To help! I travel to Europe. All the required documentation is dizzying

I know vaccinated Americans are not required to self-quarantine when visiting France, but are they required to take a Covid test – either on their way there or on their way home? And although I have updated my Clear app to show that I have been vaccinated, I don’t know who is responsible for looking at it: is it the airline during check-in, an agent during check-in? security or someone on the ground when you land? Bob

Once upon a time, the requirements for traveling abroad were not so complicated: always a passport, sometimes a visa.

Today, leaving one country and entering another means facing confusing rules and restrictions that continue to change as borders reopen and travel resumes.

Americans will face various health protocols while traveling abroad. France is allowing vaccinated visitors from a short list of “green” countries – including the United States – to enter without restrictions. Greece and Lebanon are too. But since January, anyone traveling to the United States has been required to take a Covid test within three days of their flight. This applies to residents and visitors, vaccinated and unvaccinated, alike.

Although vaccination requirements are set by countries, not airlines, airlines do not allow passengers to check in for international flights without first verifying the required documents, including vaccination records and virus screening tests.

What that means logistically depends on the airline – and sometimes the airport. Passengers on Delta Air Lines flights, for example, will have their documents checked in person by a check-in agent and again by a boarding agent before boarding. United Airlines passengers are allowed to check in after the necessary documents have been verified in person or online at United’s Travel-Ready Center, an online hub that tells confirmed ticket holders what is required, depending of their destination. (The digital option allows die-hard carry-ons to get a boarding pass without in-person screening at the airport.)

Depending on a multitude of factors, including where you are going and the layout of airports, you should also expect to produce proof of vaccination at other touchpoints along the ‘get there’ leg. travel, including customs and immigration after landing.

There are a bunch of new digital health card initiatives that verify and store vaccination records and test results, including one from Clear, the biometrics company. Digital passes provide another layer of protection and allow you to easily show proof of vaccination when asked, whether by a check-in agent at an airport or a host at a restaurant where meals at inside are reserved for vaccinated customers. But since digital passes are not standardized at this point and are accepted at a venue’s discretion, it’s also important to always have your physical card with you when travelling. Treat it like a passport or driver’s license; as in, something you’d never leave home without and something you’re asked to bring out regularly on command when traveling.

In addition to vaccination records and test results, many international destinations also require health declaration forms to be completed prior to arrival. The Delta Discover Map is a handy online tool to keep the dizzying mess of what’s needed and where straight.

My husband and I have purchased plane tickets to the UK and Copenhagen for the end of September. In the fine print of Denmark’s updated policies, “fully vaccinated” is defined as: “You must have received your last dose of vaccination at least 14 days, but not more than 180 days, before travelling”. But because my husband was vaccinated in early February, he will be outside the 180 days when we visit. Which give? Alanna

Denmark has reopened to fully vaccinated American travelers and those from several other countries. But as if to underline the ragtag, in the changing nature of travel background in the Covid era, the rules have evolved further over the next few weeks. Getting started: When I emailed Visit Denmark, the country’s tourism organization, a spokesperson directed me to the Danish Health Authority’s press office, where a spokesperson told me directed me to the Department of Foreign Affairs, where a spokeswoman directed me to the Department of Justice.

A few days later, a spokesperson for the Danish Ministry of Health sent an email with news: As of July 2, vaccinations are now “valid” for 12 months.

Long story short: regardless of their desired destination, travelers should expect country-by-country requirements to change, so it’s important to keep checking for updates and booking tickets that can be changed or cancelled. without penalty.

This winter, while living in Barbados, I received two properly spaced doses of Covishield, the version of the AstraZeneca vaccine that was made in India, along with a temporary vaccination certificate that includes my US passport number and other essential information. I am planning a trip to Germany and Italy in September, and am wondering if the European Union will recognize my vaccination certificate in Barbados. To M

The Barbados Ministry of Health and Welfare is in the process of issuing electronic certificates to all vaccinated people in the country, including those who initially received temporary certificates. The new certificates will have a barcode and security seal and can be requested by phone or email.

Although Covishield was approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization in February, it has not yet been formally authorized by the European Medicines Agency, the branch of the European Union that oversees the scientific evaluation of drugs and vaccines. In contrast, the vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, as well as the version of the AstraZeneca vaccine that was made in Europe, have all been authorized by the EMA These are also the four that have been approved by the European Commission for EU Digital COVID Certificate, designed to make traveling within Europe easier.

When considering who is allowed to enter for non-essential travel, some European countries are still drawing directly from this list. But because each country can also choose whether or not to accept other vaccines as proof of immunity, Germany, Iceland, Belgium and a growing list of others, including France, now accept Covishield. Italy is not yet, but travelers from elsewhere in Europe can also be tested for the virus to enter, even if they do not have the necessary proof of vaccination.

In an email, a spokesperson for the EMA specifies that the agency “has not received a marketing authorization request for Covishield. If there were to be a change, we would communicate on this subject. .

“The decision to enter the EU is a matter for the Member States,” a European Commission spokesperson said in an email. “However, in order to ensure a coordinated approach across the EU, the Commission is discussing these vaccines – those which correspond to the vaccines authorized by the EMA and the vaccines listed by the WHO – with the Member States within the committee. health security.”

In short, watch Italy and other EU countries closely as they may add Covishield to their lists of vaccines proving immunity and exempting travelers from testing and quarantine.

Sam D. Gomez