a passport with a test strip

If you think this article is unnecessary, think again. People are faking covid-19 tests to travel, every day, and every time someone puts a picture of their vaccination card onto social media, it’s even easier for forgers to reproduce those, as well.

Vaccination and testing is having just the impact global health experts hoped, creating a safe environment to reopen the world, but until the “proof” is tamper proof, travel will feel like playing an incredibly frustrating game of whack a mole. Just as one country opens up, another will close again, you get the picture.

Passengers are faking covid-19 tests in significant numbers, but even if you’re a one of the morally corrupt who plans to, there’s a few reasons you might want to give that thought some extra pause, and just pay for the (damn) test.

Real Jail Time

Fake test, with a certificate you made in Preview, or Photoshop? Try real jail time in a foreign prison on for size. Until digital verifications methods are bolstered, countries are using stronger manual scrutiny – aka humans actually reading the test – to check testing and vaccination certificates.

a passport with a positive result

For a number of travelers, that’s meant real jail sentences. A woman in the Bahamas was recently sentenced to 6 months in Bahamian jail, which was actually a good result considering the potential penalty carried up to a two year sentence.

Fines aside, most countries, including the US, UK, Brazil, UAE and countless more have introduced jail time for fake covid-19 testing or vaccination certificates intended for travel, and airlines have the right to ban passengers indefinitely as well.

Testing Proof On Arrival

Vaccinated, eh? Let’s see about that. Israel recently announced it will open to vaccinated travelers beginning in May, but that little piece of paper with hand written notes isn’t going to do the trick. Well it will, as long as it’s real.

Israel will offer a serological test on arrival to all visitors, which will quickly check for unmissable markers of the various vaccines. Guess what, if none is detected, you’re probably on your way to Israeli jail. I haven’t heard great things.

a group of palm trees with the sun shining through

Delaying Livelihoods

Travel can be safe, even during these challenging times. Testing and vaccination play the two largest parts in ensuring people aren’t boarding planes or crossing borders while unwell, or risking local population.

If every test and vaccination certificate could be trusted, many more countries would already be open, and every day wouldn’t bring news of crazy new border changes. In short: travel would be a lot easier.

More than 300,000,000 people around the globe are employed in the travel sector, and a significant number of those tourism related jobs remain at risk, due to the heavy restrictions on international travel.

Frustrations with testing costs and access are heartfelt, but risking the lives of others by faking a test, rather than taking one is heartless. If you’d like to see travel return in any meaningful way, and to reconnect with places, people and things you love, don’t chance it.

Unless, of course. you fancy a chance at serious jail time, a criminal record or a massive fine. If you’re lucky, maybe all the above!

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Maybe you could start offering to pay for people’s cooties tests that don’t want to be forced to paying for something like that? That would be much more noble.

    1. Yes, indeed, there are many of us who do not believe that the Covid-19 Virus is fatal. Look at the stats alone, published by the Authorities themselves: a 99.7 cure rate. Even the vaccines are only capable of 95% at best. I am a PHD Virologist, by the way, and I am NOT accepting a Vaccine that was rushed. I am advising my patients to avoid these vaccines without exception. Even the annual flu shots are a long-shot to preventing the annual flu’s.

    2. Less people wanting to pay = less people out exploring the world = less people booking flights = better upgrade opportunities and availability = better experience for me… and with the bonus of prison time for the fraudsters… that’s a win win win in my eyes!

      Now, if only there were a mandatory troll-test!

  2. OMG. Threatened with jail time for a forged COVID vaccine card. What about actual criminals that get a slap on the hand for doing a lot worse things. Way to go people.

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