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European digital certificate: how, when, where and why

European digital certificate: how, when, where and why

 More than three million Portuguese already have the EU COVID Digital Certificate. Learn how, where and why you should get yours.

The European vaccination certificate (EU Covid Digital Certificate) is a pioneering model that proves that a person has a full Covid-19 vaccination, has recovered from the disease within the last six months or has received a negative result within the last 48 hours. It is a kind of green light that is indispensable at the present time. And while some countries like France and Germany dispute the fact, in Portugal, more than three million people - 30% of the population - already have this document. In the European Union, according to the daily newspaper El País, more than 300 million certificates have already been issued. Without it, it is practically impossible to do anything - going to concerts, shows, sports, weddings, bars or swimming pools - in more than 20 countries.

Each country has its own control system and its own list of restrictions. In France, for example, despite the rejection of the certificate, it is impossible to enter a cinema without it. In Vienna, you cannot enter a museum. In Italy, you are not allowed to dive into a swimming pool. In Greece, there are three types of restaurants: those that only admit people with a vaccination certificate, those for which only a negative test is sufficient and those that guarantee that all the establishment's employees have been vaccinated. In Romania and Croatia, seating capacity is increased if customers have the vaccination certificate. In Denmark, entry to football matches is forbidden without a certificate. Malta does not even allow them to enter the country. But there are also countries that continue to fight for the certificate: Germany and Spain, where the document has not yet been introduced. Or Bulgaria, but for different reasons, there only 17.8% are vaccinated.

In any case, the system for obtaining the digital certificate is already operational in more than 30 countries, including the 27 partners of the Union, as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and the Vatican. And it will be difficult to do without it in the short term, as more and more companies require this certificate in the workplace. It will probably also be required of teachers and other staff when the school year starts.


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In Portugal, a negative Covid-19 test or the digital certificate is required to enter tourist establishments and local accommodation nationwide, whatever day of the week, as well as to enter inside restaurants on Fridays after 7pm and at weekends. The tests to be presented by customers in establishments may be PCR or antigen tests with laboratory results, or self-tests done in person (at the entrance of the establishment) or in front of a health professional. The measure applies regardless of the incidence rate in the municipalities. It only does not cover children under 12 years of age.

Thinking of its clients who are in permanent movement between Porto, the North of Portugal and the Algarve and the rest of the world, LUXIMOS Christies International Real Estate has prepared a small guide with synthesized and reliable information collected from the National Health Service portal, so that you know how, where and why you should get your certificate.


1. Where to get the EU COVID Digital Certificate?

The EU COVID Digital Certificate can be obtained through the SNS 24 portal or the SNS 24 mobile application (Google Play or App Store). Once on the page, choose the type of certificate you want to obtain (vaccination, testing or recovery), enter your date of birth and health user number and press submit. An access code is then automatically generated and sent to you by SMS and email.


2. What information is on the certificate?

Certificates shall include a minimum set of information necessary to confirm and verify the status regarding vaccination, testing or recovery of the holder, such as: name, date of birth, issuing Member State, a unique identifier of the certificate and issuer of the certificate. It may also contain the type of vaccine, trade name, marketing authorisation holder, number of doses, date of vaccination and country of vaccination. This set of information cannot be kept by the countries visited, nor will there be any database of health certificates at European Union level. Health data is kept in the Member State that issued the EU Digital COVID Certificate.

3. Who can apply for the EU COVID Digital Certificate?

At this stage, citizens with a National Health Service (NHS) user number can apply for the issue of the Certificate.

4. What types of certificates are included in the EU COVID Digital Certificate?

The EU COVID Digital Certificate covers three types of certificates: a) vaccination certificates (proves that the person has been vaccinated with both doses against COVID-19); b) test certificates (proves that the person has a negative result in a molecular test performed within the previous 48 hours); c) recovery certificates (proves that the person had Covid-19 but has recovered from the disease).


5. What are the conditions for issuing the EU COVID Digital Certificates?

In the case of vaccinations, only certificates that certify that the vaccination schedule of the respective holder was completed at least 14 days ago will be accepted. If your certificate does not yet show the last dose of a particular vaccine, you must repeat the application after 48 hours. In the case of testing, if you performed a test for SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 and cannot obtain a test certificate, check with the entity where you performed the test if the result is already communicated in SINAVE application with all the necessary information to generate this certificate. In the case of recovery, only certificates certifying that the holder has recovered from a SARS-CoV -2 infection, following a positive result from a TAAN test carried out more than 11 days and less than 180 days ago, are admitted.


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6. What validity do the certificates have?

The certificates have a validity of 180 days. To avoid their expiry, it is sufficient to request another certificate before the end of this period. The new certificate will also be valid for 180 days.


7. What is the cost of the EU COVID Digital Certificate?

It's free.


8. In which language is the EU COVID Digital Certificate issued?

The information in the certificate is written in Portuguese and English.

9. What rights does the EU Digital Certificate COVID confer?

The Certificate will ensure that all its holders have the same rights as the citizens of the Member State visited who have been vaccinated, tested or have recovered.

10. When can the Certificate be used?

The Certificate is personal and serves to facilitate the freedom of movement of citizens within the European Union.


11. In Portugal, under what circumstances must it be presented?

It is mandatory for access to events of cultural, sporting, corporate or family nature, namely weddings and christenings. Also to move freely within the national mainland territory. To access tourist establishments or local accommodation establishments. And also to enter restaurants on Fridays after 7 pm, on weekends and on public holidays.


12. Am I required to have the Certificate in order to travel?

The Certificate is not mandatory, it is optional, but facilitates freedom of movement throughout the European Union during the pandemic. Citizens who do not possess or choose not to apply for this document can continue to travel, but may be subject to additional measures, such as testing procedures and mandatory quarantine/ prophylactic isolation, upon arrival in the country of destination.


13. Which countries can I use the Certificate in?

It can be used in all Member States of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.


14. If I don't have a certificate, what alternative do I have to circulate and enter the places?

In that case, you must present a negative test. This may be a nucleic acid amplification test (TAAN), carried out within 72 hours prior to submission, or a rapid antigen test (TRAg), for professional use, carried out within 48 hours prior to submission.


15. Are the tests reimbursed?

Tests are reimbursed at 100% of the maximum price set (€ 10). The reimbursement is limited to a maximum of four tests per calendar month and per user.

Children under 12 years of age shall be exempt from the obligation to undergo screening tests for access to places or establishments, for participation at events and for the purpose of movement.


16. Is the certificate valid for any brand of Covid-19 vaccine?

Valid for all Covid-19 vaccines that have been approved for use in the European Union following a positive opinion of the European Medicines Agency.


17. Are the self-testing tests also valid for these certificates?


18. What COVID-19 tests will be included?

At this stage, nucleic acid amplification tests (NAT) which include RT-PCR, real-time RT-PCR, rapid molecular tests and rapid antigen tests (TRAg) are considered.


19. Can the certificate be issued to people who have only taken the first dose?

Yes, the certificate can be issued following the administration of each dose of vaccine.


20. Is there a way to prove the authenticity of the certificates?

Yes. Certificates have an interoperable machine-readable QR code with the required essential data as well as a digital signature. The QR code is used to securely verify the authenticity, integrity and validity of the certificate.


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