Decree-Law No. 54-A/2021
Publication: Diário da República no. 122/2021, 1st Supplement, Series I of 2021-06-25
Issuer: Presidency of the Council of Ministers
Proposing Entity: Presidency of the Council of Ministers
Type of Diploma: Decree-Law
Pages: 42-(2) to 42-(6)
PDF version: Download
It implements in the internal legal order Regulation (EU) 2021/953 on the EU COVID Digital Certificate
Decree-Law No. 54-A/2021
of June 25th
Summary: Implements Regulation (EU) 2021/953 on the EU COVID Digital Certificate in the internal legal order .
The fight against the COVID-19 disease pandemic currently involves vaccinating the population and a broad testing strategy that allows for the identification of COVID-19 patients with symptoms and asymptomatic.
Taking these combat weapons into account, the European Union created the EU’s COVID Digital Certificate, an interoperable certificate that contains information on vaccination, test results or the holder’s recovery, issued in the context of the COVID-19 disease pandemic. The presentation of the EU COVID-19 Digital Certificate allows a level of confidence regarding the low risk of its bearer being COVID-19 active patient.
Under the terms of Regulation (EU) 2021/953 , the presentation of the EU COVID Digital Certificate facilitates free movement during the COVID-19 disease pandemic, thus guaranteeing a low risk level regarding the transmission of the disease.
This decree-law implements Regulation (EU) 2021/953 , defining standards for the issuance, presentation and use of the EU COVID Digital Certificate.
Thus, it is foreseen that the EU COVID Digital Certificates can be used in matters of air and maritime traffic, in terms of circulation within the national territory and in terms of access to cultural, sporting, corporate or family events.
With regard to air and maritime traffic, it is now authorized to carry out trips to Portugal by citizens with a COVID EU Digital Certificate. This authorization dispenses with the application of additional prevention and mitigation measures, such as carrying out tests to screen for SARS-CoV-2 infection or complying with quarantine periods.
In terms of circulation within the national territory, it is established that the presentation of the EU COVID Digital Certificate or proof of a test to screen for SARS-CoV-2 infection allows free circulation throughout the national territory, regardless of the validity of rules prevention, containment and mitigation of the COVID-19 disease pandemic in terms of circulation.
In terms of access to cultural, sporting, corporate or family events, including weddings and baptisms, whenever, under the law, the presentation of proof of a test to screen for SARS-CoV-2 infection is required to attend or participate in such events, alternatively, the EU COVID Digital Certificate may be presented.
Norms are established regarding the verification and control of the presentation of the EU COVID Digital Certificates.
The EU’s COVID Digital Certificate does not, however, exempt its holders from complying with the necessary safety measures recommended by the health authorities, namely physical distance, hand hygiene and the use of a mask.
Children under the age of 12 are not required to present an EU COVID digital certificate or proof of testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection, although these tests are recommended in certain contexts.
The self-government bodies of the Autonomous Regions were heard.
Under the terms of subparagraph a) of paragraph 1 of article 198 of the Constitution, the Government decrees the following:
This decree-law executes in the domestic legal order:
a) Regulation (EU) 2021/953 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 14 June 2021, concerning a regime for the issuance, verification and acceptance of interoperable certificates of vaccination, testing and recovery of COVID-19 (Certificate Digital COVID of the EU) in order to facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic [ Regulation (EU) 2021/953 ];
b) Regulation (EU) 2021/954 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2021 on a regime for the issuance, verification and acceptance of interoperable COVID-19 vaccination, testing and recovery certificates (COVID Digital Certificate of third country nationals who remain or reside in the territory of the Member States during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Issuance of the EU COVID Digital Certificate
1 – The issue of EU COVID digital certificates in Portugal is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health, based on information from the competent health authorities and in accordance with the respective guidelines.
2 – The EU COVID Digital Certificate can be obtained on the SNS 24 portal, through a mobile application or sent to the holder to the email address registered in the National User Registry or in the Electronic Health Registry.
3 – Access to the SNS 24 portal can be made at Citizen Spaces and parish councils, through assisted service, where a printed version of the EU COVID Digital Certificate can be obtained.
Presentation of the EU COVID Digital Certificate
EU COVID digital certificates can be presented in digital or paper format.
Use of EU COVID digital certificates
COVID EU Digital Certificates Allowed
1 – For the purposes of this decree-law, the following EU COVID digital certificates are accepted:
a) Vaccination certificate, certifying the complete vaccination schedule of the respective holder, for at least 14 days, with a vaccine against COVID-19 with marketing authorization pursuant to Regulation (EC) No. 726/2004 ;
b) Test certificate, certifying that the holder was subject to:
i) A molecular nucleic acid amplification test (TAAN), in the last 72 hours, with negative result;
ii) A rapid antigen test listed on the list drawn up by the European Commission based on the Council Recommendation of 21 January 2021 on a common framework for the use and validation of rapid antigen detection tests for COVID-19 and mutual recognition of test results in the EU, in the last 48 hours, with negative result;
c) Recovery certificate, certifying that the holder recovered from an infection with SARS-CoV-2, following a positive result in a TAAN test performed, more than 11 days and less than 180 days ago.
