If you have recovered from COVID-19, been fully vaccinated or received your booster 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.
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. If you recently received your COVID-19 booster, you should soon receive an updated DCC that shows this. If you did not receive an updated DCC after your booster shot, you can request one through the DCC self-service portal.
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.
Can my Digital COVID Certificate go out of date?
From 1 February 2022, there is a nine month (270 day) time limit on Digital COVID Certificates issues after the first-round of vaccinations. The first round of vaccinations means:
- One dose of the Janssen vaccine, or
- Two doses of AstraZeneca/ Pfizer/ Moderna vaccines
This means that in order for your DCC to be valid, you must have received your most recent COVID-19 vaccine dose within the last nine months. This time limit is only for Digital COVID Certificates based on the first round of vaccines.
If you receive your COVID-19 booster, you will receive an updated DCC. The time limit does not apply to certificates issues after receiving a booster shot.
What does the Digital COVID Certificate allow me to do?
The DCC allows you to travel in Europe during the pandemic. Most countries have rules for entering the country which require passengers to be vaccinated or have received a negative COVID-19 test result. It’s important to find out the rules before travelling to a new country and make sure you have taken all necessary steps before attempting to travel. For example, even if you have a DCC because you are fully vaccinated and received a booster, you may still need to get a COVID-19 test for entering certain countries. These rules can change depending on the case numbers, so it’s important to check before travelling.
In some places, you may also need a DCC to take part in certain activities like indoor dining or visiting theatres. Take the time to learn about COVID-19 measures in the place you’re visiting.
You can get up to date information about the travel restrictions in place on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.
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 request one through the DCC self-service portal.
If you have received a booster shot
If you recently received your COVID-19 booster, you should soon receive an updated DCC that shows this. If you did not receive an updated DCC after your booster shot, you can request one through the DCC self-service portal.
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. You can request a DCC through the DCC self-service portal.
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 for travel. 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.
Read more about the current COVID travel restrictions.
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.