How to Set up Your COOV App

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What is the COOV app?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries face difficulties related to verifying COVID-19 vaccinations both internally and externally. With such a challenge sweeping the globe, the Korean government provided a solution for verifying vaccinations within South Korea.

The solution for vaccination verification created by the Korean government for use within Korea is the COOV app. The COOV app allows businesses and individuals to more easily navigate government regulations related to COVID-19 using a QR code linked to identity.

The COOV app works in conjunction with the Korean national and foreign resident identification system which has been in place for decades. The resident identification system in Korea provides a secure and trusted platform for managing social information and links with cell phones.

During Korean government organized COVID-19 interventions, the COOV app provides vaccination verification for access to resources and establishments such as:

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  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • gyms
  • cinemas
  • saunas
  • bars

The COOV app provides the convenience of not having to carry around a piece of paper everywhere you go. However, since Korean national COVID-19 interventions are constantly evolving and are also locally managed by individual towns across the country, the COOV app may not be required to enter every establishment such as those listed above. Some establishments may allow a paper vaccination verification in place of the COOV app.

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Who can use the COOV app?

Currently, those who can utilize the COOV app include anyone with a:

  1. Korean identification number (found on your FRC – foreign registration card)
  2. Korean cell phone number
  3. COVID-19 vaccinations registered in South Korea

The COOV App Requires a National or Foreign Identification Number

Because the COOV app works in conjunction with the national and foreign resident identification system, it requires the user to have a Korean identification number. You can find your Korean identification number on your FRC (foreign registration card a.k.a. ARC or alien registration card).

Those who do not have an FRC must use other means of vaccination verification such as a paper vaccination certificate issued by a Korean public health center (보건소). For our U.S. military community, you can request form 49 from your command to used as proof of vaccination.

How Do I Setup My COOV App?

As with many other online Korean apps and websites, security is Korea’s top priority. Korea does its best to protect individuals’ personal information, especially online. Therefore, setting up your COOV app requires several steps for security and authentication.

SOS Public Health understands the challenge of online processes in Korea. Thus, SOS Public health offers this blog post complete with step-by-step instructions, as well as screenshots, of how to set up your COOV app.

PLEASE NOTE: You cannot add your information directly to your COOV App. If you have a foreign vaccination it must be added to your account through your local public health center.

Follow the directions below to get your COOV app setup:

Step 1: Download the app

First, begin by downloading the COOV app to your phone. You can download the COOV app via:

Step 2: Select your preferred language and your current location

The COOV app currently offers English and Korean as language options. Select the language you prefer to use for the app. Then, click the blue button at the bottom of the screen labeled “확인” to confirm.

Select your preferred language

Next, select the current location. ‘Korea, Republic of” should be automatically selected when this screen comes up. Since the COOV app is meant for use in South Korea, many users typically select “Korea, Republic of” as shown below. After selecting your location, click the blue button on the bottom of the screen to confirm.

Step 3: Opt in for the ‘Complete Privacy Protection’ or choose to skip this section

For this next section, you can choose to opt into the complete privacy protection service offered by the COOV app, or you can skip this section. To skip this section, click the “skip” button on the bottom left of the screen.

To opt in, click “Next” through the series of information on included features until you reach the final page. Then, click the blue button labeled “Confirm” on the bottom of the screen to accept.

Step 4: Confirm Access Rights and Terms of Agreement (required)

The next section, typical of any and all apps downloaded onto your phone, requests access to certain functions in your phone. The COOV app may need access to your camera and pictures/media/files to use the QR scanning function. Click “Confirm” at the bottom of your screen to move on to the terms of agreement.

Next, read through the terms of agreement by clicking on the carrot symbol to the right of the screen next to each section. The terms of agreement are written in Korean, so you may need the use of Papago or another translating app to translate the terms into your preferred language.

After reading the terms of agreement, click “Agree to the terms of privacy” to select all terms. Then, click “Confirm.”

Step 5: Secure your COOV app

In this next section, you will be prompted to create a 6-digit numerical password. This password allows your vaccination information to remain secure within the app. After typing in your 6-digit password, the app will prompt you to re-enter your password.

Choose a 6-digit password, then re-enter your password to confirm.

After setting up a 6-digit password, if your phone has the capability for it, the app will prompt you to set up a biometric (fingerprint) authentication to make logging into your app easier. The biometric authentication will bypass the process of entering your 6-digit code to access the app.

Setting this up is optional. To skip this step, click “Later” at the bottom of your screen.

To set up your biometric authentication, click “Use” at the bottom of the screen. Then, place your finger on your phone’s fingerprint scanner. If successful, your phone will display the “All settings are completed” screen as shown below. Click “Confirm” to enter the COOV app.

