How the International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate works

Your certificate has a QR code that protects against forgery in the same way as the chip in your passport.

The QR code is in a format called VDS-NC, which the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has specified as its worldwide standard for digital vaccination certificates.

Authorities can verify that your certificate is true and unaltered by checking the QR code against the Country Signing Certificate Authority (CSCA) public key that secures Australia passports. One way they can do this is by using an Australian Government app called VDS-NC Checker.

Why is the passport office involved?

Your certificate uses the same digital security technology as the chip in an Australian passport. The Australian Passport Office in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) administers this technology for the Australian Government.

How is my privacy protected?

When you request an international certificate, you provide informed consent for Services Australia to send DFAT the personal information so that DFAT can issue your certificate.

DFAT purges this personal information from its systems as soon as it issues your certificate. DFAT doesn’t keep a copy of your certificate or keep a record that it has issued you a certificate.

DFAT sends your certificate to Services Australia so that, from your myGov account, you can view it, print it, save it, or upload it to a digital wallet or travel app, and so that Services Australia can provide you with technical and other support.

More information is in the privacy policies of DFAT and Services Australia.

Is my International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate linked to a database?

No. Authorities anywhere in the world can authenticate your international certificate offline, without connecting to an Australian Government database.

Is my certificate recorded on my passport chip?

No.

Although it contains your passport number and uses the same verification technology as your passport chip, your certificate is separate to your passport.

When you get a certificate, nothing happens to your passport chip.

Does my certificate go into my passport?

To prove that you’re the rightful holder of your certificate, you’ll generally need to show it together with your passport. But your certificate and your passport are separate documents.

Can someone forge an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate?

The QR code with your passport details and COVID-19 vaccination history is as secure from forgery as the chip in your passport.

How can I test if my International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate works?

You can authenticate your international certificate QR code by using the free VDS-NC Checker app, available in the Apple and Google Play stores.

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