I obtained a complete COVID-19 vaccine series at a doctors office in Germany. The doctor recorded the immunizations in my yellow International Certificate of Vaccination booklet. I was then able to take that yellow booklet along with my ID to a participating German pharmacy to get an EU Digital COVID Vaccination Certificate.

This certificate consists of a single sheet of A4 paper folded twice to make a 4 page card which contains some printed info about the vaccine(s) received and the person who received them along with a QR code that can be scanned by the CovPass-App or the Corona-Warn-App in order to load a copy of the vaccination record into a smartphone.

In order to travel to Canada quarantine free (assuming entry eligibility), it is stated:

If you received your vaccines outside Canada, it’s still accepted but proof of vaccination must be uploaded digitally in ArriveCAN and must only be in French or English, or certified translation into French or English.

Presumably, if I have a EU Digital COVID Vaccination Certificate, I should be able to have this certificate be rendered in a digital format (such as a PDF) that can be uploaded to the ArriveCAN app. However, I can't find a way to do that. How can this be done?

In theory, I could scan the piece of paper received from the pharmacy however, not all information is rendered with the same orientation on the unfolded paper.

  • My printer/scanner will output a jpeg or pdf as requested by settings. A print shop should be able to copy the unfolded A4 sheet on to a memory stick as a pdf. I know people who will simply photograph a document themselves and email it (a jpeg). Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 17:52
  • Re the edit: does it matter if the info isn't all orientated correctly? Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 18:03
  • @WeatherVane I would be surprised if the answer to the question: How do I upload a digital document? was Take a photo/scan Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 18:09
  • Can you return to the participating pharmacy and ask for digital copy (and ask for it to be in French or English)? Your link (translated) says With "mein-apothekenmanager.de" you get central access to the digital service world of pharmacies - personally and digitally! And soon also as an app! Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 18:09
  • The CovPass-App supposedly stores the information on the phone. Where (in the file system) or in what form, they don't say. Have you tried this to see if it is locally stored as a pdf? Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 20:31

3 Answers 3


I would be surprised if the answer to the question: How do I upload a digital document? was Take a photo/scan

For me it isn't surprising. If they had asked for a digitally or cryptographically signed document it would be another matter. But they don't.

Canada does not even say "digital document", but "upload digitally" (one might even say it's redundant).

The purpose is for the immigration officials to have relevant data pre-arrival and carry out pre-processing if necessary.

In fact, the same page you linked explicitly says

In ArriveCAN, you must provide: [...]

a photo(s) or PDF file(s) of the record of your vaccination(s), such as receipts or confirmations from the vaccinating organization. These must be in English, French, or a certified translation into English or French.

Either a photo or scan into PDF or an originally PDF file is fine. At the border you will need to provide either a digital or paper copy of your proof of vaccination.

Final determination of your vaccination status will be made at the border. You must bring a digital or paper copy of your proof(s) of vaccination with you.

  • 1
    (+1) As suggested in my answer, the easiest choice might actually be the yellow international vaccination booklet.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 9:10
  • 3
    A scan of the German printout of the EU vaccination certificate is actually even digitally signed. The QR code on the printout contains a signature to verify the athenticity of the document and its content. It is of course not obvious, but also not impossible that Canadian authorities have the possibility to verify the signature. It would significantly simplify travel to Canada for all persons who have been vaccinated in the EU. Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 11:23
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo Yes, but at this stage I think it is not required. Of course, the verification algorithm and keys are/should be public and Canadian customs would probably use it to verify randomly or systematically in the future.
    – xngtng
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 15:27
  • The verification algorithm and the public keys are indeed public, so anybody can verify the authenticity of a EU Covid Certificate. The EU setup the infrastructure for that, opened all the source code and is open to other nations participating. Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 5:59

In version 1.7 of the CovPass app released on Aug 31, 2021 the functionality Create EU printout was added to the app. This function will generate a PDF file on the phone that is identical to the original printout. This PDF can be saved on the phone or provided to other apps directly.


If you received your vaccines outside Canada, it’s still accepted but proof of vaccination must be uploaded digitally in ArriveCAN and must only be in French or English, or certified translation into French or English.

This strongly suggests they are not after any digitally certified machine readable info like the EU Digital COVID Vaccination Certificate (which isn't really in French or English or any other language) but simply any document establishing you have been vaccinated. A certified translation would certainly be a paper document with an inked stamp and a hand-written signature (certified means it bears the name of a credentialled translator or some local equivalent).

They might not even be set up to read the QR code and clearly indicate that this exemption is not limited to a specific group of countries who have set up a scheme to sign and verify certificates. What they want is evidence a human can read (which is the way most things immigration-related are handled anyway).

I would simply scan a copy of the relevant pages/entries in your yellow booklet or any other document you receive when you got vaccinated. The most important thing would presumably be that it clearly indicates the name of the vaccine (as those are explicitly listed in the requirements). It's probably better if there is a stamp or a signature by a nurse or physician (since, again, nothing suggests they want to rely on the whole digital certificate business).

Incidentally, it should be noted that, by design, a QR code can indeed be copied or scanned. The digital signature is encoded in the QR code itself. So while I don't think the Canadian government expects anything like that, you could certainly create a digital document by scanning or taking a photo of a printout of the code.

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