Turkey added to Europe's COVID-19 travel passport scheme
The European Union will accept Turkish COVID-19 certificates as of Friday, the European Commission announced Thursday, Daily Sabah reported.
The EU executive body adopted equivalence decisions for the COVID-19 certificates issued by the authorities of Turkey, North Macedonia, and Ukraine.
With the decision, Turkey joins the bloc’s COVID-19 pass system ensuring free travel to and within the bloc.
People holding a COVID-19 certificate issued by Turkey will be allowed to travel into the bloc with the same conditions as EU citizens as of Friday.
In return, EU citizens will also be able to use their COVID-19 passes when entering Turkey.
“As we fight the pandemic together, our partners are also an integral part of opening up safely together,” EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi commented on the decision, welcoming Turkey, Ukraine, and North Macedonia in the bloc's Digital COVID Certificate system.
Designed to help citizens travel across the 27-nation bloc and open up summer tourism, the digital COVID-19 certificate was launched as of July.
The certificate, which can be on a smartphone or printed out, takes the form of a QR-code, which indicates if a traveler has received all the recommended doses of vaccine approved by the European Medicine Agency (EMA), has a recent negative test result or immunity due to recent recovery from a COVID-19 infection.
It was designed to be free of charge, issued and valid in all EU countries, and set out in the national language and in English.
The system also extends to non-EU countries of the border-free Schengen zone – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The EMA-authorized vaccines are the products of pharma companies Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, CureVac, and Johnson&Johnson.
In practical terms, it means that Turkish citizens who have received both jabs of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines more than 14 days ago, or those who can prove with former COVID-19 tests that they had recovered, may enter the bloc without further restrictions.
Those, who have not been vaccinated will have to take a test, while those inoculated with Sinovac will have to check the entry requirements at the destination country.