Your travel ready checklist From smart booking to safe travel, here’s everything you’ll need to know before you go.
COVID vaccine certificates for US travelersVaccination certificates are a big part of travel, with many destinations offering looser restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers. Using COVID-19 vaccine certificates to prove that you’re fully vaccinated gives you a lot more freedom in terms of where – and how – you travel.
There are several ways to prove your vaccinations status, whether via the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or various digital apps. Read on to find out more about vaccine certificates and how to use them.
1. What are COVID vaccine certificates?A COVID vaccine certificate is physical or digital proof that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Having it may exempt you from pandemic-related entry restrictions for many countries. Vaccinated travelers are generally subject to fewer requirements and may not need to test or self-isolate on arrival. Every country is different, so it’s essential to check the latest restrictions before you book.
2. How to use COVID vaccine certificates for international travelCOVID vaccine certificates need to be shown at the airport before you board your international flight. Currently, the US doesn’t have a countrywide digital system of proving your vaccination status to foreign governments. And while your CDC-issued vaccination record card is valid proof, many countries and airlines now have specific apps or digital platforms that require travelers to share their vaccination status digitally ahead of travel.
Popular apps such as the IATA’s Travel Pass, VeriFLY and CommonPass simplify international travel by allowing travelers to submit and store their COVID-19 health credentials. Digital vaccine certificates do not replace your CDC vaccine card, and you should carry it with you every time you are traveling abroad.
Always familiarize yourself with local regulations if you’re planning international travel, as some countries will still require proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test regardless of your vaccination status. This may also be true of entering certain businesses, such as restaurants and entertainment venues.
3. How to use COVID vaccine certificates domesticallyWith the exception of Hawaii, vaccine certificates are not required for domestic travel. However, some states and cities may ask for proof of vaccination – either the CDC-issued paper card, a QR code, or through a digital health pass app – to enter certain venues, businesses, and events. For example, you’ll need proof of vaccination for places like New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as any indoor dining in the city. Check local websites for the latest updates on vaccine requirements.
4. Where to get your COVID vaccine certificateThe CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card is given to you at your first vaccination appointment. The card lists your name, date of birth, number of COVID-19 vaccine doses received, and the date and location of where you received them. For travel purposes, and in addition to the physical copy, it’s a good idea to create a digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate to safeguard against loss, damage and fraud. Here are some ways you can do it:
Get a digital vaccine certificate through your stateMany states such as New York, California, Colorado, Michigan, and Washington have digital vaccine certificate programs already in place. New York City even has an app, NYC COVID Safe, that allows individuals to upload and share their vaccination records and recent test status. Check if your state is participating in programs that enable you to store and share your vaccination status digitally.
Get a digital vaccine certificate through your local pharmacyPharmacies, such as Duane Reade, Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aide, which have been administering vaccines through the pandemic, may provide digital vaccine records.
Get a digital vaccine certificate through your health providerYour doctor can likely provide you with access to a digital copy of your vaccination status through online portals and apps. Many healthcare providers have partnered with the SMART Health Card system, which generates and stores digital vaccination records.
Get a digital vaccine certificate through an appCLEAR Health Pass and CommonPass are two popular independent apps that generate digital vaccination certificates.