For members


EU extends Covid travel certificates until 2023 but what does this mean for travellers?

The EU has announced that its Covid travel certificate will be extended until 2023. Claudia Delpero looks at what this mean if you have a trip planned this year.

EU extends Covid travel certificates until 2023 but what does this mean for travellers?
Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Cleaning up the phone and thinking of getting rid of that Covid app? Just wait a minute. 

The European Union has decided to extend the use of EU Covid certificates by one year, until June 30th 2023. 

The European Commission first made the proposal in February as the virus, and the Omicron variant in particular, was continuing to spread in Europe. At that point it was “not possible to determine the impact of a possible increase in infections in the second half of 2022 or of the emergence of new variants,” the Commission said. 

Now tourism is taking off again, while Covid cases are on the rise in several European countries.

So the EU has taken action to ensure that travellers can continue using the so-called ‘digital green certificates’ in case new restrictions are put in place after their initial deadline of June 30th, 2022. 

What is the EU ‘digital green certificate’?

If you have travelled within the EU in the last year, you have probably already used it.

On 1st July 2021, EU countries started to introduce the ‘digital green certificate’, a Covid pass designed by the European Commission to facilitate travel between EU member states following months of restrictions.

It can be issued to EU citizens and residents who have been vaccinated against Covid, have tested negative or have recovered from the virus, as a proof of their health status. 

Although it’s called a certificate, it isn’t a separate document, it’s just a way of recognising all EU countries’ national health pass schemes.

It consists of a QR code displayed on a device or printed.

So if you live in an EU country, the QR code issued when you were vaccinated or tested can be scanned and recognised by all other EU countries – you can show the code either on a paper certificate or on your country’s health pass app eg TousAntiCovid if you’re in France or the green pass in Italy. 

Codes are recognised in all EU 27 member states, as well as in 40 non-EU countries that have joined the scheme, including the UK – full list here.

What does the extension of certificates mean? 

In practice, the legal extension of the EU Covid pass does not mean much if EU countries do not impose any restrictions.

It’s important to point out that each country within the EU decides on its own rules for entry – requiring proof of vaccination, negative tests etc so you should check with your country of destination.

All the EU certificate does is provide an easy way for countries to recognise each others’ certificates.

At present travel within the EU is fairly relaxed, with most countries only requiring negative tests for unvaccinated people, but the certificate will become more relevant again if countries impose new measures to curb the spread of the virus. 

According to the latest data by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, countries such as France, Portugal and parts of Italy and Austria are in the red again. 

The EU legislation on the certificate neither prescribes nor prohibits such measures, but makes sure that all certificate holders are treated in the same way in any participating country. 

The EU certificate can also be used for access to venues such as bars and restaurants if countries decided to re-impose health or vaccines passes on a domestic basis.

So nothing changes?

In fact, the legislation introduces some changes to the current certificates. These include the clarification that passes issued after vaccination should reflect all doses administered, regardless of the member state where the inoculation occurred. This followed complaints of certificates indicating an incorrect number of vaccine doses when these were received in different countries.

In addition, new rules allow the possibility to issue a certificate of recovery following an antigen test and extend the range of uthorised antigen tests to qualify for the green pass. 

To support the development and study of vaccines against Covid, it will also be possible to issue vaccination certificates to people participating in clinical trials.

At the insistence of the European Parliament, the Commission will have to publish an assessment of the situation by December 31st 2022 and propose to repeal or maintain the certificate accordingly. So, while it is extended for a year, the certificate could be discontinued earlier if it will no longer be consider necessary. 

The European parliament rapporteur, Spanish MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, said: “The lack of coordination from EU governments on travel brought chaos and disruption to the lives of millions of Europeans that simply wanted to move freely and safely throughout the EU.

“We sincerely hope that the worst of the pandemic is far behind us and we do not want Covid certificates in place a day longer than necessary.”

Vaccination requirements for the certificate

An EU certificate can be issued to a person vaccinated with any type of vaccine, but many countries accept only EMA-approved vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax, Valneva and Janssen) – if you have been vaccinated with another vaccine, you should check the rules on the country you are travelling to.  

