What to do if your digital COVID certificate expires before your holiday

What to do if your digital COVID certificate expires before your holiday

With the summer holidays approaching, many people will be feeling excited about the prospect of taking a trip abroad. But receiving a notification that your digital COVID certificate is about to expire might throw a spanner in the works. If you need to get your proof of vaccination sorted before heading to the airport, what should you do? 

What’s going on with COVID certificate expiry dates?

Many people in Germany are currently receiving notifications on their mobile phones that their digital COVID certificate is about to expire. 

If this is you, don’t panic. The Robert Koch Institute has confirmed that the message concerns only the technical validity of the vaccination certificate, which has been set to expire automatically after 365 days. You will receive a notification 28 days before this is due to happen. Your proof of vaccination itself is not affected. 

How can I renew my digital COVID certificate?

The Robert Koch Institute has released an update that allows users to renew their certificates in the Corona-Warn-App and CovPass app in just a few clicks. It is being rolled out to all users in stages over the coming days. 

When it becomes available to you, make sure to update your app to the latest version and, when prompted, tap "renew certificate" to automatically replace your certificate. This works for both recovery and vaccination certificates that are eligible for renewal. You need to make sure to do this within 90 days of the certificate expiring.  

What if I have a holiday booked soon?

Of course, if you’re due to jet off soon, the prospect of having an out-of-date COVID certificate will be making you feel a bit nervous. In exceptional cases like these, where you need to travel before the update becomes available, your pharmacy should be able to help. 

Pharmacies in Germany are able to use the data in a user’s CovPass app to issue a new QR code that can then be read as a new digital certificate. However, to avoid overloading pharmacies when an easy solution to the problem will be available very soon, the Ministry of Health has urged people to wait if they can. 

Alternatively, you could also take along your printed vaccination certificate, or your yellow vaccine pass, as proof of vaccination. Bear in mind, however, that some countries might not accept these documents. 

Do I need to get another vaccination? 

That depends on how many jabs you have already had. In the European Union, anyone with a booster shot is currently considered permanently vaccinated, and so you do not need to do anything.

However, if you haven’t had a booster shot, you need to bear in mind that within the EU double vaccination (known as “basic immunisation”) is only valid for a maximum of 270 days. Once this period has expired, travellers will be considered unvaccinated. For children and young people under the age of 18, however, basic immunisation is valid indefinitely. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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