How & Why To Use VeriFLY For International Travel

How & Why To Use VeriFLY For International Travel

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International travel is really complicated nowadays, between constantly changing rules, testing requirements, and endless pre-travel forms. In a previous post I shared my experience with the UK passenger locator form, which I needed to complete in order to even transit the UK enroute to Greece.

In this post I wanted to talk about VeriFLY, which I recently used for the first time. Prior to using it I was confused about what exactly it was, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, so hopefully I can clear things up a bit.

What is VeriFLY?

On the most basic level, VeriFLY is a free app that can help simplify the international travel experience. VeriFLY works with select airlines to help verify travel credentials (like coronavirus test results and passenger locator forms) for select destinations, in order to make the check-in experience more seamless.

Use of VeriFLY is not mandatory for travel on any airline, but rather it’s a tool intended to save you (and the airline) time when you’re at the airport.

Here’s how VeriFLY describes itself:

VeriFLY compiles real-time wellness information from self-certified health questionnaires and/or diagnostic COVID-19 test results from over 20,000 performing labs and provides digital badging, proof of test status for both antibody or viral testing, and (in the future) proof of vaccine. Our HIPAA-compliant solution removes the burden from organizations to structure agreements for lab results in multiple locations.

Users enjoy countless ways to acquire, verify, and assert their credentials—proof of health status, age, enrollment, citizenship, membership, reservations, and more.

VeriFLY won’t be useful for all airlines and/or destinations — the service partners with American Airlines and British Airways for international travel, but not most other airlines. You can find all the details about eligible VeriFLY destinations at these links:

If you’re on a flight eligible for VeriFLY, chances are the airline will email you prior to travel promoting you to use VeriFLY.

Perhaps this is easiest explained in the form of an example. I was flying from Charlotte to London on American Airlines, and London to Athens on British Airways. American Airlines partners with VeriFLY for flights to the UK.

By using VeriFLY, I was able to have my passenger locator form and negative coronavirus test result verified before I even got to the airport — when I got to check-in I just showed the agent my digital pass from VeriFLY, and that’s all that needed to be done.

We’ve heard the concept of a “vaccine passport,” so think of this (as of now) as more of a “testing and form passport.”

Why is VeriFLY useful?

You might be thinking to yourself that this sounds like a lot of effort for little reward. For travel to the UK, VeriFLY essentially helps you verify that your passenger locator form is complete, and that you have a valid negative coronavirus test.

Shouldn’t that just take a check-in agent a minute to verify, and therefore VeriFLY is useless? While you’d hope so, that’s not the reality:

  • The check-in agent that helped me explained that they have a ridiculously convoluted process that’s required for passengers who don’t use VeriFLY, and he said it can take them 45 minutes to complete (I’m guessing that was an exaggeration, but still)
  • I’m inclined to believe that’s not too far off, because it took the check-in agent about 20 minutes to properly document in our record that we could travel to Greece; and this wasn’t because he was clueless, but rather he was typing in our record almost the entire time

If you travel internationally:

  • Arrive at the airport really, really early, because at the counter next to me five people in a row missed their international itineraries
  • If possible use a service like VeriFLY that verifies your credentials in advance, because you’ll make your life easier, as well as the life of the check-in agent easier

How do you use VeriFLY?

I’ll share my experience using VeriFly for an American Airlines flight from Charlotte to London. I’ll talk about the process, and also share why I found the app to be rather clunky.

To start, you’ll want to go to the app store and download the VeriFLY app. You’ll then go through the “onboarding” process. This involves sharing basic details, before actually sharing details for a specific trip.

This involves sharing your first name, last name, and email address.

You’ll also have to take a photo of yourself, which will be what displays on your “mobile pass” when you’re done. I found the process of taking a picture through the app to be frustrating — sometimes the picture button just wouldn’t work, while other times the app rejected my picture.

With those details entered, you can start to create a “pass” for the trip you’re taking. VeriFLY can be used for several destinations, from Aruba, to Brazil, to the United Kingdom. Since I was traveling to the United Kingdom, I selected that option.

The next page outlines the process, which is that you have to enter basic trip details, then you have to enter passenger details, and then you have to go through the pre-travel checklist.

To start, I had enter my exact flight details. Since VeriFLY partners with American Airlines, I only had to enter the basic details (like the departure airport and destination), and then the app automatically recognized the flight number, flight times, etc. I also had to enter my passport details.

