The Good The Bad And The Ugly Of Covid-19 Travel
My wife and I are currently wrestling with our upcoming trip to Europe and how much of a hassle it will be and how serious the risk is of traveling that far from home. We’ve both been vaccinated (5 months ago) and have our CDC cards. Getting nearer to the travel date I decided to research the requirements of documentation and testing for the trip.
The U.S. CDC Covid Vaccination Card
As an American, the only valid proof of vaccination is the pathetic CDC card. At its outset it was not considered an “official proof” document and was more of a reminder notice for the second vaccination. There were several different formats and while it could be typed or computer printed often the vaccine information was hand written. Because it was soon realized that the card was the only U.S. document it quickly took on much more importance and is now one of the most important travel documents you need to carry. It also offers very little protection from being forged. The card was nothing more sophisticated than ordinary white card stock printed with black ink. Valid cards can be as simple as hand written information.
Carrying the CDC Covid Vaccination Card – For international travel virtually every set of instructions simply explains that you need to carry your “original” card on you as you go to the airport or cruise terminal and have it available at immigration stations as you enter countries. While there is no specific instructions about copies or a prohibition against laminating the card there are a number of warnings not to.
Digital Vaccination Cards And Test Results
Since the outbreak of the pandemic there have been dozens of proposals regarding digital systems to prove your vaccination and negative test results, but as of now there is no widely accepted system.. There are a number of touted apps but none are widely accepted. After downloading three they all had the same problems. In order to activate an account you have to have a travel reservation with an airline and in each case the airline will supply you with a code to activate the app and allow you to add “certifiable” information (your CDC card or recent test results).
What this means is that in every case it is probably more convenient to just carry those printed documents. Each app seems to have its own set of participating airlines and countries (or states) so one will not be universal for the forseeable future. The major apps include.
VeriFLY used by American Airlines, Hilton, British Airways and a number of international airlines.
IATA Travel Pass 20 international airlines including Japan Air and the country of Singapore.
CLEAR Used by38 airports nationwide Hawaii and most U.S. Airlines for flights to Hawaii. It has partnered with the state of Hawaii so travelers can link negative COVID-19 tests in the app to the Hawaii Safe Travels portal. The official Hawaii Safe Travels system only accepts COVID-19 tests from specific certified testing facilities, but Clear says travelers using the app can choose “many more.” There’s a map on the website with testing locations around the country. After creating an account, you can link your information by applying for exemption from quarantine using the “Clear exemption” button on the Hawaii Safe Travels website.
CommonPass is a digital health app that you can use to present standardized, verifiable proof that you were vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19. CommonPass is simple, intuitive, and free for users.
The Bottom Line
For now the bottom line would indicate you should put your vaccination card in a safe place. It’s an extremely important document and the only way to easily verify that you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19. For international travel carry it with your passport and those required Covid tests.
As you travel, most countries, airlines, cruise ships and travel providers will probably require as a minimum proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. EU entry as well as returning to the United States will require a negative Covid test within 72 hours.or in a few cases will accept proof of vaccination as an alternative to strict testing and quarantine requirements. Before you tavel check with your airline or cruise ship for boarding requirements.Visitors for entry and travel in Europe can be different for each individual country, region within a country, airline, train or cruise ship and even public events and spaces. To say it’s confusing is an understatement. While the EU Green Card is being issued and used by citizens and residents of the EU there is no specific identification requirement for visitors but a common requirement is proof of Covid vaccination and a negative test within 72 hours of entry.