You may need proof of COVID-19 vaccination to travel very soon

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Covid-19 vaccine cards may be required for travel in the future. Matt Stone/ MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

  • Major cruise lines have started requiring travelers to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

  • “Vaccine passports” proving COVID-19 immunity may soon be required for other international travel.

  • Delta Airlines has said proof of vaccination will probably be required on international flights.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As more people become vaccinated against COVID-19, many are wondering if they’ll need to prove their vaccination status in order to travel.

The short answer is that, right now, you only need proof that you’ve been vaccinated if you’re booking a cruise. But you may need proof of vaccination for more travel activities soon.

In recent weeks, major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean have started to announce vaccine protocols for guests and crew.

Royal Caribbean last month announced a series of fully vaccinated cruises that will require both crew and guests to be fully vaccinated, Insider’s Brittany Chang reported. The cruises will set sail beginning in May.

Proof of vaccination could come either in the form of a physical vaccine card or a digital confirmation of it, known as a “vaccine passport,” per Insider’s Joey Hadden.

Apps for digitizing proof of vaccination, like CommonPass, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass, and Health Pass by CLEAR are already in trial stages.

While governments and airlines are not yet requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for international travel, recent developments suggest they’re not far behind the cruise industry.

The “Green Pass” is required in Israel to enter certain places and participate in certain activities. Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance/Getty Images

A handful of countries like Ecuador and Belize are already making travel easier for fully vaccinated people by waiving the need to quarantine upon entry or present a negative COVID-19 test.

And Ed Bastian, the chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines, told NBC Nightly News that the airline will likely require proof of vaccination on international flights in the future.

“A domestic vaccine passport likely won’t be required,” Bastian said during a New York Times conference, The Points Guy reports. “I do however expect one to be required for international travel.”

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The World Health Organization is currently in the process of developing standards for digital vaccine certificates, and the EU hopes to launch a vaccine-passport program by mid-June that would allow vaccinated travelers to move without restrictions between member states, Insider’s Joey Hadden reported.

Programs for domestic travel are also in development.

On February 21, Israel launched a “green pass” app, which allows fully vaccinated residents to travel more freely throughout the country than unvaccinated residents.

The Biden administration is working on a similar vaccine-passport program that will allow vaccinated US citizens to enter crowded areas like event venues and restaurants, Insider’s Thomas Colson reported.

Requiring vaccination for travel is not a new concept. For years, select countries in Africa have required travelers to prove that they have been vaccinated against Yellow Fever.

Some countries already require proof of vaccination against other diseases to travel. Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images

However, the idea of making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory has raised concerns about discrimination against travelers who may not have access to a vaccine or who choose not to get it due to “medical, religious, or personal reasons,” Insider previously reported.

“We should never require the vaccination to get a job or to travel,” Gloria Guevara, president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, said during a Reuters Next Conference in January. “If you require the vaccination before travel, that takes us to discrimination.”

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