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Digital vaccine certificate/QR code for Americans in Netherlands?

I have a trip to Netherlands and Belgium booked for the end of March and I'm checking to make sure that I can meet all the covid vaccine/testing requirements before booking anything nonrefundable. (Flying to/from Amsterdam from California) I've read that people need the CoronaCheck app to get into restaurants and museums, but US citizens can't get it. I also looked into the EU Digital COVID Certificate but it doesn't look like I can get that either.

From looking at previous posts in this board I saw that not all museums and restaurants in Amsterdam will ask for the CoronaCheck app QR code but some places like the Rijksmuseum require it and will not accept the CDC vaccine card.

Any advice? Are there any other vaccine apps that the Netherlands accepts? I have considered changing my flights to go to Paris instead since it looks like their Pass Sanitaire is much easier to get for US citizens. It would also be easy to change my flights to Paris (I booked through United, they promised no change fees) and I could potentially keep my Belgium hotel reservations. But I was really hoping to go to Amsterdam.

Posted by
876 posts

Why can't you get the Corona Check app? We were able to download it in Canada for our trip to the Netherlands. Is it blocked in the US?

Posted by
10 posts

How were you able to use the app? Did you get a Digid?

I downloaded the app and tried to add my vaccine card info. It said I needed to log in via Digid. I went to the Digid website and read that only citizens of the Netherlands or EU could get a Digid. As far as I could tell there was no way to add vaccine card info without a Digid. I just deleted the app but I guess I could try again.

Posted by
10 posts

This is where I got stuck at. After trying to add my international vaccine card, it said I needed a DigiD. I tapped on "I don't have a DigiD" and it redirected me out of the app to the apply for a DigiD website: https://www.digid.nl/en/apply-or-activate-digid/

"Do you live abroad? And do you have the Dutch nationality or the nationality of another country in the European Economic Area (EEA)? Then you can apply for a DigiD. Did you already have a DigiD before moving abroad? Then you can continue to use your DigiD."

Posted by
10 posts

I re-installed the app and found that there is a way to add a paper vaccine card without a DigiD. However I am now stuck again. It is asking for a 6 digit "letter combination". None of the numbers I typed in worked. The only 6 digit code is the 3 codes shown underneath the 3 vaccine doses I got, but none are accepted by the app.

Sorry for all the posts. This is driving me nuts. Feels like my vacation now depends on a glitchy app.

Posted by
876 posts

We travelled there using our vaccination certificates issued here. That's what we needed to show to get on the plane. It was checked here before we boarded the plane. That got us into the Netherlands, but it did not get us into restaurants, etc.

Once there, we went to one of the free testing locations, got a test, and within an hour had the result that could be used in the app. At the time, we had to do this daily, but only if we wanted to get into restaurants and such. We didn't need it for museums. All that may have changed; I don't know.

We were able to book free tests at testing sites through the following website. There were many, many locations from which to choose. https://testenvoortoegang.org/

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you BB. I would rather change my plans to go to France than have to get tested daily. Sounds expensive and time consuming.

I was able to get past the 6 digit code needed for the app but then it asked to scan the "international QR code" on the vaccine card, of which there is none. And I wasn't even able to put in the correct 6 digit code in the first place. So I'm stuck again.

Posted by
10 posts

Oops, just saw that you said testing was free! I will look into that. Thanks again BB!

Posted by
876 posts

Yeah. It's sounds more onerous than it was. There are so many locations that we were able to fit it into our day. We didn't get tested the day we arrived (but you could, depending on timing). We got some stuff to eat from a grocery store (did't need the pass for that) and ate in our bridge house. We went to the Anne Frank house the next morning (didn't need the pass for that) and had our test booked nearby for after our visit. We left a bit too much time in between, but we just wandered around and looked at the architecture and canals while we waited. The testing itself was very quick. After our test, we headed to the Van Gogh museum, where we had an entry time for the afternoon. We waited a little bit to get our test results and then used the app to get into a nearby restaurant for lunch before our museum visit.

We had a test booked for after breakfast the next day, near our accommodation. So, we went out for breakfast a block away from the test place, ate, and then went for our tests before carrying on with our day.

Every restaurant we went to (which, granted, wasn't many) DID scan our code.

Tests for travel aren't free, but if you happen to get one for restaurants or whatever within 24 hours of going to another country, there is a setting in the app for international use, so we were able to use our free test for entry into Italy, too. That worked out well.

Good luck!

Posted by
876 posts

Just looking at it, and it seems that the code IS required for museums now. It wasn't in November. But, as I said, it's not too onerous to get it.

Posted by
10 posts

This is very helpful! I had already looked up some paid testing sites since I knew we would have to get tested before returning to the US, but it's good to know that the basic test for the app is free and easy to get. Now I'll just have to see if my travel partner is ok with all this, LOL! I guess it would give us some extra peace of mind to get tested throughout the trip. Pre-covid I had caught a cold on my last two trips to Europe so I have anxiety about getting sick again, but hopefully with masks we'll be OK.

