Travel Certificates Passports

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Last reviewed
November 6, 2023
Content Overview
Agencies offer digital passports and vaccine certificates 2023.

Travel Vaccine Certificates, Passports, Surveillance  2023

Vaccine passports are physical or digital credentials confirming a person has been vaccinated for a particular disease. Various countries require proof of vaccination to visit. The World Health Organization (WHOGlobal Digital Health Certification Network (GDHCN) became effective in Europe on July 1, 2023, and is a digital infrastructure partnership for developing a wide range of digital products. The GDHCN's digital capabilities may include verification of vaccinations and prescriptions across borders, the International Patient Summary, verification of vaccination certificates within and across borders, and certification of public health professionals through the WHO Academy. In June 2023, the WHO endorsed the European Union (EU) system of digital COVID-19 certification. The WHO published the Digital Documentation of COVID-19 Certificates: Vaccination Status and Test Results in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The E.U. Digital COVID certificate has been issued to more than 2.3 billion people across 51 countries.

International Certificates of Vaccination or Prophylaxis

The International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) is known internationally as the yellow card. The WHO published an updated Country List to identify which countries require an ICVP to enter.

Traveler-based Genomic Surveillance

The CDC's Traveler-based Genomic Surveillance (TGS) program anonymously collects two nasal swab samples from consenting international travelers arriving at U.S. airports. The nasal sampling multipathogen pilot program tests people for Flu A/B, RSV, SARS-CoV-2, and 30 additional priority pathogens. As of September 2023, the TGS program had enrolled more than 360,000 air travelers from more than 135 countries. As of November 6, 2023, Ginkgo Bioworks and XpresCheck will implement the program in selected airports in 2023. 

U.S. Passport, Security Notices, Health Advisories

The U.S. Department of State publishes information for visa and passport applications and for countries to help travelers assess their risks. If Americans are overseas and need emergency assistance, they should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, says the State Department. From Overseas, call +1 202-501-4444. Updated FAQs about U.S. passport and visa operations are on this State Department webpage. In addition, view travel requirements for countries edited by Sherpa. Choose a country on this map to begin your search.

The State Department launched the Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy on August 1, 2023. The Bureau's overarching mission is to fortify the global health security architecture to effectively prevent, detect, control, and respond to infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. By leveraging and coordinating U.S. foreign assistance, the Bureau aims to foster robust international cooperation, enhancing protection for the United States and the global community against health threats through strengthened systems and policies.


All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four of five U.S. territories covered by the REAL ID Act and related regulations are issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and identification cards. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in December 2022 its intent to extend the REAL ID full enforcement date by 24 months, from May 3, 2023, to May 7, 2025. The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards. Under the new regulations, beginning May 7, 2025, every traveler 18 years or older will need a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card, state-issued enhanced license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel. 

Transportation Security Administration

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Strategy and its supporting AAdministrator'sIntent and Roadmaps align with Departmental and National strategies and plans, such as the National Security Strategy, National Strategy for Transportation Security, National Strategy for Aviation Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Strategic Plan. On August 1, 2023, the TSA published its Open Architecture Roadmap that defines its long-term strategy to enhance screening capabilities. Furthermore, the TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who bring weapons to a security checkpoint. The TSA also reveals airport screening activity and empowers travelers to take advantage of facial biometrics. Find out when TSA PreCheck® lanes are available at your airport by searching at this link.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

If you are a U.S. citizen planning to travel abroad, you must comply with the document requirements for that country. Each individual arriving in the U.S. must complete the CBP Declaration Form 6059B. Examples and a sample declaration form can be found on the Customs Declaration Form. In addition, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection CBP One™ app is a single portal for mobile applications and services. 

As a result of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) travel promotion fee was increased from $10 to $17, in addition to a $4 operation fee. CBP began collecting the new fee amount on May 26, 2022. Individuals with an approved ESTA do not have to re-apply, as an ESTA is valid for up to two years. ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Authorization via ESTA does not determine whether a traveler is admissible to the United States. Instead, U.S. CBP officers determine the admissibility upon travelers' arrival.

Global Entry Program

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the USA. Members enter through automatic kiosks at select airports. In addition, the Enrollment on Arrival (EoA) program allows Global Entry applicants who are conditionally approved to complete their interviews upon arrival in the USA. A list of participating EoA airports is posted on this webpage. While Global Entry aims to speed travelers through the process, members may still be selected for further examination when entering the USA.

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) is a plan of the joint U.S. Department of State and Department of Homeland plan to imply the recommendation of the 9/11 Commissionommendation and the statutory mandates of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. As a result, U.S. citizens can present a passport Passport Trusted Traveler Program card (NEXUS, SENTR, U.S. military. Military identification card when traveling on official, oral orders; U.S. Merchant Mariner Document when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business.

Note that children must also present their passports when traveling by air. Lawful permanent residents must continue to give a valid Permanent Resident Card. A visa is not required. However, the Indian/tribal card can NOT be used for air travel.

Pet Passport and Tips For 2023

An E.U. Pet Passport is a universal document issued by an official veterinarian in the European Union (E.U.) Member State or other designated country contains official health information related to a specific pet. A passport is issued to a dog, cat, or ferret once taken to an E.U. veterinarian and vaccinated. The purpose of the E.U. Pet Passport is to simplify travel between the E.U. Member States. An E.U. Pet Passport cannot be obtained in the U.S.

On December 14, 2022, the TSA offered tips for traveling with small pets through security checkpoints this holiday season. Furthermore, the USDA has requirements for importing pet dogs from foreign countries. In particular, dogs traveling to the U.S. from countries affected by specific diseases may need additional inspection and/or quarantine. Use this digital menu to determine if your destination State has particular import requirements.

Airline Compensation Policies

Issued by the U.S. on August 29, 2022, a digital dashboard ensures the travelers have access to U.S. airlines' services to mitigate passenger inconveniences when the cause of a cancellation or delay was due to circumstances within the airline's control.