Northern Ireland news

Confusion over whether Irish passport holders in Northern Ireland can avail of EU travel certificate

The EU digital travel certificate will be issued to people who have either been vaccinated, produced a negative Covid test or recovered from the virus in the past six months.
Seanín Graham

CONFUSION remains as to whether Irish passport holders in Northern Ireland can avail of a 'green certificate' to allow them to travel to EU countries from the Republic this summer.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Dublin were unable to comment on northerners' eligibility for the free "EU digital Covid certificate", which was announced last month and paves the way for summer holidays across the 27 member countries.

The digital pass can be scanned at an airport and indicates if a traveller has either been vaccinated, produced a negative Covid test or has recovered from the virus in the past six months.

International travel restrictions in the Republic are set to be eased on July 19.

Sources say it was anticipated there would "mutual recognition" for northerners with Irish passports.

The DFA spokeswoman confirmed that a government working group is finalising the initiative's details and how it will be rolled out.

She added that the certificate will play a "significant role" in the proposed new international measures " based on the evolving epidemiological situation".

Meanwhile, the Department of Health in Northern Ireland confirmed it is continuing to develop a 'Covid-free status Validation Service (CVS)' certificate for travel.

It is understood this will be a paper document and it expected to be available next month.

The department spokeswoman said: "This will allow NI residents to provide verified proof of vaccination, and other accepted standards, where required. This development will take into account emerging World Health Organisation and EU common standards for Covid status certificates."

In relation to the EU Covid certificate, the European Commission will have a system allowing member states to verify each other's documents in place but individual countries have to prepare their own structures to issue the certificates to their residents.

The DFA spokeswoman added: "It is important to note that the EU Digital Covid Certificate is not a travel document and possession will not be a precondition to exercise free movement rights.

"The certificate will be issued and accepted in all EU Member States. Individual member states will determine how the EU Digital Covid Certificate will be used as part of national public health measures.

"Over the coming weeks the Department of An Taoiseach, the Department of Health and the HSE, Department of Justice, OGCIO, Department of Foreign Affairs, Government Information Services, and Department of Transport will continue to develop the technical aspects and supporting operational procedures, legal instruments, and a communications campaign required to support the certificate system."

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