Posted by
876 posts

One thing I found was that, with the vaccination/testing requirements, masking wasn't required, and I wasn't particularly comfortable with that (e.g. in the Anne Frank museum). I'm not sure if that's still the case. This was a couple of weeks before Omicron was a thing, so it may have changed. We did see, while we were in Italy, that case numbers in the Netherlands were skyrocketing after we left. (Gee, I wonder why?) Anyway, we wore masks regardless, and we're glad we did.

Posted by
264 posts

I am in a similar position as yourself Ann123

I am not going to be in Amsterdam until August but I have a cruise booked leaving from Amsterdam and I have to fully pay up by mid April. My balance will be about $3,500.

If, for some reason, I decide I do not want to go to Amsterdam because of COVID restrictions, I only get about 25 percent of my money back. I have to forfeit the rest as penalty.

I had come to this forum to post a question about current COVID restrictions for Americans but it seems that you have already done this and the answers to your post have been very helpful.

I may post a similar question in about two weeks and see if anything has relaxed.

Posted by
2207 posts

As mentioned above, visitors without an EU Digital Certificate would have to test daily to meet the current Dutch requirements at specific activities, functions, or dining. For the past couple of weeks, rumors have been circulating about a "temporary QR code" system for NON-EU visitors. - see here: https://nltimes.nl/2022/01/29/temporary-covid-access-passes-soon-available-tourists-outside-eu

This article, published on Jan. 29, 2022, outlines the following:

People who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in countries outside
the European Union will soon be able to get a temporary Covid access
pass at the central train stations in Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht
and Rotterdam. The program could launch by mid-February. In a
statement announcing changes to the regulation outlining use of the
pass system, Health Minister Ernst Kuipers said that allowing people
arriving in the Netherlands for a short stay to use their proof of
vaccination will take strain off of the testing for access system, and
reduce obstacles for many people visiting the country.

With the huge Floriade Expo just a couple of months away, there is a strong desire to create a system for Non-EU visitors. Now, whether or not this will actually happen... well, that's hard to say. There's no doubt the new government, formed just a few weeks ago, wants to turn the page on the handling of COVID issues in 2021 and 2021, as The Netherlands consistently lagged behind other EU countries.

Unfortunately, record-breaking COVID numbers - as of late - threaten any opportunity to make a progressive change in the current policies, which have been among the most restrictive in the EU (Including recent quarantine rules - since rescinded). So fingers crossed they get their stuff together (this time) and make this happen to better open up traveler opportunities.

As in all COVID situations, this situation in The Netherlands will change - let's hope it's in a more positive direction.

Posted by
10 posts

RnR- that would be great! I will keep that site bookmarked to check for updates.

bostonphil7- the nltimes.nl website that RnR linked to has updates on the situation. I've also been going on https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/ fairly frequently since it's easier to scan for articles about the Netherlands on there than it is to go over the complicated Netherlands restrictions on the government website. https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19
It's anybody's guess what the situation will be like between April and August. From what I remember, I think last June they eased travel restrictions, then the covid rate shot up so they put them back in place by July.

Posted by
6003 posts

With the huge Floriade Expo just a couple of months away, there is a strong desire to create a system for Non-EU visitors.

This would be great. I truly do believe that everyone having a QR code and having it checked every time is far better than people showing some piece of handwritten paper claiming to be a vaccine record (looking at you CDC card). It makes the merchants responsibility easy...QR code works...great, it doesn't. sorry.

I think what Belgium has done for visitors is a great solution. Submit passport info and your vaccine info, in a short time they reply with a code that works in their corona app, giving a visitor a QR code. The code is only good in Belgium, and only for 30 days. Easy for you, easy for the merchants, no question as to status.

Posted by
9893 posts

Ann, thanks for starting this thread. I’m still wringing my hands over a non-Rick Steves tour to Belgium and Netherlands the end of April. Final payment is due next week and I don’t totally trust the information from the other tour company.

And, laughing, thanks for your blow by blow description of trying to get the QR code!! Believe it or not, that is very helpful for me!

RnR, thanks so much for your input. I appreciate that you follow this forum!!

Paul, I hadn’t realized there was a Belgium temporary pass, so I will check on that.

I AM going to Paris first for a couple of weeks because I just can’t not go, lol. I will have the Pass Sanitaire updated with booster info from when I used it last fall so that might be all I need since I’ll be there at least 14 days.

Posted by
10 posts

Paul, can you send me the link for instructions on how to get the code for the Belgium corona app? I downloaded the CovidSafeBE app, is that the right one? I did some googling but again I am having trouble finding what I need.

Posted by
6003 posts

Yes, regarding the Belgian QR code. The form can be found here: https://coronavirus.brussels/en/belgian-cst-for-foreigners/

The form is somewhat self explanatory, a few pointers.

There is a question about a watermark, if your vaccine record has one; I answered yes, as my CDC card has the CDC logo on it.

You may need look into your vaccine type, for example, my Pfizer vaccine is a Comirnaty brand name, then Biontech/Pfizer is chosen next.

You will be uploading a photo of your passport photo page and vaccine record; use a lower resolution setting, as there is a limit to the file size that can be uploaded.

Use care when you time the submittal of the form, it may take a couple days to process (ours was only a half hour or so). but it is only good for 30 days. Also, it is only good for Belgium.

You will need to download the Belgian Covidsafe app; what you receive is a code to put into that to generate the QR code.