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Paper, plastic or digital: How will Austria’s coronavirus immunity card work?

The Local Austria
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Paper, plastic or digital: How will Austria’s coronavirus immunity card work?
Who can enter Switzerland right now? Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

Austria will implement its coronavirus immunity card, giving vaccinated people access to bars, restaurants and events, by May 19th. This is what you can expect.


Austria has been one of Europe's leaders when it comes to the coronavirus immunity card. 

Set to begin on May 19th, here's what we know about the proposal so far. 

What is the 'green pass'?

Austria’s immunity pass - nicknamed ‘green pass’ after a similar idea in Israel - will give people who have been vaccinated, tested negative and recently healed from the virus certain privileges. 

It will be up and running by May 19th, when the country steps out of the nationwide lockdown.

Austria will introduce the pass before a similar idea is introduced at EU level, meaning that for most Austrians it will be introduced in phases.

While the project has also been in development at a European level, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is one of its major advocates.

In a press conference on April 26th, Kurz said he wanted Austria to be a “pioneer” of this plan.

Kurz also indicated Austria will have the plan ready in the coming weeks and did not want to wait for the EU before implementing it.


First phase: May 19th

The first phase of the green pass will be May 19th - just in time for Austria’s nationwide lockdown loosening.

READ MORE: Austria to relax most coronavirus measures on May 19th

At this stage, “it will not be much more than normal proof of vaccination, testing and recovery”, reports Austria’s Der Standard newspaper.

In that sense, the early phase of the green pass is expected to be similar to the existing proof needed to visit hairdressers in most Austrian states - and bars and restaurants in the state of Vorarlberg.

It is not expected to be required for retail, however.

This means that the early phase of the green pass will simply be paper or electronic proof of vaccination, negative test or a recent coronavirus infection.

If you already have your Austrian vaccination passport (Impfpass), the vaccination will be added to that. If you do not, you will receive evidence when you are vaccinated. 

More information is available at the following link 

EXPLAINED: How can I prove I’ve been vaccinated to access pubs and hairdressers in Austria?

Second phase: early to mid-June

The second phase will see the pass incorporate a QR code, which will make it easier and quicker to scan people into events and bars and restaurants.

This will be usable through smart phones, but Austrian media also reports it will be usable in paper form.

An exact date has not been set for this, however Austrian media reports it is expected to be two to three weeks after May 19th’s first phase.

Third phase: Europe

The third phase of the plan will involve a continent-wide scheme which will give holders rights to travel.

This has sometimes been termed the ‘green passport’ and will not only allow people to travel, but is expected to be ready to allow people to visit bars, restaurants, events and close contact services (i.e. hairdressers) in other countries.

No set date has been given for this but it is expected to be ready in time for summer.

EXPLAINED: What is Austria's compulsory testing requirement for visiting hairdressers?

Wasn’t this supposed to be introduced in April?

Austria had previously announced that the card would be released in April, but the plan was blocked by opposition parties in Austrian parliament.

As a result, it will now be introduced in three stages from May 19th.


Useful vocabulary

Impfpass - vaccination pass

Impfkarte - vaccination card

Impfpass - vaccination certificate

Impfung - vaccination

Handysignatur - Mobile phone signature

Grüner Pass - Green pass (digital certificate)

Eintrittsberechtigung - entry authorisation


Comments (1)

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Anonymous 2021/05/07 20:50
When will us Americans be allowed back into Austria? I’m born & raised in Austria howe er am an American Citizen since shortly after birth. My husband and I have been fully vaccinated since mid March 2021 and really would like to go home to visit. I still have my family home there to stay.
  • Anonymous 2021/05/13 11:07
    Same for us. Just waiting. Hoping to see family before they die of old age. EVERYONE on both ends is vaccinated. This is getting stupid. Hopefully, they'll accept our CDC cards.

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