The Government Decree No 366/2021 on certain questions related to the issuance of the EU Digital COVID Certificates during state of emergency was published in the Hungarian Official Gazette on 30 June 2021.

The Decree specifies the rules surrounding EU Digital COVID Certificates in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2021/953 on a framework for the issuance, verification and acceptance of interoperable COVID-19 vaccination, test and recovery certificates to facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic (“Digital COVID Certificate Regulation”).

EU Digital COVID Certificates

The Digital COVID Certificates under the EU Digital COVID Certificates framework include three different certificates:

  • a certificate confirming that the holder has received a COVID-19 vaccine in the member state issuing the certificate (Vaccination Certificate);
  • a certificate confirming that the holder has been subject to a NAAT test or a rapid antigen test listed in the common and updated list of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests established on the basis of the Council Recommendation of 21 January 2021 carried out by health professionals or by skilled testing personnel in the member state issuing the certificate and indicating the type of test, the date on which it was carried out and the result of the test (Test Certificate); and
  • a certificate confirming that, following a positive result of a NAAT test carried out by health professionals or by skilled testing personnel the holder has recovered from a SARS-CoV-2 infection (Certificate of Recovery).

Issuance of the Digital COVID Certificates

Under the Decree, the Government designates the Budapest Metropolitan Government Office (Budapest Főváros Kormányhivatala or BFKH) as the body responsible for issuing the Certificates. The Electronic Healthcare Services Platform (in Hungarian Elektronikus Egyészségügyi Szolgáltatási Tér or EESZT) acts as a data processor on behalf of the responsible body. The Certificates are issued free of charge, based on the basis of the information available about the applicants in the EESZT Platform.

Anyone in possession of a social security number (TAJ szám) can request the Certificate online, and the issuing body can issue the Certificate in electronic or paper form. The former refers to the EESZT application, where the applicant receives the Certificate in the EESZT’s mobile phone application after identification with an electronic identification service. The latter refers to a paper document that can be downloaded and printed from the EESZT Citizen Portal after login. This paper-based Certificate is authentic without the signature of the authorised person and the stamp of the issuing body, provided that it is marked with an interoperable barcode readable by IT tools confirming the data contained therein.

People who cannot obtain the Certificate online can apply for it by submitting a request in person or in writing to the issuing body. The request must include the identification data of the applicant and, if they have one, their social security number. If the applicant does not have a social security number, the request must include the number of the official identity document of the applicant, which was provided to the healthcare provider in the course of the healthcare procedure that established the certificate's eligibility (i.e. vaccination, testing or treatment with SARS-CoV-2 infection).

Eligible applicants

Anyone can apply, who received a vaccination, test or a certificate of recovery from the infection in Hungary. The application may also be submitted by:

  • persons who are entitled to a Hungarian immunity certificate for vaccinations received abroad; and
  • persons who hold a certificate of immunity issued by a state whose certificate of immunity is recognised by Hungary on the condition that the vaccination must be carried out with a vaccine accepted in Hungary.

Related personal data processing

The annex of the Digital COVID Certificate Regulation contains the full list of personal data held by each of the three certificates. In case of vaccination certificates, these are:

  • name and date of birth of the certificate holder;
  • disease targeted: COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 or one of its variants);
  • COVID-19 vaccine or prophylaxis;
  • COVID-19 vaccine product name;
  • COVID-19 vaccine marketing authorisation holder or manufacturer;
  • number in a series of doses as well as the overall number of doses in the series;
  • date of vaccination, indicating the date of the latest dose received;
  • member state or third country in which the vaccine was administered;
  • certificate issuer;
  • unique certificate identifier.

The authorities competent to verify the validity of the Certificate are entitled to access the data contained in the Certificate and the data of the accompanying identity card (if its presentation is necessary), but they cannot record and store these data in any way.

Acceptance and validity of the Digital COVID Certificate

According to the Decree, the presentation of the new Certificate is equivalent to the presentation of an immunity certificate issued by the Hungarian government, if:

  1. For a Vaccination Certificate, the holder has been vaccinated at least once and less than one year has elapsed since the first vaccination. The Hungarian authorities accept any vaccine that is authorised by the European Medicines Agency, approved by the World Health Organisation for emergency use or authorised and used for vaccination in Hungary. These are currently Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Sputnik V, Sinopharm, Sinovac.
  2. For a Test Certificate, a PCR test not older than 72 hours confirms that the holder of the Test Certificate is not infected.
  3. For a Certificate of Recovery, the holder has been infected within the 15th and 180th days prior to the presentation of the Certificate.

Both the Digital COVID Certificate Regulation and the Decree entered into force on 1 July.

You can find the Digital COVID Certificate Regulation here, and the Decree in Hungarian here.

Article co-authored by Anna Horváth.