UK to Introduce Electronic Travel Authorisations; EU Reaches Deal on Digital COVID-19 Certificates

EU Flags at BerlinBoth the UK and the EU have announced their plans to introduce digital travel authorizations to screen arrivals.

UK home secretary Priti Patel has announced that the country will introduce electronic travel authorizations for those who wish to enter the country who are not British or Irish citizens.

Visitors and transit passengers who do not currently need a visa for short stays, or who do not already have an immigration status prior to travelling, will be required to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), which will allow security checks to be conducted to see whether individuals should be granted permission to travel to the UK. This is part of the government’s goal to fully digitize end-to-end customer travel, and will be tested in autumn of 2021, as reported by Business Travel News Europe.

Meanwhile, the EU has reached a deal for digital COVID-19 certificates, opening up travel barriers for countries in the Union, according to the Washington Post.

Travellers who have been vaccinated, recently tested negative, or recovered from the disease can prove their status using the certificate, which will come into effect on 01JUL 2021. Some European countries are already testing the system of travel passes, which will be known officially as E.U. Digital Covid Certificates. Individual countries will issue the certificates, which will serve as a digital proof of vaccination, a negative test or of recovery from the coronavirus.

But some key details remain unresolved, and the deal set up a structure for the passes while leaving individual countries to sort out the challenges. National health authorities will be responsible for verifying existing proofs of vaccination, many of which are on paper and which may be forged. In addition, policymakers have not yet determined what kind of past coronavirus infection makes a person low-risk.

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