or quarantine on arrival. 

It is also important to find out what you will need to do when you return to Ireland. 

If you arrive in Ireland from outside the EU and you have proof of vaccination, you will not need to do any quarantine or testing. However, if you do not have proof of vaccination, you will need to show proof of a negative PCR test result within 72 hours before your arrival, self-quarantine or undergo post-arrival testing.

Read more about the current COVID travel restrictions.

COVID-19 variants

Keep in mind that, due to the emergence of new variants of the virus and the rise in cases in some countries, the rules might change during your time abroad. An ‘emergency brake’ system will be quickly applied to countries where a variant of concern or interest arises. This means the use of the Digital COVID Certificate can be paused. This will be coordinated at the EU level and will allow governments to quickly introduce restrictions around travelling to and from that country. 

If an emergency brake is applied to a country, the Government advice will be to avoid travel to that country. If you are returning to Ireland from one of these countries, you might be asked to produce a negative test result, undergo quarantine or take a COVID-19 test on arrival, even if you are fully vaccinated. 

COVID travel restrictions vary by country and can change in response to an evolving COVID situation. It is a good idea to check the government’s travel advice regularly if you plan to go abroad. 

Read more about the current COVID travel restrictions.

Related articles
Skip to content