EXPLANATION: How to get your digital Covid vaccine pass in Germany to travel to the EU


So Germany (and other EU countries) have a digital vaccination certificate. What is that?

You must be completely stung to use the digital vaccination certificate (known in Germany as the Impfpass or Impfnachweis). You can download the certificate to your phone, either in the CovPass app or in the Corona Warn app. And two weeks after your last jab, you’re good to go.

It will also soon be possible to store negative test results and the recovery of Covid certificates on the Covid health pass. This next stage of development should be completed by the end of June, according to the health ministry.

Users of the digital vaccination passport will likely be exempt from testing and quarantine requirements when traveling if they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid.

However, EU countries will continue to decide on travel restrictions for themselves. Stricter rules may therefore be introduced if Covid cases increase or if new variants spread.


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Where can I receive it?

When you go for your vaccines, digital proof of vaccination should be generated in the doctor’s office or in the vaccination center. You will receive a paper certificate with a code that can be scanned into your phone. You will usually receive a code for each jab, and both can be scanned into your smartphone.

For those who have already been vaccinated at vaccination centers, the centers should send the QR codes by post or make them available through an online portal. Check with your local authority what procedure is in place.

If you have already been vaccinated in a doctor’s office, the doctor’s office must issue you with the certificate. But if they don’t, you can also go to participating pharmacies.

Pharmacy staff can check your proof of vaccination, along with your photo ID, and then issue the QR code to you.

How it works?

Germans download the CovPass app to scan vaccination certificates (QR codes). This way, they can view their full immunization coverage via a QR code in the app when needed.

An update is also underway for the Corona Warn app, which also offers the ability to scan and manage digital vaccination certificates (QR codes).

Residents must keep the QR codes issued so that they can be scanned again if necessary (for example when changing mobile phones).

READ ALSO: German pharmacies start offering digital vaccination certificates

Note that currently, the CovPass app is only available on the German iTunes Store. But this is likely to be extended to other app stores. As we mentioned, you can also download it from the Corona Warn app.

So I have my pass. Can I use it for travel?

The German Ministry of Health has confirmed to The Local that the digital certificate can be used for travel within the EU. For non-EU countries, it will not yet be possible to use digital proof of vaccination, but this may change in the future.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health told us: “The pass can be used for travel to other EU countries. Talks are currently underway at international level for recognition in non-EU countries.

You can also use it as proof of vaccination in Germany, for example in restaurants or for events.

What is the EU pass used for?

According to the EU, the Covid digital certificate “will facilitate the free and safe movement of EU citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic”. In essence, this means no quarantine measures or the need to provide negative Covid tests before or after travel.

The idea is that the document – which can be on paper or stored electronically on smartphones – will carry proof via a QR code that the holder has either:

  • been vaccinated against Covid-19
  • recently recovered from the virus (meaning the holder has antibodies in their system)
  • recently tested negative for Covid

This proof can be shown to anyone who needs it, whether they are border police or airline and rail agents.

Certificates should be free and be available in both English and the national language in which they are distributed, according to the EU. They are now distributed in the countries of the bloc.

It should be noted that Covid certificates are not required for travel within the EU, but those traveling without will likely be subject to the testing and quarantine requirements in place.

From Thursday July 1, it will be rolled out across the EU and the Schengen area and possibly after that non-EU / Schengen countries like the UK and US States will be part of the program to enable smooth travel between these countries and member states.

Germany recently opened up travel to the US and several non-EU countries – with certain conditions.

For more details, read our explanation:

How does the new EU Covid certificate work and how do I get one?

What if I have a foreign vaccination certificate?

In Germany, you may be able to access the digital pass if you take your foreign vaccination pass to a pharmacy and ask them to convert it for you. The prerequisite is that it must be a vaccine approved in the EU. These are currently BioNTech / Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson.

But it’s really at the pharmacy’s discretion whether or not you get it. We’ve heard from readers that they’ve been successful in getting the digital pass if they check with several different pharmacies – so you might be lucky on that front.

READ MORE: How I got Germany’s new digital CovPass with my US vaccination certificate

The official line of the German government is that there is no formal agreement in place to recognize foreign vaccine certificates.

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