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What You Need to Know About Proof of Vaccination for Travel in 2023

woman holding vaccine card
Allianz - woman holding vaccine card

As global travel booms, most COVID-19 restrictions have fallen by the wayside. However, the virus hasn’t disappeared yet. As of mid-2023, some COVID vaccine requirements for international travel still exist. Before you plan your next trip overseas, check the rules so you’re not caught by surprise.

Where can I find the COVID vaccination requirements for travel to my destination?

Start here! Our interactive map shows current travel rules and restrictions for each destination, including info on COVID-19 testing, vaccination policies, necessary travel documents and quarantine periods. (Content is provided by Sherpa, an affiliated third party).

At the top of the map, you’ll see a toggle switch labeled “COVID-19 vaccinated?” Choose “no” to see worldwide travel restrictions for unvaccinated travelers, and “yes” to see requirements for vaccinated travelers. Because the rules continue to change, we also recommend checking the U.S. embassy website for your destination before you travel.

Do any countries still require travelers to show proof of COVID vaccination?

As of mid-2023, virtually all countries—including the United States—have stopped requiring travelers to be vaccinated. However, some destinations still have mandatory COVID testing for travelers who aren’t vaccinated, so having that vax card in your pocket can make your trip easier. Examples include the Philippines, Bolivia, and Cameroon, all of which require unvaccinated travelers to have proof of a negative test before entering the country.

What about other travel vaccination requirements?

The CDC Travelers’ Health site is your best resource for learning about specific health concerns and recommended/required vaccinations for each country. Enter your destination in the drop-down menu to see a list of the vaccines the CDC recommends, such as hepatitis A and typhoid. Yellow fever vaccination may be required for travelers coming from countries where there’s a risk of yellow fever transmission.

You can also ask your healthcare provider for personalized guidance on travel vaccines.

Do I need proof of COVID vaccination for a cruise?

Most cruise lines have dropped their requirement that passengers be vaccinated against COVID-19. One exception is Viking: “For departures on or before October 31, 2023, Viking will continue to require that all guests be vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days prior to travel. You may be required to show proof of vaccination to board a Viking ship and along your journey. We strongly suggest carrying your physical vaccine records at all times.”

Before you sail, check your cruise line’s vaccination and testing requirements, as well as the rules for each port you plan to visit.

Do I need to carry my vaccination card when I’m traveling?

It’s a good idea to carry the physical card, even if you have a digital version as well. “The physical C.D.C. card is precisely what you’ll need to travel anywhere that requires proof of vaccination,” says The New York Times’ travel columnist.1 Even if you have digital proof of vaccination on your phone or other device, we recommend carrying the card. That way, if your battery dies or your phone gets lost or broken, you’ll still be able to show your vaccination record.

Can I show a photo of my vaccination card instead of the actual document?

For some purposes, a scan or photo of the card may be enough. Remember to take a picture of both sides! If you’re traveling to a country where proof of vaccination is required, you’ll probably need the physical card or an official digital version.

How do I get a digital version of my COVID-19 vaccination record?

The answer depends on where you live. Each state maintains its own records, so you’ll have to find the immunization information registry for your state. Some states make it supremely easy: Just search for your name, verify your identity and get a downloadable record or a QR code you can save to your phone.

In some states, the process takes longer: You’ll have to fill out an immunization records request form and wait several days to get your info. (If you need a digital vaccination record because you’re traveling soon, don’t wait until the last minute!)

A few companies offer digital proof of COVID-19 vaccination. You can upload your ID and vaccination card, then get a digital, shareable version. These companies include:

  • AZOVA, which allows you to also get digital COVID-19 test results for travel
  • Clear, which offers a free Health Pass service on its app
  • CommonPass, a free, nonprofit service that lets you securely share vaccination info

Help! I can’t find my vaccination card.

The quickest way to get proof of vaccination for travel will be to obtain your digital vaccination record. If your state doesn’t provide digital records, or you need the physical card as well, contact the provider that gave you the vaccine — whether that’s your doctor’s office, a pharmacy, or your local health department.

If you can’t reach your original provider, reach out to your state or local health department. Even though the CDC’s name is on vaccination cards, the CDC doesn’t keep immunization records or issue new cards.2

Do certain countries still require travel insurance for COVID-19?

Yes. Several countries still require tourists to carry travel insurance that can cover COVID-related emergency medical and/or quarantine expenses. Check your destination’s entry requirements to see if that’s the case.

Even if your destination requires you to buy a COVID-specific policy, you still should protect yourself with a more robust travel protection plan. OneTrip Prime, our most popular plan for international trips and family vacations, includes not only emergency medical benefits but also trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage benefits and more. See all travel insurance plans.

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