With countries working to re-establish global travel and trade through aviation, the need to provide internationally verifiable health proof to travelers has become an urgent global concern. The new ICAO Visible Digital Seal (VDS), originally adopted by countries for travel document verification, is now gaining expanded international acceptance as an affordable and efficient solution to this critical global challenge.
“This is an urgent priority for the international community, and a number of countries are now actively engaging with ICAO on suitable formats for their national health proofs,” confirmed ICAO Secretary General Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar.
“Considering the core security and information aspects involved, the new VDS is an important part of our recommendations for facilitating travel under the current circumstances,” he noted, “and we’re also cooperating closely with industry and others, now issuing similar 2D barcode systems, to ensure a seamless global system is the end result.”
ICAO and the European Union are currently working to ensure compatibility between the VDS and European Digital COVID Certificates, with specific international implementation guidelines expected shortly. Other regions and countries are conducting their own assessments as they continue to leverage the positive health outcomes being realized through vaccination.
“Global consensus on secure and conveniently-implementable solutions, like the ICAO VDS, greatly benefits the security and efficiency of international aviation. It also benefits the many millions of people all over the world who depend directly on air connectivity for their basic economic survival,” Mr. Salazar explained.
ICAO VDS Guidelines and specifications are publicly available to support their efficient global deployment. The use of certificates attesting to vaccination status and test outcomes, as part of a State’s overall COVID-19 risk mitigation strategy, is outlined in the detailed aviation response and recovery guidelines issued by the ICAO Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART). ICAO’s COVID-19 Portal provides additional resources to help governments and the industry work together to reconnect the world in the recovery from the pandemic.