Proof of Covid vaccine: how to prove you are fully vaccinated for travel, and where to get app pass or letter

Holiday-makers who have been fully vaccinated may soon be able to travel to any country on the amber list under government plans, but they will have to have their Covid vaccine passport to be able to do so.

How and when you can get your coronavirus passport vaccine depends on where in the UK you live.

The NHS Covid 19 pass will be available via an app, a website and a letter, and it is hoped that everyone in the UK will be able to access this by the end of the summer.

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Many popular holiday destinations are on the amber list, which means people are required to quarantine after traveling there.

You can access your Covid vaccine passport on the NHS app or get a paper copy - but just when you'll have access to it depends on where you live in the UK
You can access your Covid vaccine passport on the NHS app or get a paper copy - but just when you'll have access to it depends on where you live in the UK

The government has said, however, that it wants to drop quarantine for fully vaccinated people returning from amber-list countries ‘later in the summer’.

Once this happens, you will need to be able to prove you have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus so that you may travel to any country on the amber list without having to self-isolate when you return.

How does the traffic light system work?

The traffic light system outlines the destinations we may and may not travel to for leisure purposes, and whether or not we will need to quarantine once we return to the UK.

Here's how the new traffic light system works (Credit: Kim Mogg)

Destinations are designated a green, amber or red rating depending on the Covid case numbers in a country.

People travelling to a green list country do not have to self-isolate on their return to the UK, unless they test positive for coronavirus.

However, those who travel to an amber list country must be prepared to spend ten days quarantining at home when they come back to the UK.

Red list countries are those the UK government says are at the highest risk, and should not be visited "except in the most extreme of circumstances".

People who do travel to a red list country must be prepared to spend ten days quarantining in a quarantine hotel when they come back to the UK.

However, the Government is working on plans for quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated holidaymakers visiting amber list countries, and this new proposed legislation could be in place later in the summer.

How do I prove I have been fully vaccinated?

You can use an NHS Covid Pass, referred to sometimes as a ‘vaccine passport’ to share your coronavirus vaccination results in a secure way.

The pass allows you to show others that you’ve had a full course of the Covid-19 vaccine when travelling abroad to some countries or territories.

You need to have two Covid-19 vaccinations to be fully vaccinated.

How do I access the NHS Covid Pass and when is it available to me?

The NHS Covid Pass is available if you have had a full course of the coronavirus vaccine, were vaccinated in England and are aged 16 or over. It is available in digital or paper format.

You can access your NHS Covid Pass two weeks after having your second dose of the vaccine.

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How do I access the NHS Covid Pass?

How you access your NHS Covid Pass depends on where in the UK you live.

In England, you can access your NHS Covid Pass through the free NHS app on a smartphone or tablet. Proof of your Covid-19 vaccination status will be shown within the NHS app.

You need to be registered with a GP in England to use the NHS app, but you do not need to contact your doctor to access the app.

The government recommends that you register with the app before booking international travel.

The NHS app is not the same as the NHS Covid-19 app.

As an alternative to using the NHS app, you can view your coronavirus vaccination status online and download or print it as a PDF document.

To access the service, you’ll need to register for an NHS login at https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/nhs-log-in, if you do not have one already.

In the NHS app and on the NHS website your Covid-19 status includes a 2D barcode.

The expiry date does not apply to your vaccination status, it refers only to the barcode and will update automatically each time you go into the NHS app.

If you store the barcode in your phone’s wallet or download and print a copy, the expiry date will eventually show as expired and will not automatically refresh.

People in Scotland aged 16 and over can request a paper copy of their coronavirus vaccination status online via the NHS inform website at https://www.nhsinform.scot/covid19status.

You can also call 0808 196 8565 if you are due to travel in the next 14 days.

People in Wales can not yet access a digital certificate showing their vaccination status.

Digital certificates should be available for people in Northern Ireland later in the summer, and will include test results.

How do I access a paper copy of my NHS Covid Pass?

How you access a paper copy of your NHS Covid Pass depends on where in the UK you live.

If you live in England, you can ask for a letter showing your Covid-19 vaccination status by filling in a form on the NHS website.

If you do not have access to a smartphone, computer or tablet, you can call 119 and ask for a letter to be posted to you.

The letter will be sent to the address registered with your GP. It is predicted that the letter will take up to five working days to reach you.

If you live in Wales, you can request a paper certificate of vaccination by visiting https://gov.wales/get-nhs-covid-pass-show-your-vaccination-status-travel or calling 0300 303 566.

Please only make this request if you have had both doses of the vaccine (and it's at least five days since the second dose), and you urgently need to travel to a country which requires vaccine certification and can't either quarantine or provide tests to meet the country's entry requirements.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you can’t yet access your Covid-19 pass.

Work on a paper-based Covid vaccination certificate has begun in Northern Ireland, and should be ready by mid-July.

How long before I travel do I need to request a paper copy of my NHS Covid Pass?

You should only request a letter to show your coronavirus vaccination status if you have been fully vaccinated by the NHS in England, have waited two weeks after your second dose, are planning to travel in the next four weeks to a country that requires evidence of Covid-19 vaccination and are aged 16 or over.

In Scotland, you should request a copy of your Covid 19 pass on paper if you are due to travel in the next two weeks.

Can I use my NHS appointment card to prove I’m fully vaccinated?

The NHS appointment card you were given when you had your vaccination cannot be used to demonstrate your full Covid-19 vaccine status.

Only an official NHS Covid Pass can be used to show that you are fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

Do I still need to provide a negative Covid-19 test before I travel if I have my NHS Covid Pass?

It is likely that, in addition to your NHS Covid Pass, you will still need to follow additional rules when travelling abroad.

For example, you may still be required to show other proof like a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result and isolate on arrival.

Before you book a trip abroad you should check the entry requirements for your destination country.

At what point do I have to show my vaccination status?

When travelling abroad, you may need to demonstrate your Covid-19 vaccination status when you are going through border control, both in the UK and in the country you are travelling to.

Whether or not you need to show your NHS Covid-19 Pass depends on the rules in the country you are travelling to, and could apply to any place on the green, amber and red lists.

You should check for up-to-date information from both the UK government and the government in the country you are planning to travel to before booking your trip.