Covid-19 Green Passport initiative tested in Portugal

With summer fast approaching, European governments are looking to welcome tourists once again amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to mitigate the virus’ propagation and facilitate safe movement within Europe, the European Union has proposed to implement a Digital Green Certificate. This Certificate will serve as proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19. 

It will be free of charge, available as a paper or a digital document, with a QR code carrying encoded data that would be uploaded to the central system to allow verification in other EU countries through a single gateway. The European Union has stated that no one will be obliged to use the certificate.

To this date, only vaccines approved by the EMA (European Medicine Agency) are considered valid (Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen, AstraZeneca, BioNTech, Valneva, and Novavax). Other vaccines such as the CoronaVac are currently being under review by the EMA.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate Regulation went into effect on July 1, 2021. EU residents and citizens are now able to have their Digital Green Certificates issued and verified within the EU. 

JUNE 2022 Update: in most cases now you do not need to show your proof of vaccination when entering Portugal, but that you should always check with your country of origin before traveling to Portugal.

EU Digital Covid Certificate in Portugal

The Portuguese National Health Service Contact Center SNS24 has l been used to develop the EU Digital Covid Certificate. Their website has a form where you may enter all of the necessary information. It will then provide you with the access code to download the certificate.

Certificates can be kept in PDF format on their mobile device or printed and folded into a passport-sized wallet that fits in a wallet.

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Information on the EU Digital COVID Certificate

Only the holder’s identity, date of birth, issuing member state, and vaccination brand are displayed on the certificate.

It is available in both English and Portuguese and may be distributed to the following individuals:

  • Vaccinated individuals;
  • People who have recently recovered from the virus;
  • Citizens who have recently obtained a negative PCR test in the last 72 hours.

The Portuguese General Health Authority certifies that personal data is incorporated in the appropriate certificates in line with the provisions of the EU COVID-19 Digital Certificate Data Protection Regulation.

Digitize the QR code and check the signature when confirming the certificate. Each body that issues documents (such as a testing facility, hospital, or health authority) has its own digital signature key. All of these are recorded in each country’s database.

Who can request the EU Digital Covid Certificate?

Anyone who has a National Health Service (SNS) number in Portugal can request the EU Digital Covid Certificate if:

  • They have received the vaccination against Covid-19;
  • They have a negative antigen test result within the last 48 hours (TRAg) or 72 hours (TAAN);
  • They have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 6 months.

Only certificates demonstrating complete vaccination for at least 14 days (one or two doses, depending on the vaccine) are accepted.

Foreign nationals who do not have an SNS user number

Without a user number, those with foreign citizenship (immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers) can self-schedule the COVID-19 vaccination. After completing the online form, the Direço-Geral da Sade (DGS) will call them to examine their condition and arrange the procedure. They should next proceed to the DGS-recommended health unit to finish the process of obtaining an SNS user number, which may subsequently be used to apply for the EU Digital Covid Certificate.

How to request the EU Digital Covid Certificate

How to request the EU Digital Covid Certificate?

There are three types of Covid-19 certificates:

  1. Vaccination Certificate – confirms that the individual has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and is valid for 14 days after full vaccination and up to 270 days (9 months), after which it must be reissued.
  2. Recovery Certificate – this document indicates that the individual has recovered from COVID-19 and is valid for up to 180 days (6 months) from the day the person received a positive laboratory test result. It can be given on the TraceCOVID-19 platform 11 days after the test and with the condition “Cured.”
  3. Testing Certificate – demonstrates that the individual has been tested for COVID-19 and is valid for 48 hours (antigen test – TRAg) or 72 hours (TAAN test) from the date or time of taking the test.

Ways you can request the EU Digital Covid Certificate: online and in person.

If online, visit the government`s SNS 24 portal. There you have to select the sort of certificate you wish to obtain (vaccination, testing, or recovery), fill in your date of birth and user number, then click “submit.” You will be sent an access code through SMS or email, which you must input on the same page.

Please keep in mind that the access code is only valid for one time. A unique code will be generated each time you attempt to access your certificate. After the certificate request has been validated, it is accessible for download on the portal in both Portuguese and English.

You can also use the SNS 24 application (available for Android and iOS) to request a certificate online.

If you apply in person, you have to do it through assisted services where you can obtain a printed certificate version:

The certificate can be delivered in either digital or print form. The certificates include a QR code that can be read by a machine or the Covid Pass app (available for Android and iOS) and provides only the essential information.

The rules for entering Portugal with or without an EU Digital COVID certificate issued by an EU Member State or a Schengen Associated country

Passengers under 12 years old are exempt from presenting the EU Digital COVID Certificate or testing requirements. Passengers aged 12 and older entering mainland Portugal by air must continue to provide a valid EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) or comparable document including any of the information listed below:

  • Vaccination certificate

Valid for 14 to 270 days following the whole main vaccine series, or until further notice after the booster dose. The main vaccine series is still in effect for those under the age of 18.

  • Covid-19 recovery proof

Validity: 11 to 180 days after getting the positive result of a COVIS-19 test.

  • A pre-departure test negative result

Accepted tests include molecular (PCR) testing that is valid for 72 hours and quick antigen tests with a 24-hour validity period, based on the European Commission’s list of rapid antigen tests.

Passengers arriving in Portugal by air or sea without an EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) or similar must take a pre-departure molecular antigen-negative test or rapid test within 72 hours, with a validity period of 24 hours. Land travelers entering Portugal are not required to show confirmation of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test result. They must fulfill all of the transit countries’ standards.

Note that domestic flights are exempt from control measures. Children under the age of 12 are excused from providing proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or negative test findings.

The rules for entering Portugal from a country other than an EU Member State or a Schengen Associated Country

Travelers from any country can enter Portugal by air or water without further restrictions provided they present a valid EU Digital COVID Certificate or comparable papers including one of the following:

  • Vaccination certificate

Valid 14 to 270 days following the whole main vaccine series, or until further notice after the booster dose. The main vaccine series is still in effect for those under the age of 18.

  • Covid-19 recovery proof

Validity: 11 to 180 days after getting the positive result of a COVIS-19 test.

  • A pre-departure test negative result

Accepted tests include molecular (PCR) testing that is valid for 72 hours and quick antigen tests with a 24-hour validity period, based on the European Commission’s list of rapid antigen tests.

Travelers entering Portugal by air or sea who do not have a EUDCC or a comparable document must submit a negative result to a 72-hour pre-departure molecular test or a 24-hour quick antigen test from the European Commission’s list of fast antigen testing options.

Domestic flights are exempt from control measures. Children under the age of 12 are excused from having to give proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test result.

National use of COVID-19 Certificates and health measures

Access to public locations in mainland Portugal does not require documentation of complete vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test result.

Facemasks in Portugal are required on public transportation, as well as in health care institutions and nursing homes. Rules for behavior such as keeping social distance and frequent hand washing must also be followed. 

The COVID-19 health situation in Portugal

As of the end of June, Portugal had more than 5.1 million cases and over 24,000 deaths.

Portugal currently has the highest vaccination rate in continental Europe, with more than 87 percent of the population completely vaccinated.