EU Covid vaccine certificate to make travel for UAE residents easier

People vaccinated in the UAE will soon use the Al Hosn Green pass to show their status

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The UAE has been connected to the EU's Digital Covid Certificate system, making travel easier for residents vaccinated in the Emirates.

The decision means people vaccinated in the UAE will be able to use Al Hosn app in the same way EU Digital Pass has been used since it was introduced during the summer.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate — the biggest vaccine passport scheme in the world — came into force in July, allowing bearers travelling within the EU to prove, with a QR code, that they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the coronavirus. It can also be used as roof of a recent negative Covid test

Vaccine certificates issued in the UAE are already recognised in the EU in printed format.

The major change with this decision is that Al Hosn app will soon be updated with a new EU Pass — similar to the Expo 2020 Dubai Pass — that visitors to the 27-member bloc will be able to use to show proof of vaccination at border control in each member state.

Al Hosn app, which can be used throughout the Emirates, is the only one included in the agreement.

Many EU countries require proof of vaccination to enter public places like restaurants, shops and gyms.

While not covered by this agreement, it's understood that visitors will be able to use Al Hosn app's EU Pass as proof. However, this may vary from country to country.

Tourism recovery

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said the UAE had also agreed to accept the EU Digital Covid Certificate for EU nationals travelling to the Emirates.

The UAE is one of 28 non-EU countries (and territories) to join the EU Digital Covid Certificate system Lebanon, Morocco and Israel are also included.

“Fifty-five countries and territories on five continents have joined the system so far, with more than 750 million certificates issued,” said Didier Reynders, EU Commissioner for Justice.

“Even if we have a difficult time with Covid-19 variants, we need the certificate; it has served in the past and will continue to serve in the future to help people to travel safely.”

The Covid certificates have helped to make possible travel around the EU.

A UN report said the EU's vaccine passport and the administration of vaccines had helped tourism recover faster in the bloc in the third quarter of this year than in other parts of the world.

“The uplift in demand was driven by increased traveller confidence amid rapid progress on vaccinations and the easing of entry restrictions in many destinations,” the report said.

“In Europe, the EU Digital Covid Certificate has helped facilitate free movement within the European Union, releasing large-pent up demand after many months of restricted travel.”

Last month, EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides announced new travel rules that focus on travellers' Covid-19 status, rather than the country from which they have travelled.

It meant that EU countries could adjust their quarantine policies to focus on those without a valid EU Digital Covid-19 Certificate.

“We need to avoid fragmentation,” she told the European Parliament, as she previewed the measures.

Updated: December 13, 2021, 3:44 AM