Guidance

NHS COVID Pass

How to get the NHS COVID Pass and demonstrate your coronavirus (COVID-19) status when travelling abroad and domestically at events and venues in England.

Applies to England

On 4 October, the red, amber, green traffic light system was replaced by a single red list of countries and simplified travel measures for people arriving in England from the rest of world. Read the rules on entering England from abroad.

This page applies to England. See information about COVID certificates in Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

NHS COVID Pass: what it is

The NHS COVID Pass lets you share your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination records or test COVID-19 status in a secure way.

It allows you to show others the details of your COVID-19 vaccine (or vaccines) when travelling abroad to some countries or territories.

From Monday 19 July, you may be asked to demonstrate your COVID-19 status at places that use the service in England as a condition of entry to a venue or event.

What you can use it for

International travel

You can show the vaccination records contained within your NHS COVID Pass as proof of your COVID-19 status when travelling abroad.

In addition to your NHS COVID Pass, you will need to follow additional rules when travelling abroad.

Read an overview of all the things you need to do to travel abroad from England

You should check that the name on your passport matches how it is displayed by NHS COVID Pass at least 2 weeks before you travel. If the names are different, contact your GP practice to have your details updated.

The government is working with the devolved administrations to ensure everyone in the UK is able to show their COVID-19 status.

If you have not been fully vaccinated, you should continue to follow the entry requirements of the country you are travelling to, such as proof of a negative COVID-19 test on arrival. You should carefully research the requirements of your destination country before travelling.

Further details on entry requirements can be found on the GOV.UK foreign travel advice pages and on the websites of your destination country.

See advice about travelling abroad from England during the pandemic

Domestic use in England

The government has recently announced that businesses in England can use the NHS COVID Pass.

Some events and venues may choose to ask for the NHS COVID Pass. The government will work with organisations where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of this.

Use of the NHS COVID Pass is voluntary for individual organisations. However, we encourage the use of the NHS COVID Pass in facilities or events where people are likely to be in close proximity to a large number of people from other households for a sustained period of time.

This is likely to include settings that have the following characteristics:

  • crowded indoor settings such as nightclubs and music venues

  • large unstructured outdoor events such as business events and festivals

  • very large structured events such as business events, music and spectator sport events

This means that you may need to show your NHS COVID Pass at places that use this service.

See guidance around working safely from step 4, including how the NHS COVID Pass can be used to reduce the risk of transmission at venues or events in England.

Further guidance on how organisations can use the NHS COVID Pass.

Who can get an NHS COVID Pass in England

If you’re aged 18 or over, you can get an NHS COVID Pass for domestic venues and events.

If you’re aged 16 or over, you can get an NHS COVID Pass for travel abroad but you should follow the entry requirements of the country you are travelling to.

If you’re in the UK armed forces, visit ‘My health care hub’ on the Defence Gateway (login required) to find out how to get your NHS COVID Pass.

For travel abroad

You can obtain your NHS COVID Pass after receiving either:

  • 2 doses of the Moderna, AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine
  • one dose of the Janssen vaccine
  • proof of natural immunity shown by a positive PCR test result for COVID-19, lasting for 180 days after the date of the positive test and following completion of the self-isolation period

You must have been vaccinated in England, Wales or Scotland. If you’ve been vaccinated in Scotland, you must be both:

  • resident in England
  • registered with a GP in England

You can usually obtain your NHS COVID Pass within 24 hours of having your vaccination. However, it can take up to 5 days for your records to be updated.

For domestic use

For domestic purposes, those 18 and over can obtain an NHS COVID Pass if one of the following applies:

  • 2 weeks after completing a full course of vaccination, whether that requires 2 doses or one dose (that is, 2 doses of the Moderna, AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine, or 1 dose of the Janssen vaccine) (according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency authorised schedule).

  • with evidence of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or rapid lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of entry to a venue, with both at-home and on-site (where available) being accepted. A lateral flow test taken at home will need to be reported into the public reporting system

  • proof of natural immunity shown by a positive PCR test result for COVID-19, lasting for 180 days from the date of the positive test and following completion of the self-isolation period

You must have been vaccinated in England, Wales or Scotland. If you’ve been vaccinated in Scotland, you must be both:

  • resident in England
  • registered with a GP in England

Exemptions for domestic use

If you have received a trial vaccine as part of a formally approved COVID-19 vaccine trial in the UK, you will be able to prove your status through the NHS COVID Pass or with a letter confirming your participation in the trial from your trial site.

See Residents in England who have taken part in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials below.

If you’re unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons

There are a small number of exemptions for individuals who have a medical reason which means they should not be vaccinated, and in some cases should not test either. Medical exemption status cannot be based on testing alone.