2 – For the purposes of paragraph a) of the previous number, the vaccination schedule is considered complete after taking:
a) A single dose of a vaccine against COVID-19 with a one-dose vaccine schedule;
b) The second dose of a vaccine against COVID-19 with a two-dose vaccine schedule, even though doses of two different vaccines have been administered; or
c) The first dose of a vaccine against COVID-19 with a two-dose vaccination schedule for people who have recovered from the disease, if it is indicated in the vaccination certificate that the vaccination schedule was completed after administration of one dose.
Use of the EU COVID Digital Certificate in matters of air and maritime traffic
1 – Travel, for any reason, to Portugal by travellers with a COVID EU Digital Certificate is allowed.
2 – The members of the Government responsible for the areas of foreign affairs, internal administration, health and civil aviation may, for the purposes set out in this section, recognize, by order, the validity of vaccination or recovery certificates issued by countries third parties, under reciprocal conditions.
Waiver of additional prevention and mitigation measures
1 – The presentation of the EU COVID Digital Certificate does not need to carry out tests to detect the infection by SARS-CoV-2 for travel reasons.
2 – Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the obligation to undergo tests for screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection related to travel.
3 – The presentation of the EU COVID Digital Certificate of vaccination or recovery dispenses with quarantine or isolation for travel reasons.
4 – Minors who travel with one or both of the holders of parental responsibilities, or with another companion responsible for them, are exempt from performing quarantine when the companion(s) hold a valid vaccination or recovery certificate upon entry into national territory.
Control and verification
1 – The verification of the ownership of a valid EU COVID Digital Certificate, under the terms and with the effects provided for in this section, is carried out by the airlines at the time of departure as a condition of boarding to Portugal for the respective holders, and with the foreseen consequences in paragraph q) of article 2 of Decree-Law No. 28-B/2020 , of 26 June, in its current wording, without prejudice to random verification, upon arrival in national territory, by the Security Police Public or the Aliens and Borders Service (SEF).
2 – The provisions of the preceding paragraph apply, with the necessary adaptations, to cruise ship companies, with the verification of the ownership of the digital certificate being carried out by the shipowners of the passenger ships or the respective legal representatives at the time of embarkation or disembarkation as a condition of embarkation or disembarkation of the respective holders to Portugal, and with the consequences provided for in paragraph q) of article 2 of Decree-Law No. 28-B/2020 , of June 26, in its current wording, without prejudice to random verification in the free circulation of the ship, upon arrival in national territory, by the Maritime Police or SEF.
3-For the purposes of the preceding paragraphs, airlines, passenger ship owners or their respective legal representatives, use the electronic application for reading the EU’s COVID Digital Certificate, provided by SEF.
Other uses of the EU COVID Digital Certificate
1 – The presentation of the EU COVID Digital Certificate or the presentation of proof of carrying out a test to screen for infection by SARS-CoV-2 allows the free movement of its holder throughout the national territory, regardless of the validity of prevention, containment and mitigation of the COVID-19 disease pandemic on circulation.
2 – The security forces and services shall verify the provisions of the preceding paragraph under the terms of paragraph 2 of article 10
Access to cultural, sporting, corporate or family events
The presentation of the EU COVID Digital Certificate does not require the presentation of proof of a test to screen for SARS-CoV-2 infection, in cases where this is required to attend or participate in cultural, sporting, corporate or family events , namely weddings and baptisms.
1 – The EU COVID Digital Certificate is verified through its own mobile application for reading the respective QR code, which can be displayed in digital or paper format.
2 – Subsidiary to the reading of the QR code through the own mobile application referred to in the previous number, the verification can be done manually, through the data contained in the EU COVID Digital Certificate, regardless of the medium on which it is displayed.
Under 12 years old
Children under 12 years of age are exempt from presenting an EU COVID Digital Certificate or proof of having carried out a test to screen for SARS-CoV-2 infection for the purposes of the uses regulated in this section.
Complementary and final provisions
Safeguard for public health reasons
The provisions of the previous chapter are without prejudice to the possibility of applying restrictions on free movement when they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health in response to the COVID-19 disease pandemic, pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2021/953 and Regulation ( EU) 2021/954 .
This decree-law applies to the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira, without prejudice to the powers conferred on the respective governing bodies or the adaptations that may be introduced by a specific diploma under the legislative powers of the regions.
The provisions of section II of chapter II take effect from 1 July 2021.
This decree-law enters into force on the day following its publication
Seen and approved by the Council of Ministers of June 24, 2021. – Pedro Gramaxo de Carvalho Siza Vieira – Marta Alexandra Fartura Braga Temido de Almeida Simões.
Enacted on June 24, 2021.
The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
Countersigned on June 25, 2021.
By the Prime Minister, Pedro Gramaxo de Carvalho Siza Vieira, Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition.