Home #WHERETONEXT Caribbean Aruba pioneers high-tech COVID-19 entry process

Aruba pioneers high-tech COVID-19 entry process

Instant clearance for travellers booking PCR tests with approved labs

Aruba continues to be a leader in travel technology innovation, launching a new service that has eliminated the need to make travellers wait for their PCR test results to be manually verified and the need to upload test certificates. Now, in partnership with OK2Roam, travellers can authorize an approved laboratory to send their negative test result directly to Aruba’s Embarkation-Disembarkation card entry platform and be confident that it will be instantly accepted.

As part of the entry process to Aruba, the ED card registration is mandatory for all travellers, including minors and infants. Proof of a negative PCR test, within 72 hours prior to entering the country, is also required of all travellers over the age of 11, including those already vaccinated.   

The new service is being provided by VFS Global, which has built an international network of government-approved COVID-19 testing laboratories, and OK2Roam, which is providing a secure data connection between the lab network and Aruba’s online ED entry platform. Initially, it will be available in Canada and the US, from Stage Zero Life Sciences and from Same Day Health. Travellers will have the choice of taking a video-supervised saliva test in the comfort of their own home or going to a test centre in more than 50 locations across the US.

Currently, the biggest challenge for many departments of health and border-security forces – as they are responsible for physically inspecting PCR tests prior to granting access – is that they must manage the trade-off between a rigorous review and swift response time for travelers. However, with this new approach, with travellers’ consent, PCR test results can be fed directly from a trusted laboratory to the Aruban Immigration Authority, via OK2Roam’s secure technical platform.

Danguillaume Oduber, Aruba’s Minister of Tourism and Public Health, said: “Throughout the pandemic, and even before, Aruba has been keen to embrace the latest technology to make our destination more welcoming and people’s travel experience more seamless. This excellent idea, which we are delighted to pioneer with OK2Roam and VFS Global, also has the advantage that it will likely save us time, money and administrative complexity too.”

Chris Dix, Head of Business Development, VFS Global, said: “We are eager to see our project with OK2Roam and Aruba succeed. Once it is successfully launched and delivers the projected benefits, we are confident of being able to help many of our client governments make their borders more efficient and more bio-secure.”

David Tarsh, CEO & Co-Founder, OK2Roam concluded: “Recent research from IATA* validates our approach: passengers loath queuing; and 73% of them would willingly share their biometric data to receive a better travel experience. With Aruba, we are taking the world one step closer to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s vision of a seamless traveller journey, enabled by the latest technology.”   

 The island of Aruba, with its year-round sunny skies and award-winning white sand beaches, offers the perfect backdrop for travellers seeking relaxation, adventure or romance, promising an unforgettable vacation and an escape from daily stress. Throughout the pandemic Aruba has done exceptionally well at maintaining inbound tourism while simultaneously mitigating the spread of COVID-19 among locals. The island’s enthusiasm for innovative technology, such as that deployed by its online ED Card platform, is one of the primary reasons for its success. 

VFS Global is the world’s largest visa outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. It is trusted by 63 governments, including Australia, Canada, China, India, Korea, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK, and most EU and Schengen member states. Early in the pandemic, VFS Global acted swiftly to build a global network of government-approved testing laboratories, in order to provide a comprehensive service for those of its customers who needed to travel during the pandemic. Currently, VFS Global’s lab network covers multiple collection points in 271 cities, in 46 countries and growing.

Details of the service are provided on Aruba’s official visitor website, www.Aruba.com; and travellers can book their test by visiting www.VFSGlobal.com/Aruba. The new service is not limited to any particular airline or airport. All travellers can use it, provided they can test with a participating lab.