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From November 8th, EU citizens can enter the US again and since the airlines will check COVID-19 PCR test and vaccination prior to boarding, I assume that they will just accept the digital EU vaccination certificate (QR code). At least on departure from an EU airport they should even be able to actually scan the QR code and verify that the certificate is genuine. But what kind of proof do I need in stores, restaurants etc. in the US? They might not be familiar with the digital EU certificate, so I can imagine that the smartphone app that I use at home will not be accepted. Will the airline provide some kind of document that I can use during my stay?

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Willeke
    Nov 5, 2021 at 14:48

3 Answers 3

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Your digital vaccine certificate from the EU should work fine, though I'd bring a paper printout too just in case. For example in King County this is directly addressed in the vaccine passport health order:

What is considered proof of vaccination?

  • CDC COVID-19 vaccine record card or photo of vaccine card
  • Printed certificate from MyIRMobile.com
  • Other official immunization record from within or outside the U.S., including from your health care provider. A photo or photocopy of this card is also acceptable.

As you can see, the CDC card is just one option and they explicitly allow foreign documents. For NYC the rules are similarly friendly to alternative documents:

For proof of vaccination, you can use:

  • CDC Vaccination Card. A digital photo or photocopy of this card is also acceptable.

  • NYC Vaccination Record or other official immunization record, including from your health care provider. A digital photo or photocopy of this card is also acceptable. If you are unable to get this record, call 311.

Businesses likewise acknowledge this, for example a restaurant in NYC has the following policy:

For International Guests:

  • Please bring a copy or your vaccination record and valid photo ID. Documentation showing that a guest received any of the vaccines approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization will be accepted.

Finally remember that not all states have a "vaccine passport" program. Around half of them went as far as to ban them and only a handful currently require them statewide. So depending on your destination you might not have to show your vaccine card at all.

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  • @NeanDerThal I'm not sure what you mean?
    – JonathanReez
    Nov 4, 2021 at 0:24
  • @JonathanReez The FAQ on King County's website mentions “states” (as in US state, a component of the US) or “county” (no "r", a sub-state administrative division in the US) and doesn't mention foreign documents at all.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 4, 2021 at 0:31
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    @Relaxed updated with a different text from the county website, thanks
    – JonathanReez
    Nov 4, 2021 at 0:35
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    @Relaxed as a corollary, this represents a difference between US and European bureaucracy - paperwork requirements are generally very lax. The CDC card itself is just a plain piece of paper unlike the European cryptographically secure QR code.
    – JonathanReez
    Nov 4, 2021 at 3:19
  • "paperwork requirements are generally very lax": which caused no end of worry about whether my wife's and my CDC cards would be accepted in various European jursidictions. Mine has a stamp; hers doesn't. Hers has some datum that mine doesn't, I don't remember which. Fortunately, they have both now been converted into EU digital passes.
    – phoog
    Nov 5, 2021 at 14:44
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But what kind of proof do I need in stores, restaurants etc. in the US?

A friend of mine was in this situation when visiting Washington state and simply showing a picture/screenshot of the certificate on his phone worked all the time for restaurants/bars/clubs. The restaurants/bars/clubs were checking his name on the vaccine certificate as well as the vaccination, and sometimes looked at whether his name was matching the ID. Nobody checked if the certificate was genuine and the paper version was never asked. He went to ~20 restaurants/bars/clubs. Some don't require vaccination proof.

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  • 1
    What kind of certificate was it?
    – Relaxed
    Nov 3, 2021 at 23:04
  • Was this a non US-issued vaccine certificate and ID?
    – Traveller
    Nov 3, 2021 at 23:29
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    @Traveller yes. Nov 3, 2021 at 23:40
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    This lack of actual checking could be why COVID is currently sky-rocketing in Germany. There is, effectively, no vaccination requirement at most places. People just bring fake ones.
    – user253751
    Nov 4, 2021 at 9:50
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    @user253751 the ongoing pandemic certainly isn't a product of human intelligence. Nov 4, 2021 at 9:52
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I am in the USA right now and encounter this issue. For my work, only an official paper document worked. Those should have been given to you when you were vaccinated.

I am from France, there we got an app that display a qr code and your vaccination status. This worked nicely for bar and restaurant. Until now, all of them accepted my electronic proof.

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  • That's because nobody in a bar or restaurant is likely to be adequately trained to verify such documents, which explains why so many anti-vax people are getting away with just printing up fake ones. As long as you present something that looks reasonably official, I very much doubt you're going to be denied service. Most places don't even bother checking. Since getting my shots, I've only had to show anyone my card exactly once (at a concert). Employers, on the other hand, may have more competent people around to check things out. We're not nearly as organized as the EU on that front. Nov 4, 2021 at 16:43
  • @DarrelHoffman Keep in mind that someone who doesn't want the COVID vaccine specifically is not necessarily an antivaxxer.
    – Brilliand
    Nov 4, 2021 at 19:38
  • @DarrelHoffman correct, no one seriously enforces this, hence I wouldn't worry about having the "wrong" document. In King County you don't even have to show ID while showing your vaccine card. So tourists from any country in the world have nothing to fear. Its a pretty annoying inconvenience but you'll get into the venue.
    – JonathanReez
    Nov 5, 2021 at 1:47
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    I've just been to France. They do scan QR codes but never check IDs, so they have no idea whether you're showing your code or someone else's QR code. So they do more work, but the result is basically the same.
    – George Y.
    Nov 5, 2021 at 4:56

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