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What to Know About Travel and Vaccine Passports


Travel was affected by the coronavirus pandemic; however, countries plan on taking further steps with possible vaccine passports. Are you wondering what vaccine passports mean for you?

Some countries are lifting travel bans, but only for those who can prove they have their vaccinations. Right now, there are too many different vaccine cards, so a passport would keep all the documents consistent. Be sure to keep reading if you need to learn more!

What’s a Vaccine Passport?

If you have traveled to other countries, you might have seen the yellow fever card. You are given the card after getting the vaccination and are required to attach it to your passport. Plenty of countries already require a yellow fever card.

A vaccine passport would be very similar. It would be a form of documentation that proves you’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine. Many are speculating that the passport would contain the strain of vaccine you received, as well as the date you got it.

If you don’t want to carry around paperwork on a plane, there are likely to be digital passports. It would include all of the same information but would be accessed online.

How Would It Work?

When you hear “passport,” you probably think of the little book you need to bring with you when you travel. However, most countries are considering a mobile app over physical paperwork.

Your device’s screen would display a barcode that, when scanned, shows your current vaccine data and the results of your last COVID-19 test. Many also want the app to allow users to read about check entry requirements.

At the moment, multiple apps are in development, which may be confusing. Plus, people without smartphones would have trouble traveling. The idea behind the vaccine passport is still developing as countries try to figure out the best ways to implement it.

Immunity Passports

Some countries are already experimenting with the idea of immunity passports, which are somewhat different. An immunity passport would allow people who’ve already had COVID-19 to skip travel quarantines. Hungary and Iceland are two countries currently considering this option.

If you received a positive COVID-19 test, then a negative one, you would qualify for an immunity passport. The idea is that you now have antibodies to fight against the virus.

Vaccination Cards

Medical professionals give a COVID-19 vaccination card to people who receive their vaccine. They remind those getting two shots to know when to come back for their second dose. These are different from passports; they will not let you cross the border.

However, they are still helpful for attending large events, going on cruise lines, or other national travel forms. As an example, New York requires proof of vaccination if you want to attend a concert. This vaccination card would be your proof.

Who Will Require Them?

At the moment, many countries are considering vaccine passports, but no one has officially mandated them yet. The following are the countries that are likely to require them: 

  • Cyprus
  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

So, if you are planning a trip to another country soon, you might want to wait and see if they decide on a vaccine card. Iceland has already opened its borders to anyone who has a vaccine passport, being the first country to do so.

Romania, Cyprus, and Seychelles no longer have quarantine requirements for those who can show they were vaccinated. This rule can speed up travel for many people. Currently, Israel has the most sophisticated vaccine passport system in place.

While America is currently not requiring proof you have a vaccine, you will need one if the country you are traveling to does. For example, you couldn’t travel to Iceland from the States if you didn’t have the proper documents.

How Will It Affect Travel?

The addition of vaccine passports will impact international travel. Some air and cruise lines want to mandate them already. At first, it is likely to be a complex process. There are going to be several different versions of the document, depending on where you are traveling.

Without a set standard, there may be multiple apps you have to use. Some counties may require one app, while others need you to have a different one installed. That means you would have to upload your vaccine information multiple times.

However, strict cleaning and safety policies for travel are going to remain. You will still be required to take a COVID-19 test and wear a mask during the commute. Additional cleaning policies, social distancing, and testing are going to remain.

Airlines will continue focusing on cleaning due to consumer concerns. Many people are afraid they will contract the virus on the plane instead of during the check-in process. Airlines want to protect their reputation so that they will continue with enhanced cleaning.

Concerns About Privacy

Many people are concerned about entering their information into an app. Companies are doing their best to ensure people are comfortable using it, but it may take time.

IBM, Linux Foundation, and CommonPass are all developing vaccine passport apps. They have stated that keeping your medical data private is very important to them. IBM even plans to add a setting that allows you to choose how much detail you want to offer to travel security.

As long as companies can remain transparent with what they do with your data, the apps should be safe to use. People must trust them first.


As vaccine passports become more common during travel, you can expect cleaning and social distancing measures to stay the same. Airlines want their customers to trust them- so they will continue with high COVID regulations.

Plus, multiple apps are being developed, which may cause some confusion down the line. Hopefully, regulations will be put in place to offer one consistent vaccine passport soon.

Image by Spencer Davis

Post Author: Lillia Hall

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April 2024