Vaccine Passports and International Travel

Vaccine Passports and International Travel

Travel items with CommonPass app displayed

Finally, after what seems like a thousand years (we know, it’s only over a year), Covid-19 lockdowns are lifting across the country and travel is now on everyone’s minds. Summer is starting, cruise lines are reemerging, and live events are back on the table. But what does that mean for the vaccinated consumer? Must everyone be vaccinated in order to travel internationally?

That’s the billion dollar question. The simple answer? Yes. You should expected vaccination rules to be applied everywhere, but especially when it comes to international travel.

Some countries, including those in the European Union and nations with economies dependent upon tourism are pushing ahead with either vaccine passport plans or allowing vaccinated visitors to skip the quarantine requirements for entry. Cruise lines and airlines also want to climb aboard.

Obviously, vaccine passport propositions come with logistical challenges like discrimination and fraud which can lead to risky behavior.

How would a Covid-19 Passport Even Work?

Despite its name, a vaccine certificate wouldn’t be like the little booklet you present to customs or immigration officials, but a mobile app with a scannable barcode that shows your vaccination status. The app could also allow you to check entry requirements for a country and also hold the status of your last Covid test and other health information. Those without smartphones would have to use an alternative paper version.

Are vaccine passports being used now?

Yes, and no. Israel, which is leading the world in vaccination rates, has launched its “green passport”, which gives holders access to places like gyms, theaters, hotels, concerts, and synagogues. Similarly, New York State has an app, the Excelsior Pass, which shows your vaccination proof or the results of a negative covid-19 test. However, it’s not in widespread use.

The European Union’s version of a digital covid certificate will be operational in all EU member states by July 1st, and it’s already operating in seven European Union nations as of June 1st. EU’s digital or paper certificate will all European citizens to travel to member nations if they’ve proven they’re vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19, or received a negative covid-19 test.

Does the US require a COVID vaccination for tourists?

Although the US required a negative COVID test to enter the country, it does not currently require a COVID vaccination. Visitors to the US and returning US residents are not required to be vaccinated, though immigrants must be inoculated for 14 other diseases.

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