A passport or certificate to prove your vaccination status is the new gateway to getting into venues and events, from sports grounds to festivals and nightclubs. As more countries request evidence on condition of entry, it will also become part of your essential travel kit, if you want to avoid quarantine and multiple tests.
Uncertainty has surrounded the logistics of this up to now, but the UK government has made it clearer. Rules are slightly different for each country of the UK, and it’s worth checking requirements with any venues or countries you’re wishing to visit. Timing is also important, as certificates carry an expiry date whenever you download them or receive a paper copy, so make sure that this doesn’t disrupt your holiday.
There are three ways that you can get a vaccine passport in England. Firstly, you can download the NHS app on your phone and enter your NHS login (or create one). You will find it there under ‘NHS COVID Pass’. It takes a day or two to auto-populate from the vaccine centre after each of your jabs.
Both of your vaccines are available to view directly, via QR code, in PDF or via email. Most venues or countries abroad only accept full vaccination with two jabs, and at least two weeks after the second. This is only one jab for the Janssen vaccine.
The NHS app is different to the NHS COVID-19 app that you may be familiar with to check into venues, and it's the one that pings you about possible COVID-19 contacts. The NHS app allows you to see some of your GP's records and order repeat prescriptions.
If you don’t have a smartphone or do not wish to download the app, you can get a digital version via the online NHS COVID Pass service – again, you need to create an NHS login and it gives you similar options.
Alternatively you can call 119 and request a paper confirmation to be posted to you. It takes up to 5 working days to get to you, and be aware that it has an expiry date, so don’t order this more than 4 weeks in advance of travel.
Despite confirmation of your vaccine status sitting in your GP's records, your GP is unable to provide vaccination certificates or help with problems with the app.
It’s a similar process for those living in other countries within the UK. In Scotland, you can log in to view your vaccine status via the NHS Inform patient portal or request a printed copy by calling the COVID-19 Status Helpline on 0808 196 8565.
In Wales, you can request an NHS COVID Pass via the NHS app in the same way as England, or by calling 0300 303 5667.
For those in Northern Ireland, the COVIDCertNI app provides a digital record or you can call 0300 200 7814 to request a paper certificate.
Anyone living in the UK can get a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of immigration status, and whether you are homeless or an asylum seeker. A record of your vaccination usually sits in your GP's digital records .. If you haven’t registered with a GP, the record sits with your personal details on the vaccine centre database. In this instance, you can call 119 to get a paper copy sent to you.
If you are a UK resident but had your vaccinations abroad, you will need to provide your GP with confirmation of vaccination status on your return. They will enter details of this in your record, and you can then access it via the NHS app, NHS COVID Pass online or by calling 119 for a paper copy.
If you are an EU citizen, the EU Digital COVID Passport provides digital or paper proof that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, had a negative test result or that you have recovered from COVID-19. It’s valid in all EU member states and exempts you from free movement restrictions. It's to be obtained from a country's national health authority, with further details here: https: //ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/coronavirus-response/safe-covid-19-vaccines-europeans/eu-digital-covid-certificate_en
For non-European travellers, such as UK or US citizens who are not living in the EU, an individual member state can provide you with a passport at their own discretion.
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