All about Covid-19 vaccination certificates
All about COVID-19 vaccination certificates
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In this activity, you’ll find out about how a COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate is an important document when travelling in Australia and overseas. You’ll also find out how to get your certificate, when you’ll need to show it, and why you need one certificate for Australia, and a different one to travel overseas.Start activity
What is a COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate
Currently, when you travel, or even just go out and about in Australia, you must carry evidence of your COVID-19 vaccinations, that you can show if asked to do so.
A COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate is a valid proof of vaccination, that you can show on the screen of your smartphone, or print out and carry with you.
When you travel overseas, you need an international COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate, because of special travel rules, especially around flying.
Types of Vaccination Certificates
Your COVID-19 vaccinations are recorded to your Medicare account, and also to the Australian Immunisation Register, or AIR.
A COVID-19 digital certificate, from Medicare, is accepted as proof of vaccination everywhere in Australia. Once you’ve had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, you can generate your COVID-19 digital certificate using your Medicare account.
An International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) for international travel can be requested from Medicare, and you will need to show you have a valid passport to be eligible. Currently, you need an ICVC to exit Australia, and you may need it at your destination too.
In Australia, your COVID-19 digital certificate is the most widely accepted form of proof of vaccination. There are other forms of proof of vaccination, but some require you to show extra ID, or take time to verify.
A COVID-19 digital certificate is designed to be accepted at-a-glance, either displayed on a smartphone screen, or printed out on paper. If you lose your smartphone, or the paper COVID-19 digital certificate, you can generate a new one for your new phone, and print it out again.
Checking current requirements
The situation with COVID-19 continues to change, sometimes by the week. Before booking any travel interstate or overseas, it’s important to check for any changes to COVID-19 travel rules.
You can get all this information at smartraveller.gov.au, which is the Australian Government’s official website for travel-related news and information.
The australia.gov.au website also has lots of up-to-date information about COVID-19 travel rules. You should also check the state government website for the state you are travelling to.
During COVID-19, the government updated smartraveller.gov.au with dedicated sections on everything related to COVID-19, which you can access from the main smartraveller.gov.au page. COVID-19 information is clearly labelled with links and buttons at the top of the page.
A COVID-19 ready checklist for travel
When you wish to travel interstate or overseas, check you have the following:
- Your COVID-19 digital certificate, set up on your smartphone, to use as proof of vaccination
- A paper copy of your COVID-19 digital certificate, to show as proof of vaccination, if your smartphone is out of battery
- For some destinations, you may need to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test before you can travel, even if you are vaccinated. This rule only applies to some destinations, and for some airlines. But because the test must be a recent one, it’s important to check for this rule before travelling.
A COVID-19 ready checklist for travel (continued)
- If you have a medical exemption from being vaccinated, you can apply for a COVID-19 digital certificate that works as proof of exemption, rather than proof of vaccination. This only works in Australia and can’t be used for overseas travel
- If you were vaccinated overseas, you should have a similar vaccination certificate. You can check smartraveller.gov.au or australia.gov.au to see which foreign certificates are valid.
It’s a good idea to carry a paper version of your COVID-19 certificate, in case your smartphone isn’t working for some reason. This version of the certificate is as equally valid as the smartphone version.
However, you might be asked to show additional identification when showing a paper certificate, so make sure you also have some valid ID, such as a driver’s licence or Medicare card ready too.
Getting your digital certificate
The option to generate a COVID-19 digital certificate appears in your online Medicare account up to seven days after you’ve had your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. You can generate your certificate using the Express Plus Medicare app, which you can download to your mobile device from your device’s official app store. This certificate works with your Medicare app, and your state’s Check In app.
You can also generate a PDF version of your COVID-19 digital certificate, through your online Medicare account via myGov. Learn more about creating a myGov account and linking your online Medicare account in the Introduction to MyGov topic.
You don’t need to provide any additional information to Medicare, such as proof of ID, to get your COVID-19 digital certificate, as this was done when you set up your Medicare account.
This is safe because you can only generate the certificate after first signing in securely to your Medicare account online, or via the Express Medicare App.
Getting an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate
Unlike your COVID-19 digital certificate, you need to request an ICVC using your online Medicare account via MyGov or the Express Medicare App. When you request an ICVC, you will need to provide the details of a valid Australian Passport, or a passport that has a valid Australian visa.
The requirements for obtaining an ICVC may change as the Covid-19 pandemic progresses. If you meet the current requirements, Medicare will generate your ICVC for you right away, and it will appear on your screen as a PDF which you can save to your device or print out immediately.
If your paper copy gets damaged or lost, you can sign in to Medicare securely, provide your passport details, and get a new ICVC right away.
This new certificate will make the previous certificate invalid, so if you find the old one again, make sure to throw it away.
This also protects you from having your ICVC stolen. If you are worried someone has it, generate a new ICVC, and the old one is no longer valid.
When you need an ICVC to travel overseas
When departing Australia, you may need to show your ICVC to airline staff at the gate, immediately before boarding. This can be on your smartphone, or as a paper version.
If you can’t get an ICVC, you need to contact your airline to ask what other forms of proof of vaccination they will accept.
It’s possible your airline may not accept any other proof of vaccination. Airlines are allowed to do this because of special COVID-19 rules that don’t apply to other businesses.
What if I'm not eligible for Medicare?
Both the COVID-19 digital certificate and the ICVC require a Medicare account. If you don’t have a Medicare account, and can’t get one, you can still get proof of vaccination from the Australian Immunisation Register.
To find out the process for this, on the servicesaustralia.gov.au website.
How COVID-19 affects travel insurance
Some destinations have stricter COVID-19 rules than others, and this can affect the cost of your travel insurance. If you are heading somewhere without many COVID-19 restrictions, you might find that your travel insurer will charge a higher fee. The smartraveller.gov.au website has a list of destinations and how they affect travel insurance costs.
Some countries may also require you to show proof of travel insurance before entry.
Other things to consider before travel
Before you travel, you should check the requirements for travel insurance, any mandatory quarantine and Covid 19 testing that relate to the countries you plan to visit.
The COVID-19 Leaving Australia page on smartraveller.gov.au is a one-stop shop for information about travelling during COVID-19. It will tell you:
- Where to get your COVID-19 certificate
- How to get a medical vaccine exemption if you need one
- Which destinations require quarantine
- If you will need to quarantine on returning to Australia
- And much more.
There’s a lot of information about COVID-19 and travel on the internet and it's constantly evolving. To ensure you have the most up-to-date information, the best source is always the official Australian Government websites smartraveller.gov.au or australia.gov.au. As well as information, these sites provide ways for you to get in contact with government officials if you have further questions.
This is the end of the All about COVID-19 vaccination certificates activity. You now know about the different kinds of ID you will need to travel.
Up next, you’ll find out about medical information and what you need to take, in the Travelling safely: Medical information activity.