You can apply for proof of evidence that you have a medical reason why you should not be vaccinated and/or tested. If you are eligible for proof of medical exemption, or a carer obtains this on your behalf, you will be able to use the domestic NHS COVID Pass wherever you need to prove your COVID-19 status.

Currently, businesses and event organisers in England that choose to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry can decide whether or not to allow in people who self-declare that they are unable to be vaccinated or tested.

Businesses can continue to accept people who self-declare that they are medically exempt until mid December 2021, from which point, have to use the NHS COVID Pass to gain entry in the same way that people who are fully vaccinated do. Your NHS COVID Pass will not show that you have a medical exemption.

You can find out more information including how to apply for the NHS COVID Pass to prove that you’re unable to be vaccinated and/or get tested.

How to access the NHS COVID Pass

Access the NHS COVID Pass through the NHS App

You can access your NHS COVID Pass through the free NHS App on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. Proof of your COVID-19 status will be shown within the NHS App.

You need to be registered with a GP in England to use the NHS App. If you’re not registered with a GP, you can still access the NHS COVID Pass via the NHS website (NHS.UK) or via 119 (select the ‘NHS COVID Pass service’) to request a letter.

We recommend that you register with the app before booking international travel. For access via the NHS App you do not need to contact your GP.

The NHS App is not the same as the NHS COVID-19 app.

In the NHS App, your COVID-19 status includes a 2D barcode. The expiry date does not apply to your vaccination status. Any expiry date refers only to the barcode and will update automatically each time you go into the NHS App.

If you obtain your NHS COVID Pass through the NHS App or Safari web browser using an Apple iPhone, then you will be able to store your COVID Pass into Apple Wallet. You can already show your COVID-19 status at events and venues in England directly from your Apple Wallet even if your device is offline.

From 23 September, you will also be able to store your COVID Pass for international travel into Apple Wallet, even if your device is offline. You will see the ‘Add to Apple Wallet’ button on your screen within the NHS App. If you store both your international and domestic NHS COVID Passes, you will see 2 separate cards stored in your Apple Wallet.

If you store an offline version of your NHS COVID Pass into your Apple Wallet it will only be valid until the expiry date shown on your COVID Pass. The expiry date will not refresh automatically. This means you will need to store an updated NHS COVID Pass to your Apple Wallet before you next plan to use it if your original COVID Pass is due to expire.

Access the NHS COVID Pass through the NHS website

You can view your COVID-19 status online and download or print it as a PDF document. To access the service, you’ll need to register for an NHS login if you do not have one already. NHS login registrations may take longer than usual when there are high numbers of requests.

Access the NHS COVID Pass via the NHS website

Your COVID-19 status includes a 2D barcode. The expiry date does not apply to your vaccination status. Any expiry date refers only to the barcode and will update automatically. If you download and print a copy, the expiry date will eventually show as expired and will not automatically refresh.

Using the NHS COVID Pass for international travel

If you’ve received a full course of a vaccine requiring 2 doses, you will see 2 barcodes within the NHS App: one barcode per vaccine.

If you print a PDF of your COVID Pass status, your printed copy will show 2 barcodes. The printed copy is valid until its expiry date.

A full course of vaccine requiring one dose will be displayed as a single barcode.

Request an NHS COVID Pass letter to be posted to you

Request a letter only if you:

  • have been fully vaccinated by the NHS in England

  • are planning to travel in the next 4 weeks to a country that requires evidence of COVID-19 vaccination

You can obtain an NHS COVID Pass at age 16 plus but do not need one to access venues or events in England if you are under 18 years of age.

You can request an NHS COVID Pass letter:

  • via the NHS website
  • by calling 119 (select the ‘NHS COVID Pass service’) if you do not have access to a smartphone, computer or tablet

If you’re overseas, call +44 151 905 0119 to access the NHS COVID Pass service. You’ll be charged according to your carrier’s rates.

We expect the letter to take up to 5 working days to reach you.

The letter will be sent to the address registered with your GP. If you have recently moved house, make sure you’ve given your new address to your GP practice before requesting a letter.

The COVID-19 post-vaccination letter was rebranded from 5 July. It now displays the title ‘NHS COVID Pass’ and the logos of all 4 nations instead of just the NHS logo.

If you got a COVID-19 post-vaccination letter before 5 July, this is still valid. You do not need to apply for a new version.

If you intend to use the letter when travelling abroad, other countries will treat the old version of the letter in the same way as they treat the new one.

You should confirm the entry requirements of your intended destination country using the GOV.UK foreign travel advice pages, as requirements for testing and vaccination can vary from country to country.

GPs cannot provide letters showing your COVID-19 status.

What the NHS COVID Pass letter tells you: translated versions and alternative formats

The NHS COVID Pass letter you receive will be in English.

You can get information about what the letter tells you in other languages and alternative formats.

