What is the vaccination certificate and how to get one for travel in Portugal?
Portugal has already started issuing digital vaccination certificates, in some cases also known as vaccination passports in Portugal. As of Thursday 17th June 2021, it has also been possible to request PCR test and recovery certificates on the SNS24 (health service) portal in Portugal. The document aims to facilitate citizens' movement within the European Union and limit additional travel restrictions, such as testing or quarantine. The COVID-19 digital certificates are free of charge for residents in Portugal.
Get your vaccine passport in Portugal on the SS24 website
In a joint statement, the Ministry of Health, the General Directorate of Health in Portugal (DGS) and the Ministry of Health's Shared Services explain that to obtain the digital certificate, the citizen should access the SNS24 portal, follow the instructions and choose the type of certificate he/she wants.
After validation of the request, the document is made available on the portal or can be sent to the indicated email address, without any associated costs. It is issued in Portuguese and English. In the joint note, the authorities clarify that, "soon it will be possible to obtain the certificates on other platforms, as well as access the certificate of rapid molecular tests".
What is a vaccine passport?
While Portugal is already issuing its vaccine certificate or vaccine passport, it's not yet clear what the exact rules and regulations will be and when the document will be required. Similar to a national passport, the Portugal vaccine passport could potentially allow the holder entrance to venues for a concert, sporting event or festival, for example, as well as potentially allowing travellers and tourists from other countries to enter Portugal for a holiday. These details ar however not confirmed.
Digital certificates can be used in all EU Member States
According to DGS guidance, digital vaccination certificates issued in Portugal can be used in all EU Member States, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The EU's digital COVID-19 certificate, which proves (negative) testing, vaccination or recovery from COVID-19, "will also be open to comparable initiatives being developed by third countries or international organisations", says the DGS.
The health authority recalls, however, that the certificate "may not exempt the respective holders, depending on the worsening of the epidemiological situation, from complying with additional public health measures upon arrival in the Member State of destination of the trip".
The document has a QR code with the essential data required and which is used "to securely verify the authenticity, integrity and validity of the certificate", the health authority reminds citizens, adding that the certificate will have information such as "name, date of birth, date of issue and relevant information about the vaccination, test or recovery".