The next thing about VeriFLY is that you can add several companions to the same trip, including adults. You do need pictures and passport information for each person, but at least you don’t need to create separate accounts. This differs from the UK passenger locator form, where you have to create a separate account for each person.

From there you have three main steps:

  • You need to upload your negative COVID-19 test result, which needs to be done at least two hours before departure
  • You need to share details of your travel authorization, which in this case would be the UK passenger locator form
  • You need to go through a final checklist before leaving for the airport, which needs to be done within 24 hours of departure

To submit your COVID-19 test result you’ll need to:

  • Confirm that your date of birth is displayed on the test form
  • Select the type of test you took
  • Share the test date
  • State whether the exact test time is stated on the document; if it’s not, 8AM will be used as the presumed time of testing
  • Confirm that the lab you used is stated on the form
  • Confirm that your test result is negative
  • Upload the actual test result

Understandably there’s a manual review process here, though this is part of the process I found to be frustrating. My mom’s test was verified within two minutes, while mine took 16 hours to be approved, and that only happened a couple of hours before we headed to the airport. I’ve heard of others just having their test stay in the “pending” state without anything happening, which negates the purpose of this.

To complete the travel authorization:

  • I had to enter the application reference number on my UK passenger locator form
  • Separately I had to scan the QR code on my UK passenger locator form
  • I had to confirm that I haven’t been to a UK red list country in the past 10 days

Lastly, within 24 hours of departure and before going to the airport, I had to go through the pre-travel checklist, confirming that I have a valid passport, that I have a copy of my negative COVID-19 test, that I have a copy of my UK passenger locator form, and acknowledge I’d have to wear a face covering when flying.

At that point the checklist was complete.

With everything done, I was essentially given a “mobile badge” with my picture and a green check mark next to it, which means you’re clear to travel (I’m blurring the picture because I was getting so pissed off with VeriFLY’s useless photo taking feature that I’m basically scowling).

At the American Airlines check-in counter the agent was thrilled to see that I had completed the VeriFLY process. I just had to show him that “mobile badge” with my picture and the green check mark, and that was all the verification that was needed for the UK.

The check-in process still ended up taking about 20 minutes, as our documents had to be verified for Greece, which doesn’t participate in the VeriFLY program.

Bottom line

International travel is ridiculously complicated nowadays, between entry requirements, testing requirements, and paperwork. VeriFLY is a free travel verification service that partners with select airlines for select destinations.

While use of VeriFLY isn’t necessary, it does make the check-in process significantly easier. I recently used it when flying American Airlines from Charlotte to London, and VeriFLY was able to verify my UK passenger locator form and negative coronavirus test before going to the airport.

While the app is clunky and not amazing, it is something I’d recommend using if prompted to do so by your airline. It will eliminate some of the stress on the day of travel, and will also reduce the workload for check-in agents.

If you’ve used VeriFLY for international travel, what was your experience like?

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  1. Sosie

    I flew from EWR-LHR on united, I had a very quick experience it took them less than 5 minutes to verify my info. just sharing my experience

  2. Bao

    Thanks Lucky!! This is super helpful.
    We are going to Greece is 2 weeks and will transit via LHR on our way back to the US.

  3. Raksiam

    When I looked at this the other day it was all 1 star reviews on the Play store

  4. MichaelB

    Ben, I am traveling to Croatia next month--Star Alliance, UAL to Croatia Airlines in FRA--and it appears United has its own equivalent to VeriFLY where I was able to successfully upload my vax status. The United App also clearly stated that being fully vaccinated, I am eligible for a Non-Schengen to Non-Schengen transit in FRA and that I can enter Croatia too. However, while the App notes that I must fill out two different forms...

    Ben, I am traveling to Croatia next month--Star Alliance, UAL to Croatia Airlines in FRA--and it appears United has its own equivalent to VeriFLY where I was able to successfully upload my vax status. The United App also clearly stated that being fully vaccinated, I am eligible for a Non-Schengen to Non-Schengen transit in FRA and that I can enter Croatia too. However, while the App notes that I must fill out two different forms to enter Croatia in addition to providing Vax status and providing evidence of prepaid accommodation and it offers a link to the forms/rules, there is no mechanism to upload this information to United. I assuming that this is as good as it gets for this particular itinerary on a UAL ticket as VeriFLY is not offered as option that I can see. Can you confirm?

  5. Tim Dunn

    is there a list of participating airlines?

  6. TravelinWilly

    @Tim - Looks like it's only AA and BA as of now.

    In the meantime, I think I'll just stay in the USA for the time being; no time to get a PhD in covid-19 entry requirements at the moment.

  7. Mark

    I completed the same process twice flying through Heathrow to Greece. Both times validating the test results took way longer than I would expect.

    On the way in, I hadn’t received validation 3 hours before boarding, and escalated via the app’s support feature and they validated the test within an hour, basically as I was pulling up to the airport. Unfortunately the AA team didn’t use any of it.

    On the way back...

    I completed the same process twice flying through Heathrow to Greece. Both times validating the test results took way longer than I would expect.

    On the way in, I hadn’t received validation 3 hours before boarding, and escalated via the app’s support feature and they validated the test within an hour, basically as I was pulling up to the airport. Unfortunately the AA team didn’t use any of it.

    On the way back I provided test results and UK PLF about 42 hours before check in and the information was never validated. Luckily check in was quick anyways.

    Hope they can handle the volume better as travel returns to normal.

  8. david

    I had a recent COVID test at a clinic in Addis Ababa for a return flight to the US. The clinic had a similar arrangement where they would upload your results to some app, which would be shared with Ethiopian Airlines, or maybe it was the ET app itself. The sign wasn't clear. My flight was ET & UA.

    I'm reluctant to do this in the first place. The convenience may be nice but...

    I had a recent COVID test at a clinic in Addis Ababa for a return flight to the US. The clinic had a similar arrangement where they would upload your results to some app, which would be shared with Ethiopian Airlines, or maybe it was the ET app itself. The sign wasn't clear. My flight was ET & UA.

    I'm reluctant to do this in the first place. The convenience may be nice but it's also ripe for data hacks and abuse, and God knows we've seen enough of that through the years. In my case I just showed my COVID results at check in ADD and again to UA during the document check in Europe. In each case it took less than 60 seconds.

  9. Mattux

    I used VeriFLY with JAL several weeks for travel from Asia to SFO. It was useful in making sure all my documents were in order and acceptable...International travel, especially when transiting, can be a confusing maze of different restrictions at the present moment so any tool that simplifies it is most welcome. (I was still asked to show test results on four separate occasions during checkin and transit but obviously no big deal)...

    I...

    I used VeriFLY with JAL several weeks for travel from Asia to SFO. It was useful in making sure all my documents were in order and acceptable...International travel, especially when transiting, can be a confusing maze of different restrictions at the present moment so any tool that simplifies it is most welcome. (I was still asked to show test results on four separate occasions during checkin and transit but obviously no big deal)...

    I will certainly use it again on upcoming travel.

  10. R B

    I've used Verifly on AA flights from US to Europe a few times, and it worked great.

  11. Christopher Smith

    > While the app is clunky and not amazing

    ...which implies great things for their database security.

  12. Jules

    It has worked great for me the times I've used it. I was initially put off by the poor reviews in the Google Play store but I had no issues with it at all, found ieasy to use, and the tests were verified fast (I wonder if the variation people experience is related to how easy the results document is to check).

    @Ben - thank you for posting about this for people. I've experienced the...

    It has worked great for me the times I've used it. I was initially put off by the poor reviews in the Google Play store but I had no issues with it at all, found ieasy to use, and the tests were verified fast (I wonder if the variation people experience is related to how easy the results document is to check).

    @Ben - thank you for posting about this for people. I've experienced the same appreciation from check-in staff when I've used it, and if everyone were to take the few minutes ahead of the airport, rather than at the check-in desk, it would make a big difference to travel on these routes.

  13. MFK

    I took a short trip to Panama last week and AA sent me an email about Verifly. I downloaded the app and tried to figure out how to use it for my trip to no avail. Now I see that Panama isn’t one of the destinations where the app can be used. ‍♂️

  14. Steve_CC

    Only a matter of time before every country has its own app or shared app and you need a subscription pass to enter. Think of the ski passes like Epic and Ikon i fully beleive in 5 years every country will require you to have a paid pass to just to visit on top of all the other taxes and fees we are being charged for international travel. Just makes no sense for every country...

