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How to get a Covid ‘recovery certificate’ in Austria to comply with EU travel scheme

How to get a Covid 'recovery certificate' in Austria to comply with EU travel scheme
A close up of a vaccination card as a doctor enters details about a Covid jab. How do you prove you have had the virus in Austria? Photo: INA FASSBENDER / AFP
Residents in Austria can now get a special certificate to prove they have recovered from Covid-19 that will comply with the EU's Covid-19 certificates in order to enable travel within the bloc this summer. Here's what you need to know.

The EU has decided certain kinds of proof of a previous coronavirus infection,  will not be accepted for the EU’s Covid Pass  even though they are allowed in Austria.

The new EU Covid Pass, expected to be launched in July, will be needed by Austrian residents who want to travel abroad to other EU countries this summer.

In Austria, currently a paper “separation notice” (Absonderungsbescheid) or a doctor’s note can currently be used to prove that you have recovered from Covid-19 and avoid the testing or vaccination requirement to enter venues and events.

The notice is issued by medical officers in Austria, and allows employees has to stay at home in quarantine for 10 days on full pay in the event of a Covid-19 infection. 

You can also show the results of an antibody test. 

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But according to the EU draft ordinance, proof of recovery can only be based on a previous positive PCR test for Covid-19 (see below). In Austria, this is done when laboratories confirm a positive Covid-19 test result and send the results to the epidemiological reporting system (EMS). 

So Austria has moved to create recovery certificates, that will be complete with a QR code, that will comply with the EU travel scheme and can ONLY be obtained by anyone who has had a positive Covid test.

For those who have had Covid but never tested positive for it they will only be able to travel if hey get a negative PCR test or are fully vaccinated.

Recovery certificates to be created

From May 31st onwards, “recovery certificates” for will be created from laboratory testing data, and will be issued after Austria’s Green Pass starts at the beginning of June. From June onwards, everyone should have access to their recovery certificate.

I have been diagnosed as Covid-19 positive. When do I get my certificate? And how long will it last for?

The certificates can only be issued eleven days after an infection and should be valid for six months. It will contain data such as name, date of birth, date and place of the first positive test result, start and end of validity as well as information about the issuer. 

What information is on the certificate? 

The certificates can either be obtained as a PDF file with a QR code and information such as the holder’s full name and date of infection, or only as a QR code without information which identifies the certificate holder, according to the Ministry of Health. 

How do I get a digital certificate?

For people who have been infected with Covid-19 and have been recorded in the EMS in Austria, a recovery certificate is automatically created and made available to the recovered person via the Gesundheit.gv.at platform.

A mobile phone signature or citizen card is required to log in to the electronic health record (ELGA) and thus to retrieve the certificate.

You can find out how to get a mobile phone signature here.

How do I get a paper certificate? 

You can have your digital recovery certificate printed out free of charge via the municipalities or  district administrative authorities or the ELGA ombudsman. It is still under discussion over whether it might also be possible in the future to get a free printout of test and vaccination certificates directly at the test and vaccination centres.

Will these new digital certificates be mandatory in Austria?

If you are in Austria, you can still show either a separation notice, a doctor’s confirmation of an infection with Covid-19 or evidence that you have tested positive for antibodies. The new certificates will not be mandatory. 

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A support point will be set up

For the time being, it is unclear how to proceed if there is an error and despite a positive Covid-19 test, the entry in EMS is not made or is delayed. Details will follow. However, according to the Epidemic Act, incorrect certificates must be corrected and reissued within five days. 

Inquiries about Austria’s “Green Pass” can already be made via the AGES telephone hotline (0800 555 621).

What are the penalties for showing fake documents? 

Showing false evidence that you have recovered, tested negative for or been vaccinated against Covid-19 is punishable by an administrative fine of up to €500 and could result in criminal charges in Austria.

Useful vocabulary

Green pass: Grüner Pass

Recovery certificate: Genesungszertifikate 

Epidemiological reporting system (EMS) – Epidemiologische Meldesystem

Separation notice – Absonderungsbescheid

Antibodies – Antikörper


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