However, you’ll still need to show the original English letter to demonstrate your COVID status, for example when travelling abroad. You do not need your letter in a language to match the country you’re intending to travel to.

Translated versions

Read translated versions about what the NHS COVID Pass letter tells you.

Easy read

Read an easy-read guide about what the NHS COVID Pass letter tells you.

Braille and large print

You can get a Braille or large print version of the NHS COVID Pass letter via the NHS website or by calling 119 (select the ‘NHS COVID Pass service’).

Audio format

You can get an audio version of the NHS COVID Pass letter via the NHS website or by calling 119. Your letter and the audio file on a CD will be sent directly to you. It should arrive within 7 working days.

British Sign Language (BSL)

Watch a video about the NHS COVID Pass letter in BSL, not including personal details.

Watch a video about the NHS COVID Pass letter in BSL

If you cannot get an NHS COVID Pass letter

If the 119 service cannot provide you with a letter, there may be some information that is either missing or incorrect. The service will write to inform you if this is the case.

If you cannot get an NHS COVID Pass letter: translated versions and alternative formats

The letter you receive in the post will be in English. You can check your vaccination record and follow instructions in various translations of the letter, not including your personal information, in different languages. These are to help people who read those languages.

You can also access the information in a range of alternative formats.

Easy read

Read an easy-read guide about what to do if you cannot get an NHS COVID Pass letter.

Braille and large print

To get this letter in Braille or large print, please call 119 (select the ‘NHS COVID Pass service’) or order the letter online via the NHS website.

British Sign Language (BSL)

Watch a video about this letter in BSL.

Watch a video about what to do if you cannot get an NHS COVID Pass letter in BSL

Protecting your data

Your COVID-19 status is held securely within the NHS App. It can only be accessed via the NHS login service.

The NHS COVID Pass only shows your COVID-19 vaccination status in the form of a 2D barcode, which allows you to view your vaccination record.

The digital version of the NHS COVID Pass service can be accessed via the NHS App or NHS.UK.

When you access your NHS COVID Pass via the NHS App, or directly via the NHS website, you will need to use your NHS login. NHS login has advanced security features to protect you and minimise any risk of fraud. Your vaccination status displays your vaccination record only and no other personal health records or data.

All the information displayed is derived from the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) database operated by NHS England. The NHS COVID Pass service does not capture any new information. All it does is enable secure access to your immunisation records within NIMS and use a small subset of that information (NHS number, name and COVID-19 vaccination history) to enable the creation of a 2D barcode that can later be shown when travelling abroad. The service has been developed in strict compliance with GDPR and privacy regulations.

Your NHS COVID Pass letter that you request via 119 has been produced and printed with a range of embedded security features to help prevent fraud. It includes a barcode which provides a unique reference that can be used to verify your individual COVID vaccination record.

NHS App privacy policy

NHS COVID Pass privacy notice

Residents in England who have taken part in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

Residents in England that have taken part, or are taking part, in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials will have received a letter from their clinical trial site.

The letter ensures that anyone vaccinated as part of a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial can prove they were in a clinical trial and therefore should be recognised as fully vaccinated.

If you did not receive this letter, contact your clinical trial site.

This commitment was made by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer in an open letter on 11 June 2021.

We are working with the devolved administrations to ensure a consistent UK approach. We are also working to ensure that all those who participated in COVID-19 vaccine trials can access their vaccine records via the NHS App or NHS.UK

Domestic use in England

If you took part in a clinical trial within England you should also be able to use the NHS App or NHS.UK to obtain an NHS COVID Pass for domestic use in England.

The letter and NHS COVID Pass can be used when demonstrating your COVID-19 status in England.

International travel

If you took part in a clinical trial within England which was ‘unblinded’ (that is, you were informed of the vaccine used), then you should be able to use the NHS App or NHS.UK to obtain an NHS COVID Pass for international travel from England. Before you travel abroad, check the entry rules for the country you want to go to.

If you took part in a clinical trial within England which was ‘blinded’ (that is, you were not informed of the vaccine used), it is recommended that you consider other options for demonstrating your COVID-19 status when travelling abroad, such as additional testing.

All UK residents who have taken part or are taking part in clinical trials will not need to quarantine when returning to the UK from abroad, unless they’ve been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before they arrive.

Check the rules on entering England from abroad.

Novavax vaccine

If you took part in clinical trials and received a full dose of the Novavax vaccine, you can now use the NHS COVID Pass to demonstrate your COVID-19 status. If you experience issues with obtaining your NHS COVID Pass, contact your clinical trial site.

Before travelling abroad, we recommend that you check the entry requirements of your intended destination country, including which vaccines are recognised by them.

Children

Children under 18 do not have to demonstrate their COVID-19 status for entry to domestic events or venues in England.

