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EXPLAINED: How to get your digital Covid vaccine pass in Germany for EU travel

The EU digital Covid pass launched on July 1st and should make travel within the EU much smoother. How can you get it in Germany?

EXPLAINED: How to get your digital Covid vaccine pass in Germany for EU travel
The EU Covid-19 certificate in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Stefan Puchner

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

You have to be fully jabbed to use the digital vaccination certificate (known in Germany as the Impfpass or Impfnachweis). You can upload the certificate to your phone – either in the CovPass app or 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 recovery from 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 obligations when travelling if they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid.

However, EU countries will continue to decide for themselves on travel restrictions. So it may be that tougher rules are brought in if Covid cases rise or new variants spread. 

READ ALSO:

Where can I get it?

When you go for your jabs, the digital proof of vaccination should be generated in the doctor’s office or in the vaccination centre. You’ll receive a paper certificate with a code on it that can be scanned into your phone. You’ll typically receive a code for each jab, and both can be scanned into your smartphone. 

For those who’ve already had their shots from vaccination centres, the centres should send out the QR codes in the post or make them available through an online portal. Check with your local authority on what procedure is in place. 

If you have been previously vaccinated at a doctor’s practice, the doctor should issue you with the certificate. But if they don’t manage to, you can also visit participating pharmacies for it.

Pharmacy staff can check your evidence of vaccination, plus photo ID (like a passport), and then issue you with the QR code. 

How does it work?

People in Germany download the CovPass app to scan the vaccination certificates (QR codes). This way, they can show their full vaccination coverage via QR code in the app when needed.

An update is also being made to the Corona Warn app, which also offers the option of scanning and managing the digital vaccination certificates (QR codes).

Residents should keep the issued QR codes to be able to scan them again if necessary (e.g. when changing cell phones).

READ ALSO: German pharmacies begin offering digital vaccination certificates

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

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

The German Health Ministry confirmed to The Local that the digital certificate can be used for travel within the EU. For countries outside the EU it won’t be possible to use the digital proof of vaccination just yet – but that might change in future. 

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

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

What is the aim of the EU pass?

According to the EU the digital Covid certificate “will facilitate safe free movement of citizens in the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Essentially that means no quarantine measures or need to supply 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 whoever requires it, whether border police or airline and rail officials.

The certificates should be free and come in both English and the national language where they are distributed, the EU says. They are being distributed now within countries across the bloc. 

It’s worth noting that the Covid certificates are not compulsory for travel within the EU, but those who travel without it will likely be subject to whatever requirements are in place around testing and quarantine.

From Thursday July 1st it will be rolled out across the EU and Schengen area and possibly after that non-EU/Schengen countries like the UK and the US will become part of the scheme to allow for smooth travel between those countries and member states

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

For more details read our explainer:

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

What about 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. That currently is BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson.

But it really is at the pharmacy’s discretion on whether you get it or not. We’ve heard from readers that they have managed to get the digital pass if they check with several different pharmacies – so you could get lucky on that front. 

READ MORE: How I got Germany’s new digital CovPass with my American vaccine certificate

The official line from the German government is that there is no formal agreement in place for recognising foreign vaccine certificates. 

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EXPLAINED: How will Berlin’s new €29 transport ticket work?

Germany’s capital launched its follow-up to the €9 ticket on Tuesday, but the ticket will only be valid for those with subscriptions. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will Berlin’s new €29 transport ticket work?

Tickets for the new €29 Berlin city ticket went on sale on Tuesday and eager passengers will be wondering how they can get their hands on the discount offer. However, unlike the nationwide €9 ticket, Berlin’s travel deal will only be valid in the AB fare zone of Berlin and for customers with a yearly subscription.

Why has Berlin brought in the ticket?

The Berlin state government and transport companies in Berlin developed the ticket to set an example for climate protection and make public transportation more attractive for Berliners. The state of Berlin is financing the offer which will bridge the gap between the end of the €9 ticket offer and a nationwide successor which should arrive in January.

READ ALSO: Berlin gets green light to launch €29 transport ticket

Where and when will the ticket be valid?

The €29 ticket will be valid on all buses, trams, U-bahns and S-bahns within the AB fare zone in the city of Berlin. Those wanting to travel into the C zone will need to buy an extension ticket.

Who is the ticket for?

Some people might be disappointed to find out that the ticket will only be available as part of a yearly subscription. All other tickets will retain their usual prices.

That means that people won’t be able to buy a monthly ticket for €29 unless it’s part of a yearly package, so certain groups of people, such as tourists, may not benefit from the offer.

From October 1st to December 31st, 2022, the monthly price for the following subscriptions in the Berlin AB fare zone will be reduced to €29:

–   VBB-Umweltkarten subscriptions with monthly and annual payments

–   10 o’clock ticket subscriptions with monthly and annual payments

–   VBB company tickets with monthly and yearly payments

–   Education monthly subscription ticket with monthly payments

The offer will not apply to ABC semester tickets. 

How will payment for the ticket work?

According to information from BVG, subscribers who pay monthly will automatically be charged the lower amount, while compensation for those who pay annually is expected to arrive at the end of the promotional period.

Can I get a yearly subscription starting from October and still benefit?

Yes. If you sign up for a yearly subscription on the BVG or VBB website, starting from October, you will be charged the lower price for the first three months of the subscription. If you start in November or December, you will pay the lower price for just those months. 

What happens once the promotion is over?

For those who don’t cancel their subscription by December 31st, their subscription contract will run for a total of 12 months. However, passengers can also switch to another VBB fare product, to another fare zone or to the successor product to the €9 ticket, which is expected to be valid throughout Germany from January 1st.

READ ALSO: Germany to set out plans for €49 transport ticket in October

When can the subscription be cancelled?

It seems that people will be able to cancel their yearly subscriptions. The BVG website says: “If we were not able to convince you of our performance and you decide not to continue the subscription beyond the promotional period, you can cancel your subscription at any time at the end of the month without any disadvantages.”

Vocabulary

Subscription – (das) Abonnement

Extension ticket – (der) Anschlussfahrausweis

Yearly – jährlich

Monthly – monatlich

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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