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Iceland Becomes First Schengen Country to Grant COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates

Starting from January 21, 2021, Iceland authorities will issue ‘COVID-19 vaccination certificates’ to all Icelandic citizens who receive the second jab of the vaccine against the virus.

Iceland thus becomes the first country in the Schengen Area to initiate the practice of issuing these documents to persons vaccinated against COVID-19, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The decision has been announced by the Ministry of Health, which at the same time explained that the Office of the Medical Director of Health has been working on an electronic solution that enables people to obtain a vaccination certificate online – heilsuvera.is – which is now available and those vaccinated can receive their certificate through the same.

“The aim is to facilitate the movement of people between countries so that individuals can present a vaccine certificate at the border and are then exempt from COVID-19 disease control measures in accordance with the rules of the country concerned,” the Ministry of Health notes in a press release on the move.

It also notes that the certificates will be substantive and in accordance with existing European standards and the international rules on vaccination certificates. They also meet the guidelines of the Chief Epidemiologist.

Iceland has also decided to recognize all ‘COVID-19 vaccination certificates’ that will soon be issued by any of the EEA/EFTA countries. Travellers that reach Iceland’s points of entry and hold a document that proves they have been vaccinated in any of these countries will be exempt from official border control measures and are therefore not obliged to go through border screening procedures.

About ten months ago, SchengenVisaInfo.com had warned that once a vaccine against the Coronavirus is approved and available, the EU would make it a requirement in order to permit travel throughout its territory. The information had been confirmed by an EU official, who had also noted that proof of vaccination would also be required for applying for a visa to any of the Schengen/EU countries.

Now, an increasing number of European Union and Schengen Area Member States have announced their plans on issuing such certificates to their citizens, including Spain and Denmark. The same also plan to remove travel restrictions for those holding proof they have been vaccinated.

A common ‘vaccination certificate’ may even be introduced by the EU Commission for the Member States to adopt, after the Greek OM Kyriakos Mitsotakis sent a letter to the Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen, urging her to initiate the establishment of such a document in order to facilitate travel between the bloc.

In early December 2020, Cyprus had announced that by March 2021, its border authorities would permit to enter anyone who can show proof that he/she has been vaccinated, in addition to the regular entry requirements (passports, visas, etc.)

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