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The European Union’s COVID Certificate (EUDCC) has been officially activated throughout the entire European Union. EU citizens in possession of such a ‘vaccine passport’ can travel anywhere within the Schengen Area without worrying about restrictions (but it is still best to double check). Hungary made the EU document accessible Wednesday evening both digitally and physically.

The coronavirus operative board announced in a report on July 1 that the EU certificate is available in English and Hungarian, digitally and on paper. It recommends the document to citizens who wish to travel within the union.

An Easily Accessible Key to the Complex State of EU Travel

The immunity certificate does not substitute a passport or other travel document and is available in all EU countries. It contains:

  • The holder’s name and date of birth
  • The date and time that the certificate was provided
  • Information related to vaccination, tests, and recovery
  • A unique identifier
  • And a QR code

Those who wish to access the EUDCC can download it, print it out, or request it at a government office for free.

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In order to download the certificate, Hungarians must have first downloaded the National eHealth Infrastructure (EESZT) mobile application. In the Apple App store, it is called EESZT Lakossági, while on the Google Play store it is called EESZT alkalmazás. Users must log-in with their Client Gate (Ügyfélkapu) account and password.

The government’s report states that the updates necessary for the certificate’s mobile application have already happened but are currently unavailable. More information on the versions compatible with the European Union can be found on eeszt.gov.hu.

The report adds that the QR code can only be scanned with the EESZT Covid Control app’s EU compatible version once the application is updated.

Given the complications with the application, it may be easier for now to simply print the document out. In order to do this, one must open the National eHealth Infrastructure’s Residential Portal at eeszt.gov.hu/hu/nyito-oldal then log-in with their TAJ number. After this the Client Gate can be accessed, where the document can be downloaded and printed.

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The third, lengthier option is to access a paper version of the document through a government office or through a family doctor. Appointments do not need to be scheduled at government offices. Vaccination, PCR test, and recovery certifications can all be accessed, and are immediately provided upon being requested.

Who in Hungary Can Access the EU Digital COVID Certificate?

The EU Digital COVID Certificate is accessible to individuals if they can provide proof of vaccination against the virus, if they can provide a negative PCR test, or if they can prove that they have recovered from the virus through a PCR or antigen test 15-180 days old.

It is up to other EU member states to decide whether they are willing to accept visitors inoculated with vaccines not authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). These include Sputnik V and Sinopharm, which 1.9 million Hungarians recieved.

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People vaccinated with Sputnik or Sinopharm who do not want to pay for a PCR test can still travel to certain countries. Not only has Hungary made bilateral travel agreements with countries within and outside of the EU, but multiple EU countries have already decided to allow visitors inoculated with the so-called ‘eastern vaccines.’

Telex shared interactive maps based off the European Commission’s information on where people can travel according to the vaccine they received.

Fewer Travel Options for Sinopharm and Sputnik Vaccinations

Those vaccinated with Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Janssen have the most opportunities for unrestricted travel, followed by Sinopharm, which is authorized by the World Health Organization. Sputnik V, which has neither WHO nor EMA approval, has the lowest acceptance of all vaccines in the EU.

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444 summarized the Hungarian Foreign Ministry’s report that:

  • 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.

With the EUDCC coming into effect throughout the entire European Union, tourism has effectively reopened for Hungary, both inwards and outwards. As it is on par with the Hungarian immunity certificate, EU citizens with the passport will have the same benefits in Hungary as vaccinated Hungarian citizens. Whether this is a good idea considering recent outbreaks of Covid’s Delta variant remains to be seen.

In the same manner, Hungarians, who will be travelling from a so-called ‘green zone’ thanks to the lack of an outbreak, will have access to tourism in other EU countries if they present an EU certificate.

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Still, anyone who decides to travel anywhere should double-check whether they will in fact have no restrictions upon entry. Travelers should also check which documents they must provide. It may be helpful to look at the information provided on the Hungarian consulate’s website as well as the Hungarian website Travel Vacation Info.

Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI