Updated: Dec 4, 2021
You received your COVID-19 vaccination and would like to travel. Depending on where you would like to travel to, you may be required to present some form of digital proof of vaccination. However, because standards and requirements vary from country to country, and even from state to state within the United States, it may require some forethought on your part to obtain digital proof.
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Examples of a Digital Record
The European Union Digital COVID Certificate Regulation entered into application on July 1, 2021. This enables EU citizens and residents to have their Digital COVID Certificates issued and verified across the EU. For an EU citizen or resident to obtain a Digital COVID Certificate, they will need to have either:
Been vaccinated against COVID-19;
Received a negative test result; or
Recovered from COVID-19.
The digital version can be stored on a mobile device. There is also a paper version. Both contain a QR code that authenticates the certificate. However, it is prudent to have a digital version in the event the paper version is lost or destroyed.
Within the United States, there is not one standardized method to obtain a digital record of your vaccination. For example, New York has launched the Excelsior Pass; it is a secure, digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results. California has the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record. Some other states have their own platform in providing digital COVID-19 records to their residents. There is also the SMART Health Card Verifier App that can be used within some states; this authenticates a user of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.
Would you like to have access to a resource that will allow you to dynamically obtain COVID-19 related links to all 50 states within the United States, and over 100 countries worldwide? AwardYourMiles has created such a tool; feel free to use our COVID-19 Resources. The links provided will lead you to additional travel guidance as it relates to COVID-19 and vaccination guidelines.
How to Be Proactive
What if you live within a state—or country—that is difficult to obtain digital proof of your vaccination? Several options can help you in this scenario.
If you already have a paper vaccination record take a picture—front and back—with the camera app from your smartphone. Make sure you're in an area that is well-lit and close enough to the card so that the dates are legible. Also, save the picture in a folder within your smartphone that is easy to remember/ access.
"A little preparation beforehand can save hours—or even days—of frustration."
You can also check with your health insurance carrier to see if they have a digital version of your vaccination. For example, UnitedHealthcare has introduced vaccine pass.
Vaccine pass offered through UnitedHealthcare allows you to obtain a digital record of your COVID-19 vaccination as a QR code. Other health carriers have adopted a similar method for their members to obtain digital records of their vaccination.
Using Google Pay, Samsung Pay, or Apple Wallet
If you own a smartphone, chances are that you have access to Google Pay, Samsung Pay, or Apple Wallet. All three of these platforms allow you to add your vaccination record.
Here are the steps you'll need to follow to add your vaccination record to Google Pay:
According to Samsung, you'll need to follow these 3 steps to add your vaccination record to Samsung Pay:
Download the CommonHealth app from the Google Play store.
After you download the CommonHealth app, follow the instructions to add your SMART Health Card in CommonHealth to load your COVID-19 vaccine record.
Once you have loaded your COVID-19 vaccine record in the CommonHealth app, within your vaccination record, click on the "Samsung Pay" button to add your vaccine record to Samsung Pay, then click "OK" on the confirmation screen.
Apple released a news report on September 21, 2021 indicating an upcoming software update to iOS 15 where iPhone users will be able "to add verifiable COVID-19 vaccination records as a vaccination card in Apple Wallet."
When You Travel
Be sure to research your destination to learn about any COVID-19 restrictions or travel entry requirements. Our COVID-19 Resources will help you in this regard; simply enter the state or the country you plan on visiting and dynamic links that contain COVID-19 guidance and other travel advisories will automatically populate.
Make sure to have your digital COVID-19 vaccination record saved to your smartphone—and other family members traveling with you. It is also a good idea to have a paper copy—not the original—of your proof of vaccination.
However, what if you arrive at your destination—and are asked to provide proof of your vaccination—but forgot to bring it with you? In this situation, a little resourcefulness may go a long way. We live in a digital age—a lot of information can be accessed over the internet via our smartphone with the touch of our fingers. Simply logging in to our insurance or healthcare provider's website—or app—may allow us to access a digital record of our vaccination—if one has been added to our account. Another option is to contact them via telephone to see if they will send us verification of our vaccination status in a secure manner—if that option is available.
It is important to remember that conditions and requirements can change rapidly. By doing your homework and having your documentation in order, you may mitigate COVID-19 related problems that could arise on your journey—and that will make your trip less stressful.