EU’s Digital COVID Certificate “should serve as a blueprint”: IATA

GENEVA — IATA is formally backing the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) as the global standard and is urging states to implement the system in order to safely restart travel.

The DCC was rolled out across the 27-nation bloc on July 1, plus a number of reciprocal agreements have been made with other states’ own vaccination certificates including Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine. In the absence of a single global standard for digital vaccination certificates, up to 60 other countries are looking to use the DCC for their own certification.

According to IATA, the DCC is an excellent model as it is consistent with the latest World Health Organization Guidance and is fully supported by IATA Travel Pass. The Pass, launched earlier this year, is a mobile app that allows travellers to easily and securely store health credentials in one place.

“The DCC was delivered in record time to help facilitate the reopening of EU states to travel,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s Deputy Director General. “In the absence of a single global standard for digital vaccine certificates, it should serve as a blueprint for other nations looking to implement digital vaccination certificates to help facilitate travel and its associated economic benefits.”

EU’s DCC meets several key criteria, including:

  • Format: the DCC has the flexibility to be used in both paper and digital format
  • QR code: The DCC QR code can be included in both digital and paper format. It contains essential information as well as a digital signature to make sure the certificate is authentic.
  • Verification and authentication:  The European Commission has built a gateway through which the encrypted data used to sign DCCs and required to authenticate certificate signatures can be distributed across the EU. The gateway can be also used to distribute encrypted data of non-EU certificate issuers other issuers. The EU has also developed a specification for machine readable Validation Rules for cross-country travel.


IATA is offering to collaborate with the EU Commission and any other interested state to further integrate the DCC into airline processes.

Earlier this month, Canada’s federal government confirmed its own plans for a country-wide proof of vaccination system. The first phase of the two-track system makes use of the ArriveCAN app, while the national solution, scheduled for as early as the fall, will be in full coordination with provinces.