    Only a matter of time before every country has its own app or shared app and you need a subscription pass to enter. Think of the ski passes like Epic and Ikon i fully beleive in 5 years every country will require you to have a paid pass to just to visit on top of all the other taxes and fees we are being charged for international travel. Just makes no sense for every country to not charge you $50 everytime you walk in, some already do this and the ones that dont will soon do so for "our safety".

  15. Phil

    My partner and I made a relatively brief trip to Costa Rica at the end of April and used Verifly on our return to Los Angeles from Liberia International Airport to document our negative COVID tests that we obtained in Tamarindo 72 hours before our return flight. There were other attestations and affidavits that were part of the Verifly process; but, once completed it made the airport check in process for Alaska Airlines super easy.

  16. guflyer

    Since it apparently takes so long to check-in for international flights right now, I am concerned about how things will be a in a couple of months when demand for international flights goes up. Will the airlines have enough staff to accommodate this?

  17. Lenneal

    Very soon there will be fees for this. Nothing like this can just be free. I bet they are working out the bugs and waiting to see how many more airlines are willing to go along. There is also the issue of providing so much personal data that can be hacked and/or used for other purposes for commercial gain and profit.

  18. Randy

    I signed up - even though no near term international travel. The description here is very helpful to see what the fields are. Makes it clearer what they are asking for (basically Covid pre-departure test at this time).

    I guess there will be more items to fill in once they add vaccination details.

  19. Jordan

    I flew LHR - USA - LHR. I did not use Verifly, and will not. The security is awful on the app, and this is your international paperwork and medical info...no way!! The paperwork printout process took 2 mins at check in, both times. (inc checking my passport etc). There was ZERO difference in the check in process.

    One just has to prepare, have your printouts and its fine.

    I'm sure many will love these...

    I flew LHR - USA - LHR. I did not use Verifly, and will not. The security is awful on the app, and this is your international paperwork and medical info...no way!! The paperwork printout process took 2 mins at check in, both times. (inc checking my passport etc). There was ZERO difference in the check in process.

    One just has to prepare, have your printouts and its fine.

    I'm sure many will love these apps, but for those of us who do not wish to use them (still many) ..paper print out still works just fine. (I have backup printouts so its no hassle at all) :)

  20. BigBen

    Despite what AA says.. this does NOT work with Liberia, Costa Rica… it is NOT offered as a choice on VeriFLY

  21. Betty Lewis

    SO what if your flying on AA but its not to one of the preset destinations? Even though you're leaving from one of the airports that supports verifly?

  22. David

    Ben summed it up very well. The app is clunky but well worth using if it applies to your itinerary. I used it yesterday for the AA flight from ATH to JFK. I opened the app, flashed my “Ready to Travel” message from the app, and was waived through. Other pax were encountering significant delays completing the paper attestation, showing their printed COVID test results, etc. Why not save yourself that added hassle at checkin...

    Ben summed it up very well. The app is clunky but well worth using if it applies to your itinerary. I used it yesterday for the AA flight from ATH to JFK. I opened the app, flashed my “Ready to Travel” message from the app, and was waived through. Other pax were encountering significant delays completing the paper attestation, showing their printed COVID test results, etc. Why not save yourself that added hassle at checkin if you can? Kudos to AA for offering this option!

  23. Susan

    I am from the US to the Bahamas in a couple of days. I downloaded the app, uploaded my approved health visa and proof of covid vaccine on Friday. It is now Sunday and covid 19 vaccination review is still “pending.” I am concerned it will stay in “pending” mode and not sure why it is taking so long.

  24. Deb t

    I had the same experience. I actually did all my checkin at the airport. I was in Mexico coming home to the USA. The AA app wouldn’t let me check in online unless the VeriFly app approved all our results which are still in a pending status. I am now checked in with a boarding pass with no help from Verifly. They should get rid of VeriFly - all it did was cause unnecessary anxiety...

    I had the same experience. I actually did all my checkin at the airport. I was in Mexico coming home to the USA. The AA app wouldn’t let me check in online unless the VeriFly app approved all our results which are still in a pending status. I am now checked in with a boarding pass with no help from Verifly. They should get rid of VeriFly - all it did was cause unnecessary anxiety for hours before my flight and in the end VeriFly wasn’t even used!!! Horrible experience- for all of you who are in a pending status when you get to the airport they will take care of you - our checkin went very smoothly.

