A new set of proposals has been approved by the European Commission, which would limit the validity term of the EU Digital Covid Certificate to 270 days for those who have not yet received a COVID-19 booster shot, according to the European Commission. According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the European Union and its Member States should take a more coordinated approach to determining the validity duration of the EU Digital Covid Certificate.
The 270-day term is computed from the day of the second dose and will be in effect as of the first day of February of 2022. All EU member states, as well as certificates issued by third countries, will be subject to this new law when travelling to or inside the EU.
Travellers entering EU member states will be required to either display a valid EU Digital Covid Certificate or proof that they have had the booster jab.
Despite the fact that the new advice is not legally enforceable, the plethora of laws and regulations that continue to confound business travellers when countries choose to impose national standards that differ from EU plans continues to generate uncertainty.
Belgium has recently stated that the validity time for covid certificates without a booster dose would be reduced from six months to five months as of the first of March. In December, Denmark established a seven-month validity period for the first two doses of the vaccine. The validity of Italy’s “Super Green Pass” will be decreased from nine months to six months starting on February 1.
When it comes to French nationals who have not got a booster jab, France restricts the validity term of the “Pass sanitaire,” which is the French version of the EU digital Covid Certificate, to seven months. Latvia has reduced the validity time of a one-shot vaccine (Janssen) to those who have not yet got a booster dose. The vaccine now has a 5-month validity term. Greece has implemented the same rule as Denmark, bringing the validity period of previously vaccinated individuals without the need for a booster vaccination to seven months.
For the first time, a validity period for the booster vaccination has been announced in Malta. On January 17th, Malta implemented a 3-month validity term for vaccination certificates that did not include a booster jab and a 9-month validity period for vaccination certificates that did include a booster vaccine.
This is causing confusion in the travel industry across Europe. “An inconsistent approach and lack of co-ordination between member states continues to cause confusion and a threat to business travel recovery. Corporates and business travellers need a predictable, harmonised and science-based response to the pandemic, to build confidence and momentum,” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA.
“Ensuring the harmonization of measures such as the validity period of the DCC across the Member States will be crucial to the recovery of the European and global travel industry as well as to the economy as a whole. The successive lockdowns we experienced in Europe and around the world in 2020 dealt a blow to the global business travel industry, which suffered a 52% decline in business travel and €662 billion in lost business travel spend; a coordinated and harmonized approach to the DCC is needed to support the return to travel and the recovery of the business travel industry.” said Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA
Because of the impending implementation of new laws, business travellers and travel managers are advised to keep a close eye on government websites and the validity of immunisation certificates.