EXPLAINED: Can tourists use Austria’s Covid-19 green pass to visit bars and events?

EXPLAINED: Can tourists use Austria’s Covid-19 green pass to visit bars and events?
A person has their Covid vaccination details checked. Photo: Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash
As travel picks up across Europe, there is a new challenge for tourists to navigate when visiting a new country - Covid-19 digital immunity cards.

Austria’s coronavirus digital immunity card – known as the ‘Green Pass’ – is now live, but is it also available for tourists to use?

The short answer is – no, not yet.

For example, people arriving from an EU country can already access the EU Digital COVID Certificate in Austria, so they don’t need to download and use Austria’s digital immunity card. 

‘3G Rule’: How to prove you have been vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid in Austria

Plus, in the most cases an Austrian mobile phone number or citizen card is needed to use Austria’s Green Pass, which rules out tourists.

What does this mean for people travelling to Austria? Here’s what you need to know.

How does Austria’s Covid-19 digital immunity card work?

The Green Pass involves downloading an app and using a QR card to access places where the 3G rule (vaccinated, tested or recovered) applies.

Places include gastronomy businesses like bars and cafes, hotels and language classes. 

To access the Green Pass, users need a Handy Signatur (a digital ID connected to an Austrian mobile phone number) or an Austrian citizen card

READER QUESTION: Can I travel to Austria if I’ve had AstraZeneca’s ‘Covishield’ vaccine?

However, people can still use the paper version of 3G certificates, such as a vaccination card, proof of recovery or proof of a negative antigen test to access 3G areas.

While this must be an official document, it does not need to have a QR code to be valid. It needs to be either in German or in English in a latin script and must be produced on request from business owners or police. 

The Austrian Federal Government has also said the Green Pass will not become compulsory.

Can tourists from EU countries use the Green Pass?

The Digital COVID Certificate was launched by the EU on 1st July and it is recognised in Austria.

The EU version can be used in the same way as the Green Pass to show proof of 3G, but paper or digital copies of test and vaccination certificates from other EU countries are also accepted.

This means EU tourists don’t have to worry about accessing Austria’s Green Pass.

What about tourists from other countries?

Currently, only the Green Pass and the EU Digital COVID Certificate are recognised in Austria and can’t be accessed by people from outside of the EU.

Unlike in some other countries, you cannot simply arrive in Austria and do a test. This is because in the most cases to get the green pass you need an Austrian phone number, citizen card or e-card. 

EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s Covid-19 immunity card and how do I get it?

But the EU Digital COVID Certificate might be extended to travellers from third countries in the future, like the UK and the US.

In the meantime, the British government is currently working on making its NHS app compatible with the EU system.

The EU is also working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to find a solution to recognising vaccine certificates without a QR code (an example is the US where certificates do not have a QR code).

For now though, tourists in Austria from outside of the EU can use paper or digital copies of vaccination certificates, negative tests or proof of recovery to access 3G areas.

READ MORE: Austria imposes stricter penalties for breaching green pass rules

However, there are still some rules in place for people travelling from countries outside of the EU and not everyone can enter Austria.

For example, South Africa, the UK, Brazil, Russia and India (amongst others) are currently classed as areas with a high incidence of virus variants and, in most cases, travel to Austria is banned.

Whereas, people travelling to Austria from countries like Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are currently classed as the same as those entering from an EU country .

This means entry into Austria is allowed according to the 3G rule.

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