The United Kingdom is working with its National Health Service to create an app that will act as a vaccine passport for traveling.
“I can confirm we’re working on an application…it will be an NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on to be able to show that you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing,” Transport Secretary Schapps told Sky News on Wednesday. “I’m working internationally with partners across the world to make sure that system can be internationally recognized.”
The outlet clarified that this would be a separate platform from the UK’s COVID-19 app that is currently used to grant access to pubs and restaurants.
Schapps added that more information regarding the app will be available in the coming weeks.
UK travelers will still have to undergo a COVID-19 test before departure and another once they return.
Currently, British officials have marked May 17 as the earliest date for when residents will be allowed international travel, according to Reuters.
When travel does reopen, a “traffic light” system will designate destinations based on their COVID-19 safety levels. Information about which countries will be included in which tier has not yet been released.
“So we do need to make sure we do this very, very carefully – we don’t want to throw away the lockdown, we don’t want to throw away our remarkable rollout in this country of the vaccination,” Schapps said. “But, in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be able to tell you about which countries will have made it into the traffic light system and that ‘green’ list, in particular, are the countries where you’ll be able to go to without needing to quarantine on your return.
Many questions still remain about how other international bodies will recognize each other’s health passports.
Airlines and airports have said that any vaccine passports will need to be digital to avoid customs delays due to paperwork checks, according to Reuters.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.