Iceland will start issuing digital "vaccination certificates" to citizens who have received two vaccine shots, allowing them to travel without worrying about pesky border restrictions, the government announced earlier this week.
The country will also recognize vaccine passports from qualified incoming travelers who show proof they have received both shots, replacing the need to test negative for COVID-19 or quarantine.
For Icelandic residents, the vaccine certificate will be available online and "in accordance with existing European standards and the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis," commonly referred to as the "Yellow Card." As of this week, about 4,500 people in Iceland had received their second vaccination shot, according to the government.
"The aim is to facilitate the movement of people between countries so that individuals can present a vaccine certificate at the border and be exempt from COVID-19 border measures in accordance with the rules of the country concerned," the government wrote in its advisory on Monday.
While vaccinated travelers from other countries will be excused from testing or quarantine rules upon arrival in Iceland, the government cautioned a vaccine does not automatically qualify someone to visit the country's majestic waterfalls or picture-perfect geothermal lagoons.
Non-EU citizens, including from the United States, are currently not allowed to visit Iceland.
Recognizing vaccination records is an extension of Iceland's decision In December to allow qualified travelers to skip the country's mandatory quarantine and testing requirements if they showed proof they had previously tested positive for the coronavirus and recovered. Otherwise, visitors to the country are required to get tested twice: once upon arrival, followed by a five to six-day quarantine, before getting tested again. The policy will remain in place until at least May 1, the government noted.
The concept of using vaccine passports has been growing in popularity as the shots begin to roll out across the world. Last week, the Seychelles, the gorgeous islands of the eastern coast of Africa, said it would welcome fully vaccinated travelers from any nation, but also require travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test.
Additionally, Israel, which has administered the first dose of the vaccine to more than 30% of its population, will issue "green passports" to those who have received both doses, The Wall Street Journal reported. These certificates will allow vaccinated Israelis to go to restaurants and other public places.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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