Recognition of vaccination certificates from other countries

The information below relates only to the recognition of vaccination certificates, not to testing or having recovered from COVID-19.

Opinion of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

In view of progressing vaccination in the European Union and European Economic Area countries, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has issued instructions on 21 April 2021 for the possible easing of restrictions imposed to reduce the risk of transmission for those persons who have already received complete vaccination against COVID-19 (i.e. at least two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca or Moderna or the single-dose vaccine from Johnson and Johnson).

In the case of persons who have completed vaccination, countries may agree to easing in certain areas, particularly travel. Based on the aforementioned guidelines, the likelihood of a fully-vaccinated traveler posing a risk on arrival to the country is absolutely minimal.

However, in the context of vaccination certificates, it is necessary to examine the risks that have been repeatedly highlighted by the European and global communities, namely the growing market for counterfeit certificates of various kinds.  Europol, for example, has also warned in its reports of the risks of misuse – in particular of test certificates.  False certificates can pose a significant risk to public health.  The authorities of one Member State must be sure that the information contained in a certificate issued in another Member State is reliable, that it has not been falsified, that it belongs to the person presenting it and that anyone verifying the information has access to only the minimum amount of information necessary. This is also why the criteria for the recognition of vaccination certificates from third countries are relatively strict and fully in line with the EU Regulation.

For the purposes of Protective Measure establishing conditions for entry into the Czech Republic and for the purposes of the extraordinary measures containing exemptions for vaccinated persons in the Czech Republic, the following certificates are considered acceptable:

1. EU COVID Digital Certificate

In order to ensure freedom of movement and residence within the EU, Regulation (EU) 2021/953 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning a framework for the issuance, verification and recognition of interoperable certificates of vaccination, testing and recovery in relation to COVID-19 (EU COVID digital certificate) in order to ease freedom of movement during the COVID-19 pandemic, created a common framework for issuing, verifying and accepting interoperable certificates of vaccination, testing and recovery from COVID-19, called the “EU COVID digital certificate” (hereinafter also “DCC”). More information on the DCC can be found here:  EU COVID Digital Certificate | European Commission (europa.eu).

The EU COVID digital certificate is available to everyone: it includes vaccination, testing and recovery from COVID-19,

  • it is free and available in all EU languages, and always in English,
  • it is available in digital and paper formats,
  • it is secure and contains a digitally signed QR code.

The EU COVID digital certificate of vaccination is a certificate issued by all EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican as of 1 July.

The purpose of the EU COVID Digital Certificate is to facilitate free and safe movement within the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is therefore still possible to travel without a certificate, but certificate holders will not be subject to restrictions such as quarantine or testing obligations. On the other hand, the Member State may impose restrictions on certificate holders if necessary to protect public health (after consultation with the European Commission).

The EU COVID Digital Certificate issued in the Czech Republic is recognised by all the following countries for entry into their territory, in accordance with the rules set by the countries concerned. On the contrary, the Czech Republic recognizes the certificates of all these countries under the conditions stipulated by the Ministry of Health.

Until 12 August, there was a transitional period when the countries also had to recognise the original certificates issued in these countries. From 12 August, only the new certificate template, which is also issued by the Czech Republic from 1 June, is recognized. The certificate can be downloaded on the  ocko.uzis.cz portal or using the Tečka app. The only exception is certificates of performed testing, which may also be issued in a different format. However, these are only usable in the Czech Republic.

The specimen European Certificate is available here.

Which countries issue certificates:

  1. EU
  2. Iceland
  3. Liechtenstein
  4. Norway
  5. San Marino
  6. Switzerland
  7. Vatikan

Who can present a certificate:

  • anybody regardless of citizenship

Conditions for certificate validity:

  • at least 14 days after the fully-completed vaccination

2. Third-country certificates that were recognized as equivalent to the EU COVID Digital Certificate

In addition to the EU COVID digital certificate, the above-mentioned Regulation also allows for the recognition of COVID-19 disease certificates issued by third countries. The system of issuing these certificates, their verifiability and functionality have been verified by the European Commission authorities. Based on fulfilment of all the qualification requirements, an implementing decision has been adopted and approved which recognizes the following certificates as equivalent to EU COVID certificates.

Which countries issue certificates:

  1. Albania
  2. Andorra
  3. Armenia
  4. Faroe Islands
  5. Georgia
  6. Great Britain
  7. Israel
  8. Moldova
  9. Monaco
  10. New Zeland
  11. North Macedonia
  12. Panama
  13. Serbia
  14. Turkey
  15. Ukraine

The European Commission is currently negotiating with more than 30 countries on the mutual compatibility of vaccination certificates.  The list will thus be extended on a continuous basis.

Who can present a certificate:

  • anybody regardless of citizenship

Conditions for certificate validity:

  • at least 14 days after the fully-completed vaccination
  • the vaccination was administered using a vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency (see list below)

3. Recognized certificates from other countries

For the purposes of entering the Czech Republic and accessing services in the Czech Republic, certificates issued by other third countries that issue certificates, which can be verified as valid, can also be used, most often by using any QR code reader.

Which countries and territories issue certificates:

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia
  3. Bahrain
  4. Bhutan
  5. Brazil
  6. Canada
  7. Colombia
  8. Hong Kong
  9. Chile
  10. India
  11. Iran
  12. Iraq
  13. Jordan
  14. Kazakhstan
  15. Korea
  16. Kosovo
  17. Kurdistan
  18. Kuwait
  19. Lebanon
  20. Malaysia
  21. Maldives
  22. Mexico
  23. Montenegro
  24. Nepal
  25. Pakistan
  26. Palestine
  27. Philippines
  28. Peru
  29. Saudi Arabia
  30. Singapore
  31. Sri Lanka
  32. Syria
  33. Thailand
  34. United Arab Emirates
  35. United States of America

Who can present a certificate:

  • anybody regardless of citizenship

Conditions for certificate validity:

  • at least 14 days after the fully-completed vaccination
  • vaccination was administered using a vaccine authorised by the European Medicines Agency (see list below)
  • it must be a written certificate issued at least in English by an authorised body operating in a third country and contain the details of the person vaccinated, the type of vaccine administered, the date of administration of the vaccine, identification of the body that issued the certificate, and these details must be verifiable by remote access directly from the written certificate

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also working on obtaining additional certificates and their technical parameters so that the above list can be further expanded.

Authorised vaccines

For the purposes of Protective Measure laying down the conditions for entry into the Czech Republic and for the purposes of other extraordinary measures authorising exemptions from anti-epidemic measures for fully vaccinated persons:

a medicinal product containing a COVID-19 vaccine which has been granted a marketing authorisation under Regulation (EC) No 726/2004, means:

  • the Vaxzevria vaccine (producer AstraZeneca)
  • the Spikevax vaccine (producer Moderna)
  • the Comirnaty vaccine (producer Pfizer / BioNTech)
  • the Janssen vaccine (producer Janssen Pharmaceutical)

a medicinal product manufactured in accordance with a patent for the above medicinal product approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use, means

  • the Covishield vaccine

In the event that a completed vaccination is submitted in the form of a digital EU COVID certificate that was issued by an EU Member State, such a vaccination is also recognised in the event that the person was vaccinated with a vaccine that is not registered in accordance with Order No. 726/2004, i.e. a vaccine not registered in the EU.