April 28, 2021

Content provided courtesy of Corporate Travel Management (CTM)

Health passports have been proposed to stimulate international travel by enabling travelers to prove they have received a negative COVID-19 test or vaccine, which could encourage countries to relax travel restrictions for these travelers.

Here are some insights about the current environment of business travel health passports:

1.   Health passports are not an entirely new concept – digitalization is. Many countries have long-required proof of vaccination against diseases like malaria and diphtheria. In the U.S., many schools require parents to prove their children have been vaccinated.

2.   Health passports can include a testing regime, where travelers must show a negative test result within a certain time frame, but soon could also include a requirement to demonstrate that the traveler has been vaccinated.

3.   Most health passport providers do not store data centrally, to mitigate privacy concerns. They simply link entities that need verification (airlines and governments) with test/vaccination data when travelers permit.

4.   The health passport market is decentralized. This approach means the industry is unlikely to end up with a single, consistent solution in the near future. Requirements and solutions may vary by airline, city-pair, and country.

5.   Airlines are likely to have their own process for verifying health data (powered by 3rd-party providers) for passengers so they can document their health status for each flight.

6.   One country may approve a vaccine that another country has not, which could result in a traveler believing they meet requirements when they do not.

7.   Company-mandated health passports are unlikely, as travelers will likely need to adopt them voluntarily. While HIPPA (U.S.) and GDPR (Europe) requirements may prevent mandated health passports, employees who refuse to get one may be prevented from traveling by their airline or destination.

8.   Currently, nearly every country worldwide requires evidence of a negative COVID-19 test prior to entry. Testing requirements and result verification does vary. Health passports are intended to streamline that process.

9.   Many airlines are adopting multiple vaccine passports, allowing travelers to decide which vaccine passport to use. By offering multiple options to travelers allows for convenience and flexibility for travelers. For example, if a traveler already has the CommonPass vaccine passport which they used to board their flight, having that same pass be accepted by their hotel reduces friction and the need to adopt multiple different vaccine passports.


Frequently Asked Questions About Health Passports

How can a travel program implement a health passport?

Travel programs will need to collaborate with internal privacy and legal stakeholders. It is likely that you will be unable to mandate the adoption of a health passport. However, employees that do not opt-in will likely be unable to travel internationally. It is an issue that likely should be taken to the board level to resolve the balance of legal and privacy risks with the business continuity risk presented by not resuming travel. Due to varying regulations by country at a global level, it is unlikely there will be scope for a single global policy applicable to all employees.

What will a health passport look like from a traveler’s perspective?

Similar to scanning a boarding pass when entering an airport, it is likely that when a traveler is arriving in a foreign country, they will need to provide a scannable barcode that links to a website with their testing or vaccination records. That record will need to meet the country’s guidelines for entry.

What are some of the challenges regarding health passports?

Providers must be able to identify and understand the travel requirements, standardize the providers and requirements of the testing network to ensure reliability, and provide a consistent and trusted identity verification throughout the process – to travelers, airlines, and testing labs.


Key Health Passport Providers

Travel Pass, from IATA:  visit website here

Trave Pass provides a mobile app or module embedded in airline apps that helps travelers to store and manage their verified certifications for
COVID-19 tests or COVID-19 vaccines. It includes a registry of health, testing and vaccine requirements for destinations and integrates with its network of testing and vaccination centers.

IATA’s pass is currently live and is built to be interoperable with many other solutions and providers. IATA’s solution may have advantage as a historical place for managing entry requirements. TravelPass trials are live with a broad range of airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Qatar, Malaysian Airlines, Qantas, Virgin Atlantic, Swiss Air, Air New Zealand and many more.

CommonPass, from the Commons Project Foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum as well as public and private partners from 37 countries:  visit website here

CommonPass is an app that stores and verifies a traveler’s COVID-19 test status by assessing whether test results come from a trusted source and whether they satisfy the screening requirements of the destination. The system delivers a “yes” or “no” while keeping the health information private. Having a trusted network of test centers, governments, and healthcare providers gives both travelers and governments the confidence each traveler is has a verified COVID-19 status.

United Airlines has adopted and is working towards 100% integration. This offering is also being piloted by JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic. CommonPass has the support of ACI, which represents 2,000 airports.

VeriFLY, by Daon:  visit website here

VeriFLY is designed to help travelers understand the COVID-19 requirements at their destination and streamline airport check-in. VeriFLY takes the step of validating the credentials prior to airport arrival to ensure that travelers have completed all steps required, such as diagnostic test results, health questionnaires, and (in future) proof of vaccination. It is currently being used by 275,000 travelers. Travelers are in full control of the results, and thus far have not had a single traveler denied entry.

VeriFLY is currently being used by American Airlines and British Airways. They soon will announce a global hotel chain partner. VeriFLY can be used on American Airlines outbound flights to the UK, Canada, Jamaica, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI):  visit website here

VCI provides consumers the ability to store an encrypted copy of their immunization credentials on their phones. VCI is developing a standard model for organizations administering COVID-19 vaccines to provide proof of the action in an accessible, interoperable, digital format.

This solution is currently being tested by JetBlue, Lufthansa, and United Airlines.

ICC AOKpass:  visit website here

In partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce and audit company SGS, ICC AOKpass is a decentralized block-chain process that increases the security of user data. One advantage of ICC AOKpass is its network of 90,000 medical partners. Their plan is to partner directly with airlines. The pass can work with or without a smartphone. There are several ongoing pilots.

Airside Mobile:  visit website here

The goal for Airside Mobile is to be a passport ‘hub’ connecting to multiple passport providers. It will cost $15/year per traveler, though they will have a corporate program with reduced fees.

Digital Green Pass: (no current website)

The goal for Digital Green Pass is to gradually enable E.U. travelers to move safely in the E.U. or abroad. It may be June 2021 before the system is ready to go live. It is unclear what legislative or technical steps will be required or if will extend beyond E.U. citizens.

(Note: This version was last updated April 27, 2021. Information on this page is sourced from third-party sources. While effort is taken to verify the accuracy of this information, Radius Travel recommends that travelers seek independent advice and/or information directly from the provider or supplier source as information may change regularly.)