Digital border pass to get vax’d Australians flying overseas again

The Digital Passenger Declaration will replace the physical Incoming Passenger Card.

By David Flynn, September 13 2021
Digital border pass to get vax’d Australians flying overseas again

Australia will roll out a 'digital border pass' as international travel resumes, to replace both the physical Incoming Passenger Card and the digital Covid-19 Australian Travel Declaration form.

The Digital Passenger Declaration (DPD) will pull together travel and health information, including people's vaccination status, by linking with the QR code vaccination certificates to be introduced this month.

The digital platform could eventually include visas, import permits, licences, registrations and other government-issued documents as a single smartphone and PC-based 'super app'.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the DPD would underpin the "safe reopening of the border at scale when supported by health advice."

"This will help us to welcome home increasing numbers of Australians and welcome the tourists, travellers, international students, skilled workers and overseas friends and family we’ve all been missing during the pandemic."

The DPD will be developed by technology consulting firm Accenture, which won a government tender worth an estimated $75 million, with trials to begin in the coming months "before being deployed, at scale, throughout major Australian airports."

Qantas Travel Pass

Qantas will also introduce a 'vaccination passport' for international flights, using the Travel Pass platform to allow passengers to securely store and present proof of Covid vaccination as well as the results of pre-departure Covid tests.

The airline says that final development work is now underway to ensure the Travel Pass app is ready for use on Qantas and Jetstar international flights when they resume in December 2021.

However, a Qantas spokesperson told Executive Traveller that the airline is also looking to integrate Travel Pass functionality into the airline's own smartphone app so that passengers would eventually need just the one app.

"We want to get our international flights back in the air and our people back to work and a digital health pass will be a key part of that," says Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully.

"The IATA Travel Pass will allow travellers to have their Covid test results and vaccine information verified securely, which will be their green light to fly internationally with us."

Many countries already require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result for international travel.

"A digital health pass will connect customers with Covid testing facilities, health authorities and airlines, and ultimately enable the opening of more travel bubbles and borders," Tully elaborated.

By using the Travel Pass app, passengers will be able to confirm specific 'health requirements' for their flight, including the entry conditions of the country they're travelling to.

Also read: Which Qantas vaccination reward should you choose?


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.