Mutual recognition of digital Covid certificates means travel between Ukraine and the EU no longer requires PCR test

The European Union has published a decision for EU member states that Ukrainian COVID certificates in the Diia app meet the standards and are equal to the European certificates. The Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, Olha Stefanyshyna, announced this at the press briefing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Thus, Ukrainians will be allowed to travel around the EU with digital vaccination certificates on their smartphones. Meanwhile, Ukraine recognizes certificates of EU member states and other countries that have joined the Digital COVID Certificate initiative.

COVID certificates are the first digital documents in the Diia app that will be recognized within the EU.

How Ukrainian certificates are integrated with the EU system

We have to do with digital certificates. The EU implemented an internal digital certificate on July 1, 2021. Last week, Ukraine joined the EU product infrastructure.

It is a united environment for all countries that run their own COVID certificates and ensure their conformity. Now the EU Digital Directorate will grant Diia access to the gateway, a tool that will allow other countries to verify Ukrainian certificates when traveling within the EU.

Remarkably, Ukraine is one of the first non-EU countries that received the equal status for their certificates. It was reported by Ambassador Matti Maasikas, head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine.

What is a COVID Certificate

COVID certificate is a document in the Diia app that confirms the status of a vaccinated person. In the application will be generated two certificates:

  • an international certificate for traveling abroad that will contain more internal medical information but no picture of the patient;
  • an internal certificate with less medical information but with a picture of the patient.

It was done for the case if Ukraine will introduce some rules for its citizens regarding the vaccination. Thus, when you’ll show the internal certificate, it should not be confirmed with physical documents, because the certificate already contains a photo.

When will the Diia Certificates work?

According to Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov, the Diia Team has already loaded the app updates into PlayMarket and AppStore and waits for their confirmation. After they are released, vaccinated Ukrainians will be able to generate a certificate in Diia and travel without taking a test.

How to generate a Certificate in Diia App

  • In the new version of Diia, you need to click on “Services” and select “COVID Certificate.”
  • Next, go to “Get a Certificate.”
  • Request to transfer data from the Electronic Health System to the Diia app through Diia.Signature Service. And the application will generate a QR code, which will verify the certificate.
Image credit: Oleksii Vyskub

The next step is the launch of COVID certificates on Diia.

How long will the certificate be valid?

The period will comply with international requirements. In most countries, it will be valid for 180 days from the date of generation.

The validity periods may vary depending on the medical research data and the country.

Do I need internet access to show the certificate at the border?

An already generated QR code will work without internet access. If you generate the certificate while still in Ukraine and having access to the Internet, you will have no problems presenting the certificate at the border with the EU.

What to do before you go to the EU

Although the European Commission’s decision to recognize Ukrainian certificates is advisory, 100% of all countries connected to the EU environment do recognize COVID certificates of all member states. To avoid unpleasant situations at the border, the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine recommends Ukrainian citizens checking the list of countries which they may enter with certificates and the current travel and transit regime in different countries of the world on an interactive online map of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

Will the EU recognize certificates for CoronaVac/Sinovac and CoviShield

As stated by the Ukrainian Minister of Health Viktor Liashko, all vaccines used to vaccinate Ukrainians against COVID-19 are approved by the WHO for emergency use. So, the international certificates will be given to those vaccinated by CoronaVac/Sinovac and CoviShield. However, in some EU countries, the issue of vaccines not approved by the EU medical association (in particular CoronaVac/Sinovac) is still open. Therefore, Liashko recommends checking the information about vaccines approved in a particular country on the MOH’s online map before traveling.