S'pore to accept other vaccination certificates from VTL travellers from US: CAAS

The U.S. does not currently have a national system or standardised proof of vaccination.

Jane Zhang | November 13, 2021, 08:31 PM

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Singapore will accept alternative Covid-19 vaccination certification from travellers arriving from the United States on the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL), outside of the current permitted proof of vaccination.

This came after The Straits Times reported on Friday (Nov. 12) that Singaporeans in the United States were encountering problems with returning to Singapore on the VTL due to the lack of a standardised vaccination certificate system in the U.S.

No national system or standardised proof of vaccination in the U.S. currently

Responding to media queries, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that the under the VTL, vaccination is an "important safeguard for quarantine-free entry into Singapore without compromising public health".

Digitally verifiable proof of vaccination is meant to guard against forgery, CAAS said, and the government is currently able to verify all digital vaccination certificates issued in 15 of the 16 VTL countries, other than the U.S.

14 of the countries have a national system of certificate issuance, and while Canada does not have a national system, it recently developed a secure and verifiable standardised proof of vaccination in the Smart Health Card (SHC).

The U.S. is the only exception, as it does not have a national system or standardised proof of vaccination; instead, it has multiple issuers including individual states, pharmacies, and supermarkets.

Singapore currently only accepts vaccination certificates for the U.S. that are issued in the SHC format by trusted issuers in the USA on the CommonTrust Network or Vaccination Credential Initiative.

However, only nine out of the 50 states in the U.S. are currently issuing SHCs. Six more are in the process of doing so, and three others have started testing the system.

Besides the states, pharmacies and healthcare providers such as CVS Health, Rite Aid Pharmacy, UCHealth, and Walmart also issue SHCs.

In addition, there are third-party issuers which do not administer vaccinations but provide users a digital vaccination record, often for a fee.

Other options for U.S. VTL travellers

In the meantime, VTL travellers from the U.S. can provide either:

  • Their digital vaccination record retrieved through their state’s or local health authority’s public health database
  • Their physical vaccination record and a letter signed by their vaccination provider to attest to their vaccination status, which includes the traveller’s details and details about their vaccination

Singapore Citizens and permanent residents do not need to apply for the Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP), and can show either of the documents listed above for verification at the airlines check-in counter before departure and at the Singapore immigration counter on arrival.

    For short-term visitors and long-term pass holders who need to apply for the VTP but are unable to upload their vaccination certificate, they can apply to the Safe Travel Office online with either of the above documents attached for verification.

    As more states roll out the SHC and more credible third-party issuers are onboarded, CAAS said that it expects most travellers coming from the U.S. to be able to produce a digitally verifiable vaccination certificate within the next one to two months.

    Travellers are advised to refer to the Safe Travel website for updates on the list of accepted digital vaccination certificates online.

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    Top photo via Unsplash / Matt Seymour.