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“The development has been prepared. According to the government’s decision, the date of introduction is June 30, 2021.” This was the last official announcement of the Hungarian government in the middle of June, when the update of the Hungarian digital immunity certificate application was originally expected. The update is necessary for the application to meet the requirements of the European Union’s Digital COVID Certificate (DCC), which is being brought into effect on Thursday in order to allow unrestricted travel in the EU.

Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás announced on June 3 that the European Union’s own certificate will become available on July 1. He stated that the necessary update to the digital Hungarian immunity certificate, including the type of vaccine and time of vaccination, would be available by June 15.

Details of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC)

Available in both Hungarian and English, the European Covid certificate will be accessible both physically and digitally. Like the Hungarian immunity certificate, it will contain a QR code linked to the holder’s information on vaccination, PCR tests, and Covid recovery. While its physical copy can be optionally accessed at government offices, the mobile application will be downloadable online through the Hungarian Client Gate (Ügyfélkapu).

Immunity Certificate Update Running Late, Few Travel Deals in the EU
Immunity Certificate Update Running Late, Few Travel Deals in the EU

According to the government, the application is already prepared, but its date of arrival leaves little time for corrections if necessary.Continue reading

The Digital COVID Certificate will contain the holder’s name, date of birth, the date of the certificate’s issue, relevant information about vaccination, tests, Covid recovery, and a unique identifier number.

If an individual is not vaccinated but has recovered from a Covid infection, they can still access the passport within 180 days of receiving a positive PCR test. Those who can present a recent negative PCR test or positive antibody test are also eligible to travel. Details can be found on the European Commission’s website.

Hungary's Immunity Certificate App to Be Upgraded for EU Green Card Use
Hungary's Immunity Certificate App to Be Upgraded for EU Green Card Use

Despite the government's confidence that Hungarians will have “near-total freedom of travel within the EU,” uncertainty remains around non-EMA approved vaccines.Continue reading

The advantage of the European certificate is that it allows the holder unrestricted travel within the countries of the European Union, as long as destination countries are safe, with no extra restrictions or shutdowns needed.

Travel Complicated for Sinopharm and Sputnik Vaccinations

The 1.9 million people in Hungary who have been vaccinated with Sputnik V or Sinopharm, vaccines which are not authorized by the European Medicines agency (EMA), can access the EU certificate, but member states can decide whether they are willing to accept them. Any EU citizen, vaccinated or non-vaccinated, can still access the certificate through PCR tests or proof of recent recovery from the virus.

Entry with the Chinese vaccine is also allowed in more countries than with Sputnik, since it has received authorization from the World Health Organization (WHO). Sputnik, which failed to meet its June 10 information-sharing deadline with the European agency, faces a less promising future.

Hungary Begins Testing Efficacy of All Major Vaccines
Hungary Begins Testing Efficacy of All Major Vaccines

With 3,211 volunteers, Hungary would be the first to conduct such a large scale analysis of all five vaccines at once.Continue reading

Last Friday Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi stated at the EU Summit that while Sinopharm “has shown itself not to be adequate, (…) Sputnik has never been able to get approval from EMA and perhaps it never will.”

Where Can Hungarians Travel?

All Hungarian citizens can still travel to the countries Hungary has made bilateral travel agreements with, including Cyprus, Czechia, Croatia, Slovakia, and Slovenia, which recognize Hungary’s immunity certificates. All countries can be seen on the Hungarian consulate’s website.

Schengen Zone Opens in July as EU Immunity Certificate Passes in Parl't
Schengen Zone Opens in July as EU Immunity Certificate Passes in Parl't

All member states can decide whether they will accept non-EMA approved vaccines.Continue reading

There are also EU member states which accept individuals vaccinated with any vaccine currently used in Hungary. 444 summarizes the Hungarian Foreign Ministry’s report on these countries and those which may still allow Sinopharm vaccinations. Note that these conditions can change:

  • Austria allows unrestricted travel to individuals vaccinated with Sinopharm, and if it is a transit country, Sputnik vaccinations are allowed through as well. Those entering the country must request a document confirming their vaccination status and must state their vaccination type when crossing the border on land as well.
  • Bulgaria, Estonia, and Greece allow entry for those vaccinated with Sinopharm and Sputnik.
  • Latvia, Spain, and Switzerland accept entry for those vaccinated with Sinopharm.
  • Hungarian citizens can enter Finland, the Netherlands, Lithuania, and Spain without restrictions. Those entering Romania from Hungary’s territory can enter without restrictions.
  • Hungarian citizens can enter Germany by land without restrictions but could face restrictions when travelling by plane.

Both the Hungarian consulate and the Hungarian website Travel Vacation Info have detailed information on where Hungarian citizens can currently travel. While there are plenty of countries allowing travel already, those in Hungary wishing to travel freely throughout the EU with the Covid Certificate must wait until the Hungarian government makes it accessible.

Hungary Opens Most Schengen Borders, Air Travel Restrictions Remain
Hungary Opens Most Schengen Borders, Air Travel Restrictions Remain

The only neighboring country of origin which still has restrictions on travel into Hungary is Ukraine.Continue reading

In its June 30 report, the coronavirus operative board announced that  Hungary would introduce the necessary update for its digital Covid certificate on July first, making it eligible for the EU Covid Certificate just on time. This is now the third time the government has rescheduled its planned release of the update, which is strange considering that RTL News was told in mid-June that it is already complete.

Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI