EU Digital COVID Certificate: searching for clarity in a complex patchwork of rules

Are you confused about the rules in place for travelling across Europe this summer? Do you need to be vaccinated? When do you need to take a COVID test? What is planned for children? Euroconsumers has illustrated the answers to these questions in simple visuals that take you through the journey of travellers in Belgium, Italy, Spain and Portugal, showcasing the complex patchwork of rules.

If you are planning to take a holiday in another European country this summer, you are probably quite confused about the rules in place in these pandemic times:

  • Are one dose or two doses of vaccination needed to be allowed into your country of destination?
  • Do my children need to get tested?
  • How much of my holiday budget should I dedicate to COVID-related costs such as COVID tests I’ll have to take?
  • Are tests valid for 48 hours or 72 hours?
  • Are antigen tests allowed or not?

To showcase how complex a trip can get and guide you through the current patchwork of different rules, we have

  • imagined three typical travel scenarios that you might be planning for your holidays.
  • looked up step by step for answers to these questions in the European countries where our members operate (Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain).
  • illustrated our findings into simple infographics inspired by board games.

Full board


Scenario 1

Travelling with the EU Digital COVID Certificate as a 70-year-old fully vaccinated man

A 70-year-old fully vaccinated man flies from Spain to Portugal. The proof of full vaccination on his Certificate grants him the right to cross the border. He travels without any hassle.

See his full journey here.


Scenario 2


Travelling with the EU Digital COVID Certificate as a family of 5

A family with parents in their 30ies, both half vaccinated, have kids of 12 years old, 8 years old and 3 years old. They drive from Belgium to Spain via France. The rules regarding the testing of their children differ in each country they go to.

See the family journey here.

Scenario 3


Travelling with the EU Digital COVID Certificate when half vaccinated

Two 20-year-old women plan to travel from Portugal to Spain and Italy. They are both half vaccinated. While some countries allow access with incomplete vaccination, others require additional COVID testing.

See their full journey here.

Call for testimonials: share your experience with the EU Digital COVID Certificate

Have you experienced some of these travel scenarios?

Have you come across other hurdles on your journey with the EU Digital COVID Certificate?

We would love to hear from you!

Euroconsumers will keep on publishing updates on travel rules on Twitter over the summer. So stay tuned!

EU Digital COVID Certificate: we need more Europe to make it work

The EU Digital COVID Certificate, formerly known as the Digital Green Certificate, launches on 1st of July 2021 in most European countries. Thanks to this initiative EU residents will be able to travel again throughout Europe this summer. However Member States have retained the right to decide on specific aspects of the Certificate rules, resulting in a confusing patchwork that makes it still very complicated for many EU citizens to travel. If anything we need more Europe to ensure safe and free travelling. Eurconsumers calls on all member states to step up efforts to align on the different rules and make the EU COVID Certificate work.

When planning your travel abroad this summer, make sure to check the rules in your countries (and regions) of departure and arrival. These are subject to change due to the evolution of the pandemic.

PDF version of the three scenarios available here.