Spanish airports are now accepting the EU Digital Covid Certificates, the Health Ministry has reported, with various regions beginning to issue them on Monday, June 7.
Spain has followed the lead of Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Germany and Poland by launching the so-called ‘Covid Passports’ almost three weeks ahead of the officially scheduled date of July 1.
From this date onwards its use will be compulsory across the bloc and until then, the system will be considered to be in a testing phase, albeit with “full validity”, according to Alfredo González, the General Secretary for Digital Health, Information and Innovation at the Spanish national health system.
González also explained that “visitors are now allowed to enter Spain as long as they are fully vaccinated, regardless of where they come from or whether they have the official certificate.”
He explained that “It is not a passport to enable travel, simply a document to facilitate it. Those who can prove they are vaccinated will not be turned away, but their entry into the country will be much slower, and additional checks and measures may apply.”
The digital certificate will be free and will help make travelling within Europe easier. It will consist of a QR code and will also be available in a paper format if required.
The document will certify whether the bearer has tested negative for Covid via an antigen or PCR test, has had Covid-19 over the last six months and whether or not they have been fully vaccinated a minimum of 14 days prior to travelling.
Authorities have said that the personal information contained within the certificate QR codes will be kept to the necessary minimum in order to adhere to data privacy laws.
There has been some debate within the EU on whether anyone who applies for additional certificates, should have to pay for them to avoid fraud but Spain has confirmed that it will not be applying fees to initial or subsequent copies.
Andalucía became the first Spanish region to announce that it was issuing the Covid passports from Monday onwards, to those aged 65 and over who have been fully vaccinated. They will be rolling out the scheme to other ages from next week as second doses of the vaccine are administered.
Murcia and Valencia have both also declared that they will be implementing the scheme and that they are starting to issue certificates from this week.
The regional governments of Andalusia, Navarre and Valencia announced on Monday that their citizens could already download the certificates.
In Andalusia, those aged 65 and over will receive a paper copy delivered directly to their homes, given that many “are not accustomed to the digital routes,” according to regional premier Juan Manuel Moreno.
Anyone else who has been fully vaccinated will be able to request it via the Andalusian health service website or app.
As in Andalusia, residents who meet the requirements can request the certificate via their region’s healthcare website or app, or in some areas via their primary healthcare centres.
The Digital Covid Certificate should be available to residents of Spain, regardless of nationality.
Spain may have already started to use the new system, but it still needs to be fully approved by the European Parliament, which could happen as early as today.