Children aged 16 or over can get an NHS COVID Pass for travel but should follow the entry requirements of the country they are travelling to. Further details on entry requirements can be found on the GOV.UK foreign travel advice pages and on the websites of your destination country.

Published 7 May 2021
Last updated 4 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated content to reflect changes to international travel rules on 4 October 2021 (the red, amber, green traffic light system was replaced by a single red list of countries and simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world).

  2. Added information on using the NHS COVID Pass if you're unable to get vaccinated and/or tested for medical reasons.

  3. From 23 September, you will be able to store your NHS COVID Pass for international travel in Apple Wallet, even if your device is offline.

  4. Updated the 'Children' section: children under 18 do not have to demonstrate their COVID-19 status for entry to domestic events or venues in England. Children aged 16 or over can get an NHS COVID Pass for travel but should follow the entry requirements of the country they are travelling to.

  5. Added a link to information about COVID certificates in the Isle of Man.

  6. Updated to clarify that if you've been vaccinated in Scotland, to obtain your NHS COVID Pass you must be resident in England and registered with a GP in England.

  7. Updated to confirm that you can get NHS COVID Pass if you have been fully vaccinated in England, Wales or Scotland. Updated information for those participating in vaccination clinical trials. Added the phone number for contacting the NHS COVID Pass service from overseas.

  8. Added: 'If you're in the UK armed forces, visit 'My health care hub' on the Defence Gateway (login required) to find out how to get your NHS COVID Pass.'

  9. Updated the BSL guide (video) for people who have received an NHS COVID Pass letter.

  10. Updated to add a link to guidance for people fully vaccinated by the USA or EU.

  11. Updated to reflect that proof of natural immunity shown by a positive PCR test can be used to demonstrate COVID-19 status when travelling abroad; the NHS COVID Pass can be stored used the Apple Wallet when using an iPhone or iPad; and those who received the Novavax vaccine as part of a formally approved vaccine trial, can now obtain the NHS COVID Pass.

  12. Updated to remove information on the Events Research Programme trials, which ended on 25 July 2021.

  13. Updated to reflect that from Monday 19 July, you may be asked to demonstrate your COVID-19 status as a condition of entry to a venue or event in England. Added the conditions of obtaining an NHS COVID Pass for use at domestic events in England.

  14. Added links to guidance about COVID-19 vaccine certification in Guernsey, Jersey and Northern Ireland.

  15. Updated to reflect that the NHS COVID Pass letter has new branding, and that a full course of approved vaccinations now includes the single-dose Janssen vaccine.

  16. Updated to reflect that from 21 June 2021, the NHS service to demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status is now called the NHS COVID Pass. Also added that people taking part in event trials as part of the Events Research Programme will also be requested to use the NHS COVID Pass.

  17. Added video in British Sign Language about what to do if you cannot get a post-vaccination letter.

  18. Added information about what to do if you cannot get a post-vaccination status letter.

  19. You can now request a COVID-19 vaccination status letter to be posted to you via the NHS.UK website.

  20. Added link to easy-read version of the COVID-19 post-vaccination confirmation letter.

  21. Updated information on how to access your COVID-19 vaccination status on the NHS website and NHS app.

  22. Updated to add a link to a video about the post-vaccination confimation letter in BSL.

  23. This page has been updated to reflect the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination status service and includes information on obtaining information in foreign languages and alternative formats.

  24. Updated to reflect that if you call 119 to request a letter about your vaccination status, we expect the letter to take up to 7 working days to reach you.

  25. Updated to reflect that you must wait at least 5 working days after you’ve completed your course of the vaccine before asking for a letter confirming your vaccination status to be posted to you. The letter can take up to 5 working days to reach you. It will be sent automatically to the address registered with your GP.

  26. Updated to reflect that if you're aged 13 to 15, you'll need to contact your GP surgery to request access to GP online services before you can use the NHS App.

  27. Updated to reflect that you should register with the NHS App before booking your international travel.

  28. First published.

  1. Step 1 Plan your trip

  2. Step 2 Get your passport, visas and permits ready

    How much time you need on your passport depends on the country you're visiting. Check the entry requirements for the country you want to travel to.

    1. Check your passport has enough time left on it for the country you're visiting
    2. Renew or replace your passport
    3. Get a passport for your child

    You may also need a visa to enter some countries.

    1. Check if you need a visa or permit
  3. Step 3 Get travel insurance and check if you need vaccinations or inoculations

  4. Step 4 Travel safely during COVID-19

  5. Step 5 Going through border control

    You may need to show paperwork such as your passport or visa. You may also need a negative COVID-19 test result or to demonstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status at the point of entry.

    1. Check the entry requirements for the country you are travelling to or transiting through
  6. Step 6 When you're abroad

  7. Step 7 Before you return to the UK

  8. Step 8 After you arrive in the UK