VFS Global and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have signed an agreement to incorporate accredited and approved COVID-19 testing laboratories into the IATA Travel Pass. Through the agreement, COVID-19 test credentials issued by partici-pating labs will be securely transmitted to the IATA Travel Pass. The addition of VFS Global’s network of government-approved labs into the IATA Travel Pass will make travel even more hassle-free for travellers in Canada, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, UAE, and the USA, requiring a mandatory pre-departure COVID-19 swab test.
As governments, airlines and local authorities require support with implementing COVID-19 testing, the addition of VFS Global’s network into the IATA Travel Pass offers a seamless service by providing trav-ellers, airlines and governments with accurate information on passengers’ COVID-19 health status. By leveraging VFS Global’s extensive network of strategic medical partners and authorised laboratories accredited by Governments, travellers can book their mandatory pre-departure COVID-19 test.
Once the test results are ready, using IATA’s Travel Pass solution, travellers can immediately access their test results uploaded on the platform and validate them against travel requirements. The IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that helps travellers to store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines. Travellers can show this for verification at the airline check-in counters before board-ing.
The solution enables airlines and immigration authorities to digitally validate and verify the authenticity of the COVID-19 test results using a simple QR code scan and matching the health credentials against the destination country’s entry requirements. It is more secure and efficient in verifying an individual’s health status than the current paper processes used to manage health requirements. It is also important given the potentially enormous scale of testing or vaccine verifications that will need to be securely managed.
Commenting on the partnership, Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO, VFS Global, “With digital solu-tions such as health passports and certificates becoming more and more prevalent, we are pleased to pro-vide a more seamless system by leveraging our extensive network of laboratories across the world for trav-ellers to get a reliable COVID test result that is accepted by authorities. We aim to amplify solutions like this which help verify an individual’s COVID health status by integrating with platforms like the IATA Travel Pass to support the recovery of international travel.”
“COVID-19 testing will play a key role in re-starting international travel. Travellers will need to understand test requirements, locate labs, verify their identity to the lab and transfer their test results to relevant par-ties—airlines and governments—as needed. Our partnership with VFS Global will give travellers access to VFS Global’s extensive network and help them securely and efficiently manage their test results for travel,” said Nick Careen, Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security, IATA.
How to get your Travel Pass in four simple steps:
- Visit https://www.vfsglobal.com/en/individuals/covid-test.html to book your PCR/Antigen test appointment
- Select your location and provide your contact as well as travel details online
- On confirmation, proceed for your swab test as scheduled at the participating clinic or hospital opted for
- Get your results once uploaded on the IATA Travel Pass mobile app for airline and border con-trol verification
Most importantly, the solution also tackles the issue of fraudulent COVID-19 swab results prevalent across the world. With black markets selling COVID-negative swab results, there are multiple incidents of COVID-positive travellers doctoring fake COVID-negative swab results to travel overseas. As the trade association for the world’s airlines (representing some 290 airlines or 82% of total air traffic), IATA has joined hands with VFS Global- the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist and a trusted partner to 62 client governments to offer this reliable solution for immigration authorities, airlines and travellers to tackle this challenge by leveraging on the latter’s COVID-19 testing services launched last year across multiple locations worldwide and IATA’s Travel Pass mobile app solution. To support the recovery of international travel, VFS Global’s currently has a network of government-approved testing labs across 270 cities in 45 countries that verify an individual’s COVID health status.