Can We Trust Foreign Covid Documents?

Translator Diana Renker, is worried that people could be coming into New Zealand with fake vaccine exemptions.

Diana recently had to translate an exemption certificate that made her suspicious. The document was signed by a German doctor, and she googled his name, Michael Foti. She discovered that he is a well-known opponent of vaccinations, and that the German courts no longer recognised exemption certificates written by this doctor.

Translators are also worried because many people know how to change PDF documents, but Immigration New Zealand does not have a robust process for checking that documents are authentic.

Immigration New Zealand say that they do have good systems for checking documents and that there is a $4,000 fine for using false documents.

They have asked people to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if they know about any fraud.  If you don’t like using the phone, you can contact them through their website. Crimestoppers will report your information to the police, but keep your identity a secret.


fake: not true

vaccine exemption: a document that says that you should not be vaccinated

suspicious: (adj) a feeling that something is wrong

opponent: someone who is opposed, against

recognise: in this context, recognise means “believe”

robust: strong

process: procedure, a method for doing something

authentic: true, not fake

fraud: lies

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