Step 6: Complete self-authentication

In order for you to access your vaccination record, the app must verify your identity. This step will require your Korean identification number and Korean cell phone number registered under your name as mentioned above. You can find your Korean identification number on your FRC. Have your FRC and Korean phone at hand for the following steps.

Click on the card within the app labeled “Self-Authentication” as shown below. The app will direct you to a Self-Certification screen. Click “Next.”

On this next page, you have a couple of options for verifying your identity:

  1. NICE ID Service: verifies your identity via a text message to the Korean phone number registered in your name
  2. Fast Identity Online: verifies your identity via Kakao Talk, KB Bank, PAYCO, or PASS apps. All of these options require you to have a Korean phone number under your name.

We have tested both the NICE ID Service and the Fast Identity Online via Kakao verification systems. Both are fairly simple.

Option 1 for verifying your identity: NICE ID Service

Here are instructions for how to complete option 1 (NICE ID Service):

  • Select NICE ID Service. Click “Next.”
  • Select “휴대폰 본인 확인”
  • Select your mobile service provider. Then, check “전체 동의,” to agree to the use of this verification process.
  • Click on the grey button labeled “문자(SMS)로 인증하기.”
  • Your name and phone number should autopopulate in the next screen. Enter the first 7 numbers of your FRC in the boxes for “주민등록번호.” The first 6 numbers should be your birth date in the format: YYMMDD. The seventh digit is the first number following the dash (see example below).Then, click “확인.”
  • You will receive a text message with a 6 digit verification code. Enter the code into the COOV app. Then, click “인증확인” to complete the process.
Enter the first 7 digits of your FRC for the previous step

Option 2 for verifying your identity: Fast Identity Online via Kakao Talk

Here are instructions for how to complete option 2 (Fast Identity Online via Kakao Talk):

  • Select Fast Identity Online. Click “Next.”
  • Select the Kakao Talk Icon. Then, enter
    • your name as shown on your FRC
    • your full Korean identification number as shown on your FRC (see example below)
    • the phone number registered under your name
  • Click “다음.” You will see a pop up on the bottom of your screen. This pop up asks your for permission to utilize Kakao to verify your identity. Click “모두 동의하고 인증요청”
  • The next screen notifies you that a Kakao message was sent to verify your identity.
  • Check your Kakao messages for the verification text. If it says “인증이 완료되였습니다” (as shown below), you are good to go.
Enter your full FRC number for the previous section
Kakao Message verifying your identity

After you have verified your identity, your app will direct you to a screen that looks like the screenshot below. Click “Proceed” to complete the verification process. If your verification step has no errors, your app will show that “You have completed your Authentication.”

Click “Confirm” to move to the next process. The app should take you to a screen with your Certificate of Authentication visible.

NOTE: The Passport button can be used if you have a passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea. This section requires an RRN number which we are unfamiliar with. For more information about this section, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

Step 7: Uploading your vaccine certificate to COOV

Now that we’ve got the hard part out of the way, let’s get your vaccination certificates added to COOV!

  • Click on the “Get Issued and Updated” button on the top left hand corner of your screen. If you don’t see this button, scroll either to the left or right and it should appear.
  • A screen labeled “Guidance on linking vaccination records” should come up. Click, “Next.”
  • Double check that your name and birth date are listed correctly. Then, click “Submit.”

Your vaccination certificates should now be issued to the COOV app! Scroll through to make sure all of your vaccination records show up. Then, Click “Confirm” to return to the main page of the app.

When you are on the main screen, you should be able to see your “Certificate of Authentication” (grey card) and your most recent vaccination card (blue). Any previous COVID vaccinations will not show up on the app – only your most recent vaccination.

Step 8: Enjoy your new-found freedom

Now that you have access to your vaccines through the COOV app, you can enjoy visiting your favorite restaurants and cafes with ease!

NOTE: It appears that every month or so, the app requires the user to re-upload their vaccine certificates to the COOV app. If you open up your COOV app to find that your blue vaccine cards have disappeared, fear not! Simply, repeat Step 7 of this blog post to access your vaccine cards again.

Connecting your COOV app to Kakao Talk

In addition to requiring proof of vaccination during these times of COVID-19, many establishments across South Korea also require you to complete a QR code check-in before entering. Kakao Talk among other apps such as Naver and PASS have partnered with the COOV app to make the QR check-in and vaccination verification process even more convenient.

Your COOV app can be connected to your Kakao Talk app (or Naver, etc.) for a two-in-one check-in process. SOS Public Health is currently working on a blog that lays out instructions on to connect your COOV to Kakao. Stay tuned for this update!

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