  25. Verosam

    I am leaving for France tomorrow, uploaded my PCR test results since yesterday and am still in pending status as well as my daughter so we can’t check in online. I feel like the app is totally useless at this point…

  26. John Corly

    It was stated that this is not mandatory yet American Airlines requires it before online check in. Did everything the app asks for and uploaded the required documents for the 3 of us traveling. Two of us say "pending" one says "incomplete". To verifly's credit I called they and they answered quickly and actually spoke to a live person. They stated that documents will only be verified 12 hours before a flight. I'm willing to...

    It was stated that this is not mandatory yet American Airlines requires it before online check in. Did everything the app asks for and uploaded the required documents for the 3 of us traveling. Two of us say "pending" one says "incomplete". To verifly's credit I called they and they answered quickly and actually spoke to a live person. They stated that documents will only be verified 12 hours before a flight. I'm willing to bet they will never be reviewed. I printed everything needed and also have files saved on the phone for each of us. How did the person writing this article check in 24 hours before? Seems fishy. They also stated the uploaded the Covid test results 2 hours before the flight? Can't check in without that. Hmmm. They need to work out the bugs and coordinate better with the online check in times with the carriers.

  27. Don

    Have used VeriFLY twice going to/from Barbados with American. Outgoing, uploaded tests at first available time….stayed pending until I called. Then never linked with AA. Waste of a lot of time.

    Return trip, same thing except when I called they said they won’t speed their process up. Basically had to do same procedure at the airport.

    Bottom line, won’t waste my time until major improvements are made. Stressed over making sure all was...

    Have used VeriFLY twice going to/from Barbados with American. Outgoing, uploaded tests at first available time….stayed pending until I called. Then never linked with AA. Waste of a lot of time.

    Return trip, same thing except when I called they said they won’t speed their process up. Basically had to do same procedure at the airport.

    Bottom line, won’t waste my time until major improvements are made. Stressed over making sure all was good and spent hours. Took me 5 minutes at the airport.

    This is definitely disruptive technology.

  28. Steve Iveson

    I used VeriFly several times and in the beginning it was fast and easy. More recently, assuming much greater passenger traffic, my PCR test has not been approved until about 24 hours after submission. My recent trip back to the US from Mexico it was not approved until I was sitting on the aircraft about to take off. It seems they are a bit overwhelmed with approvals recently?

  29. James Giraldin

    I am having difficulty with the Verifly App; I am the primary traveler and my wife is the "companion." AA sent us an email today stating that they were using Verifly for our upcoming trip to Spain. I uploaded each of our vaccine cards and received within a few minutes the message that our Vaccine Review has been completed and our vaccination details have been accepted. I clicked on the first email as requested and...

    I am having difficulty with the Verifly App; I am the primary traveler and my wife is the "companion." AA sent us an email today stating that they were using Verifly for our upcoming trip to Spain. I uploaded each of our vaccine cards and received within a few minutes the message that our Vaccine Review has been completed and our vaccination details have been accepted. I clicked on the first email as requested and it updated my wife's status with green check marks. I found this strange as the app asked me to upload my CDC Vaccination card first. No matter, I clicked on the 2nd email and .... nothing changed - my status on the Vaccination Review is still showing pending. This makes absolutely no sense to me.

  30. Lacanlale23

    I am currently using Verifly and i was travelling with husband and daughter. Everyone is now reviewed and okay to travel on Verifly. But when i tried to check in on AA, it says my daughter is Incomplete status on Verifly. Im not sure if AA app is the problem or Verifly is not transmitting my data to AA.

  31. Rose

    OHmy god this app is so confusing. Im I'm traveling from dallas to la do i still need to use the app?

  32. LongingforBlue

    Does anyone know where you find the arrival test reference number?

Featured Comments Load all 32 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Jordan

I flew LHR - USA - LHR. I did not use Verifly, and will not. The security is awful on the app, and this is your international paperwork and medical info...no way!! The paperwork printout process took 2 mins at check in, both times. (inc checking my passport etc). There was ZERO difference in the check in process. One just has to prepare, have your printouts and its fine. I'm sure many will love these apps, but for those of us who do not wish to use them (still many) ..paper print out still works just fine. (I have backup printouts so its no hassle at all) :)

TravelinWilly

@Tim - Looks like it's only AA and BA as of now. In the meantime, I think I'll just stay in the USA for the time being; no time to get a PhD in covid-19 entry requirements at the moment.

LongingforBlue

Does anyone know where you find the arrival test reference number?

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