Beginning Tuesday, 26 January, international travellers to the United States will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three calendar days of departure.

Major airlines are responding by introducing and expanding mobile health passports that offer an easy way to provide results from a negative test and other COVID-19 required documents. 

American Airlines announced that passengers can start using its VeriFLY app, a mobile health passport for inbound travel to the US from all international destinations, to confirm testing and other COVID-19 travel requirements, on Saturday, 23 January.

Announced on 12 January, the new order by US government applies to all passengers two years of age and older traveling to the US from any international location.

“We’re expanding our work with VeriFLY to quickly evolve our usage of the app and make international travel easier for our customers,” said Julie Rath, Vice President of Customer Experience at American. “We support the implementation of a global program to require COVID-19 testing for travellers to the United States, and we want to do everything we can to make travel a seamless experience for customers. We’ve received positive feedback about the app so far and look forward to more customers having the opportunity to use it.” 

VeriFLY has been developed and managed by Daon, a biometric authentication and identity assurance solutions provider. According to Daon, VeriFLY offers travellers an easy way to confirm their destination’s COVID-19 requirements. After creating a secure profile on the VeriFLY app, Daon verifies that the customer’s data matches a country’s requirements and displays a simple pass or fail message. This message streamlines the check-in and documentation verification process at the airport before departure. The app also provides travellers with reminders when their travel window is coming to a close or once their credential has expired. 

In October, United Airlines began testing CommonPass, a digital health pass under a global pilot program that is backed by the World Economic Forum and Swiss-based foundation The Commons Project. JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic began rolling out the CommonPass mobile app in December to help bring back global travel.

Meanwhile, IATA’s Travel Pass is global and standardised solution to validate and authenticate all country regulations regarding COVID-19 passenger travel requirements. IATA’s digital platform aims to inform passengers on what tests, vaccines and other measures they require prior to travel, give details on where they can get tested and giving them the ability to share their tests and vaccination results in a verifiable, safe and privacy-protecting manner is the key to giving governments the confidence to open borders.

One thing is sure. Digital COVID-19 health passports will likely play a big role in global travel going forward.

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