How does the NYS Excelsior Pass work?

I received my second CoronaVirus vaccine shot on March 31st which means I become “fully” vaccinated 14th. I figured I’d try out this new “passport” app made available by New York State.  Info about this vaccination passport can be viewed at the New York State health site: Excelsior Pass

The idea is that I can prove that I am vaccinated and can be allowed in stores and other businesses that need that info verified. For months now we have all read about unsavory persons who plan on making fake vaccine cards. When you get vaccinated they write the name of the vaccine, the lot number, the date, and the location on your card. This is also the information that the app uses to verify your status and creates your passport. The place you got vaccinated has all this info. So the app connects with the data and generates a code which a business can scan when you show it to them. For people without cell phones, this info can be accessed online and then printed out. What you should understand is that none of this information is seen via the app. No one scanning can get any of your personal medical info. All they see is that you are either vaccinated or you cleared a negative for covid19 test or you passed an Antigen test.

The World Health Organization has established a Smart Vaccination Certification working group to create common standards for digital vaccination certificates.

For those wondering about the legality of this situation, read and view the video at: US businesses ‘on fairly strong legal ground’ to mandate vaccine proof for customers: Law professor

I used the app for android because I don’t have an iPhone. But an app is also available for those phones.

The Excelsior Pass can be used to verify:

• COVID-19 Vaccination Pass
• COVID-19 PCR Test Pass (within 72 hours of the event)
• COVID-19 Antigen Test Pass

this is from the FAQ:

There are three types of Passes that have varying lengths of validity.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Pass is currently valid for 180 days after the final dose of the vaccine was administered. After the pass expires, you can retrieve a new Pass from the Excelsior Pass website at

The COVID-19 PCR Test Pass is valid until midnight on the third day after a test. After your COVID-19 PCR Test Pass expires, a new test is required to retrieve a new Pass.

The COVID-19 Antigen Test Pass is valid for 6 hours from the time of a test. After your COVID-19 Antigen Test Pass expires, a new test is required to retrieve a new Pass.


Once you get your Pass operational, either via your phone app or online (by printing out your verified code) the next time you go to a business where this information is required THEY use a scanner app: Android – NYS Excelsior Pass Scanner or the iPhone/iPad Scanner to scan your code and Voila, you are IN!


To retrieve your Pass, you will need to provide basic personal information, including your first and last name, date of birth, and zip code. You will also need to verify your identity with three “challenge questions” whose answers are unique to you. You’ll need to enter this information every time you retrieve a Pass. I can’t show a screen grab of mine because that would reveal personal info, but if you have been vaccinated or taken a test, you will know the answers.

Governor Cuomo rolled this Pilot program out on March 2nd. This initially is for stadium venues but can certainly be used by any business. As there’s no government mandate to use a “passport” it’s up to private businesses on how they use this information. Schools have certainly been on board requiring students to return to the classroom to prove their vaccination/test status. Cruise ship companies, airlines, and stadiums are asking for vaccination status.

So, on April 14th I tried to access a pass on the Excelsior Pass website. I was informed it wasn’t available. I figured it’s because the full 14 days had not passed yet. So, maybe April 15th would be The Charm?

YES! the next day I found out I could get my Pass. I could either print it out via a PDF and/or send it to the Excelsior Pass app. For those without smartphones they are perfectly able to use this service. Just print out the PDF and you have your code. All done.

This is what the web page looked like (after I blacked out my info)

I did create a PDF that has the code and the info in the blue box on the left side of the screen. Then I went to the app on my phone. After you open it (and agree to the terms) you see this screen:

Since the website was up I just scanned my code and Viola! I now have my Pass on the phone.  This brings up a page on the app which has my name, birthdate, and when the pass expires. When I need to have a store or other organization scan the code I just tap on that page and that brings up the code. On my phone, it also asked to change the screen brightness so that the business scanner would be successful at scanning my code.

Now I have my code, but in a few months, I may need to refresh it.  I assume I can get the new one by tapping on the “+” symbol that’s on the upper right edge of the screen:

That brings up the menu on the bottom which will allow me to access the info from the website. At least that is what I am assuming. What will change is the new expiration date. And for people who are taking PCR tests, this will happen more often. This system is a work in progress so sometimes things go wrong. If you have gotten your vaccinations and it’s been 15 days or more since your last shot but you are having trouble accessing the info or getting a pass then you can call the Excelsior Help Desk at 844-699-7277 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Or you can fill out the “feedback for Excelsior Pass form“.

Right now I am not in any situation where I would need this info scanned. I’m not going to a University, I’m not going to fly, and so on.  However, I will revisit this article if and when there is some reason I need my code to be scanned.