ICAO offers benefits for COVID-19 testing and vaccination validation
The publication of new technical specifications for a visible digital seal (VDS) for restricted environments has been announced today
The new VDS stores data sets for test and vaccination certificates in a two-dimensional barcode that can be paper-based or screen-based. Border control and other receiving parties can verify data against established requirements efficiently and seamlessly, including through the use of traveler self-service kiosks and processes.
The VDS barcode is digitally signed for security purposes, and the signature is based on the same public key cryptographic infrastructure principles that are already used to support the issuance and authentication of e-passports in more than 145 countries around the world. .
"As States attempt to reopen their borders for air travelers, they frequently ask passengers to provide proof of vaccination or COVID-19 evidence as a prerequisite for entry," commented ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu.
"The lack of international standardization to date has meant that reading and validating these tests is frequently challenging, and these new VDS specifications will help make related processes and documents much more efficient and less vulnerable to fraud. The VDS solution also makes use of established infrastructure and procedures, which means that states can implement VDS barcodes quickly and at minimal cost, "he stressed.
The publication of the new VDS specifications follows the approval of the Guidelines for the use of VDS for travel-related health testing by the ICAO Council's Aviation Recovery Working Group (CART) in March 2021.
They have benefited from comprehensive input from states and industry through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), providing an important foundation from which the aviation and border control communities can move forward with solutions that are simultaneously novel but interoperable globally.
"ICAO will host a series of regional webinars over the next several weeks to enhance awareness of the VDS solution and provide initial guidance for state-by-state implementation," noted Dr. Liu.