A COVID vaccine passport is an easy and secure way to provide information about your coronavirus vaccination and testing history. The aim of these digital documents is to facilitate international travel during the ongoing pandemic.
This guide aims to help travelers learn about the types of COVID-19 certificates currently available, and outlines whether it is necessary to have a vaccine passport to travel to an international destination while coronavirus restrictions remain in place.
Do You Need a Vaccine Passport for Domestic Travel?
At present, a vaccine passport is not a mandatory requirement for domestic travel within the majority of countries, including the United States and Canada.
A number of US states have implemented their own individual digital COVID passes. These include the MyIR for Maryland, the digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record for California, and the Excelsior Pass for New York.
However, these apps have not become a mandatory requirement for travelers due to concerns over discrimination. Several US states, including Florida and Texas, have even banned the use of coronavirus vaccine passports.
Nevertheless, having a digital COVID passport can be useful in some instances. Many airlines are now asking travelers to provide either a negative test result or proof that they have been vaccinated against coronavirus before they can board a domestic flight.
Likewise, many restaurants and large event venues now require proof of vaccination before you will be allowed to enter their indoor areas. A COVID passport allows you to easily share this information in a digital format without having to carry and present paper documentation.
Can I travel during the COVID-19 pandemic if I am not fully vaccinated?
Due to discrimination concerns against those who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID, many countries have not implemented a mandatory coronavirus vaccine requirement for international travelers. In most cases, it is possible to present either a negative COVID test result or a certificate of vaccination to gain entry to a foreign country.
For this reason, the majority of digital COVID passports allow the user to store both test and vaccine certificates on their mobile device. Nevertheless, many countries have decided to allow travelers to forgo requirements such as the need for additional testing or quarantine on arrival if they can prove they have received the last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
While it is possible to present the little white card you receive after being vaccinated in order to meet this requirement, it is much more convenient to download a COVID passport app to allow you to easily show this information in digital form.
Can I use the EU Digital Green Certificate for International Travel?
A number of territorial authorities, including the governments of Australia and Israel, have now implemented a digital COVID pass that their citizens can use to easily present their coronavirus health history to immigration authorities.
Most notably, the European Union approved the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) as a travel requirement to gain entry to its member states. Most EU governments began accepting this COVID pass on July 1st, 2021.
The EU COVID passport allows the holder to present both test results and certificates showing they have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). These include the Janssen, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
While the EUDCC is primarily aimed at facilitating travel for EU citizens, it is possible to obtain this COVID pass even if you are not a citizen of the European Union. Non-EU citizens vaccinated in the EU may obtain an EU Digital COVID Certificate if it is issued by the country they reside in.
“Right now if you’re an American, not living in the EU, you could get the certificate if you ask the national authorities of a Member State to give you that certificate, based on some proof that you’ve been vaccinated, or had a recent COVID test”, a spokesperson for the European Commission recently confirmed.
Other Digital COVID Passports Now Available
In addition to the COVID passports introduced by individual governments, a number of independent authorities have introduced their own version of a digital COVID passport that has been adopted by a number of airlines and countries around the world.
The IATA Travel Pass – Developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), this digital COVID pass is accepted by a number of airlines including Air New Zealand, Emirates, Qantas, Qatar Airways. It allows laboratories to securely send test results and vaccination records to travelers via an easy-to-use app and then verifies that they meet the entry requirements for a destination using a QR code.
The Common Pass – A COVID passport launched by The Commons Project in collaboration with The World Economic Forum. Like the IATA Travel Pass, the Common Pass digitally stores COVID-19 health records and indicates if the traveler meets the entry requirements for the traveler’s destination. It has been adopted by several major air carriers, including Cathay Pacific and United Airlines.
With so many different options now available, there really is no excuse not to download a COVID passport app to make your next international trip as smooth and hassle-free as possible.