Certificates remain valid for 9 months (270) days following a complete vaccination cycle – so if you had your vaccine more than nine months ago you will need a booster in order to be considered fully vaccinated.

There is no requirement for a second booster, so if you have had a booster you remain ‘fully vaccinated’ even if your booster was administered more than 9 months ago. 

As of 1st March 2022, EU countries had issued almost 1.2 billion EU Covid certificates, of which 1.15 billion following vaccination, 511 million as a result of tests and 55 million after recovery from the virus. 

France, Italy, Germany, Denmark and Austria are the countries that have issued the largest number of EU Covid certificates. 

Member comments

  1. Hej,
    A bit confused regarding Covid jabs ! My 3rd dose was on 2021- 12- 16 so my certificate is only valid till 2022-06-29. Is this third dose the booster that you refer to in the article? or do I need more ?

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For members


How much have hotel prices in Spain gone up?

Going on holiday seems more expensive than ever this year, with the cost of flights, food and accommodation having skyrocketed, but exactly how much have hotel prices in Spain gone up by?

How much have hotel prices in Spain gone up?

This year, not only has everyday living become more expensive – the food we buy and the bills we pay, but going on holiday is a lot more costly too. 

Higher demand, the fallout after the pandemic and inflation have all caused flight prices, restaurants and accommodation to increase exponentially. 

Tourism in Spain is accelerating towards a record-breaking year. Spain already set a new record for tourism in April, welcoming 7.2 million international tourists and surpassing pre-pandemic levels. 

Spain’s Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Héctor Gómez also predicts that Spain will receive between 52.3 and 54.8 million foreign tourists during the summer months from May to October 2023.

All this means that hotels are getting more expensive than ever. 

Spanish hotels have been increasing their prices for the last two years since people started travelling again after the pandemic, but this year hotel costs have skyrocketed.

Hotel establishments raised their prices by 11 percent in March 2023 compared to the same month in 2022, which already had already seen an increase of almost 35 percent, according to the latest data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE). 

READ ALSO: Why are flights to and from Spain so expensive this summer?

Over Easter, hotel costs soared, and ‘The Hotel Pricing Outlook’ report by consultancy firm Simon-Kucher revealed that hotels were 40 percent more expensive than in April last year

At the end of April 2023, the latest data available from the INE, shows that the average cost per room in Spain stood at €99.32 per night. In the same month last year, the average rate was €89.05 and in 2019, prior to the pandemic, it was €80.92.

By category, five-star hotels raised their rates by 14 percent compared to last year, reaching an average cost of €231 per room per night; those with four stars increased prices by nine percent, up to €102 and three-star hotels raised them by more than 13 percent; up to €76. 

Where have hotel prices risen the most?  

Accommodation costs may have risen all over Spain, but the rates and how much they’ve increased by still varies between regions.  

According to the INE, the region where accommodation prices have gone up the most is the Basque Country, where hotel rooms are 16.7 percent more than last year.  

This is unsurprisingly followed by Madrid and Catalonia, where costs have risen by 15.6 and 15.5 respectively.  

Next up is the Canary Islands with 14.8 percent, followed by Cantabria with 14 .3 percent and Aragón with 13.3 percent.  

But, there are still some places where hotel rates remain relatively affordable. The region where prices rose by the least is Extremadura with a rise of just 0.2 compared to last year.

This is followed by Asturias with 3.4 percent, Navarre with 4.4 percent, Galicia with 5.8 percent and Melilla with 6.1 percent.  

Could hotels be even more expensive this summer?

It’s now the beginning of June and the official start of summer is just over two weeks away, anyone who hasn’t booked accommodation for their summer holiday yet is in for a big shock.

Hotel prices during high season typically increase and this year is set to be no different, meaning that the already steep costs will go up even more.

In the summer of 2022, the average rate per night in Spain was €121 per night in July, almost €128 in August and €107 in September, according to INE records.

Travel experts predict that both demand for hotels and prices will continue to rise until they reach record levels.