How do I get an International Certificate of Vaccination (yellow WHO booklet) for Travel?

You probably have seen pictures of that yellow booklet by the World Health Organization (WHO) that certifies your COVID-19 vaccination status for international travel. Where can you get it in Cebu City or Metro Cebu? How much does it cost? And how does it all work? We’ll share where you can

The Short Version

Here is the super short version. If you need more than a few bullet points, read below!

  • In the Philippines, the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) issues vaccination certificates (among other things)
  • You should have your second vaccine shot done already.
  • Go to the online booking system of the BOQ
    • Consider using the satellite office in Robinson’s Galleria—it recently opened and may have earlier slots
    • Book a slot to get a COVID-19 certificate
    • Upload pictures of your vaccination certificate and your ID (or passport for foreigners)
    • Pay online using Grab, bank transfer, and various other places
  • Go there at the appointed time
    • Robinson’s Galleria office: 4th floor at Movie World, near the LTO office
    • Three steps: (1) visitor form, (2) check data (3) print the booklet
    • Done in about 30 minutes

For more details, see below.


cebu to dumaguete

How do you travel locally in 2021? To help you understand how traveling the Philippines works in 2021, we looked at how you get from Cebu to Dumaguete and back.


How does the Yellow WHO Vaccine Pass look like?

The front contains the WHO logo and name, the text “International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis“ and the country and department who issued it, in this case, “Republic of the Philippines, Department of Health, Bureau of Quarantine“.

The first page is for personal data such as name, date of birth, ID document number.

The following pages list your vaccinations: the vaccine purpose, the date, who administered the vaccine, which brand, how long it’s valid, and the stamp of the organization (BOQ in this case).

See the following gallery to get an idea.

international certificate of vaccination

Why the international certificate of vaccination matters (and why the LGU version is not enough)

The truth is that your vaccination status will matter more and more as the vaccination rates increase. Countries will see little reason to put their own population (or health care systems) at risk by letting unvaccinated visitors enter.

Depending on where you go and if you’re vaccinated against COVID-19 doors to other countries may open or stay shut—or you have to quarantine for ages.

Of course, LGUs and other entities are already issuing certificates when you get vaccinated. So let’s have a look:

international certificate of vaccination

You can imagine that this is not exactly an international standard. And it’s hardly readable. Who could be surprised if immigration control in other countries doesn’t recognize this national certificate? It’s the same as with an ID: the national ID is fine … within your country, but if you want to travel you need a passport.

And that’s what the International Certificate of Vaccination by the WHO is: a vaccination passport. In the Philippines, it’s issued by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), a part of the Department of Health (DOH).

Where to Book an Appointment—the Online Booking System of the Bureau

Let’s discuss how you can get the Bureau of Quarantine to issue you an International Certificate of Vaccination when you’re in Metro Cebu (Cebu City, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, etc).

First, get your second dose done. You might be able to apply before, but you need to enter the date of your second shot (and upload picture proof)—they might reject it if that date is in the future/ empty/ wrong.

Next, head to the online booking system of the Bureau of Quarantine to make an appointment.

international certificate of vaccination

The bureau recently opened a satellite office in Robinson’s Galleria, a few minutes from SM City. Since it’s new, fewer people have booked there and you might get an earlier slot.

For example, recently the first available slot in the main office was in December, while the first slot in the satellite office was at the end of October.

How to use that? Simple: Select Robinson’s Galleria in the list of locations in the online booking system, or go directly to the booking page here.

Here are the steps:

  1. What do you want to do? (Certificate of vaccination for COVID-19)
  2. Choose a free time slot for the appointment
  3. Fill in info about you: name, address, birthday, etc
  4. Upload a picture of your ID and your vaccine certificate from the LGU or health provider
  5. Pay—you have to pay up front. Various methods are available: Bank transfer, GCash, 7-11, etc (see below)
  6. Take a screenshot of the booking confirmation—including Reference Number and bring that to your appointment

The following gallery shows you the various steps.

Where do I find the BOQ in Robinson’s Galleria?

They are located on the 4th floor inside Movie World, next to the Land Transportation Office (LTO). If you know where the vaccination site on the ground floor is: 3 floors above that.

What do I need to bring to the BOQ appointment?

  • Your ID: When you book your appointment you must upload pictures of your ID (passport for foreigners). Bring the ID you uploaded with you.
  • Your vaccine certificate.

At the appointment, what’s the process?

  1. At the entrance you show your confirmation screenshot. Then you get a mall visitor’s form, similar to those contact tracing forms everywhere.
  2. While you wait for the next step (maybe 5-10 minutes) you fill in name, birth day and most importantly your appointment reference number and appointment time.
  3. On the right counter, Step 1, they look at your “requirements”: your ID and the vaccine passport and confirm your appointment time. For us it took less than 5 minutes.
  4. Then you wait again, for Step 2: printing. For us: 10 minutes.
  5. Printing just means they take your vaccine passport and input the data to print the yellow booklet. Takes less than 5 minutes.

Done. Congratulations, you now have an International Certificate of Vaccination! 🙂

How long does the appointment take?

It took us about 30 minutes, though it surely depends on the day (and printer problems).

How much does the International Certificate by the BOQ cost?

It costs P300.

Depending on your payment method the payment provider will charge extra. We didn’t check all but for GCash and online banking, the costs are between P70 and P100 extra.

Do I have to give up my LGU vaccine certificate card?

No.

There is this rumor that you have to hand in your vaccine certificate to exchange it against the international version. As far as we know (and have experienced ourselves) that’s not true.

You have to bring it because they need to transfer the data (and want to validate you), but you get it back.