How to use the NHS COVID Pass to demonstrate your coronavirus (COVID-19) status when travelling abroad and domestically at venues and settings in England.
Applies to England
Change of rules on 27 January
From 27 January, it will no longer be mandatory for venues to require attendees to demonstrate their COVID-19 status. However, some venues or events may still choose to require proof of COVID-19 status as a condition of entry to reduce risk for attendees and staff. You will be able to show vaccination status, a recent negative test or exemption through the NHS COVID Pass.
NHS COVID Pass: what it is and how to get it
The NHS COVID Pass lets you share your coronavirus (COVID-19) status records or test COVID-19 status in a secure way.
It allows you to show others the details of your COVID-19 status:
- when travelling abroad to some countries or territories
- as a condition of entry at those venues or events that use the service in England
You can get an NHS COVID Pass:
- digitally through the NHS App or online via NHS.UK
- as a letter sent to you in the post, for those who are not digitally enabled
You can find out the eligibility requirements on the NHS website.
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.
The NHS App is not the same as the NHS COVID-19 App.
How to use the NHS COVID Pass at venues, events and settings in England
If you are aged 18 or over, to enter certain venues and events in England you must have proof of one of the following:
you are vaccinated with 2 doses of an approved vaccine (or one of the single-dose Janssen vaccine) – we will keep this under review as boosters are rolled out
you have completed a negative PCR test or negative rapid lateral flow test within the past 48 hours
you are exempt from vaccination or vaccination and testing on the basis of a medical exemption or clinical trial participation
You should take tests as late as possible before attending the event, ideally within 12 hours. This will strengthen the protection testing provides.
How to get tests
You can use NHS Test and Trace tests you already have at home or order rapid lateral flow tests. If you have taken a rapid lateral flow test at home you will need to report this online. You must use a test supplied by NHS Test and Trace.
How you can demonstrate your COVID-19 status
If you live in England, you can use the NHS COVID Pass to prove your COVID-19 status. The NHS COVID Pass provides valid proof of your COVID-19 status based on your COVID-19 vaccination details, test results, medical exemption or clinical trial participation.
A valid text or email confirmation from NHS Test and Trace (see the Reporting test results section below) can also be used as proof that you have completed a negative PCR test or negative rapid lateral flow test within the past 48 hours.
The venue or event will check your COVID-19 status. If you do not meet the requirements, the responsible person is legally required to deny you entry to the venue or event.
Visiting England as a resident of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man
If you live in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man then you can show proof of your COVID-19 status as this will be recognised in England if you visit.
If you were vaccinated in another country, you can show alternative proof of vaccination if this is accepted at the UK border. International visitors can also show a valid text or email confirmation of a negative rapid lateral flow or PCR test from NHS Test and Trace.
Proof of natural immunity will not be accepted as an alternative to proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
Reporting test results
You should report your test result, positive or negative, to have proof that you have completed it, to NHS Test and Trace.
You should report a rapid lateral flow test result online or by calling 119.
You will then receive a text or email which you should display to the person checking that you have completed your test. A valid notification of your test result from NHS Test and Trace should include:
your age or date of birth
the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
confirmation that the test was either a PCR test or a rapid lateral flow test
confirmation that the test result was negative
If you reported a negative result you will also receive access to the NHS COVID Pass. This will expire 48 hours after the time you took the test. You cannot report privately provided tests and must only use tests ordered from NHS Test and Trace.
What to do if you get a positive test result, or you have symptoms of COVID-19
If you do a rapid lateral flow test at home or at a test site, and the result is positive, you must self-isolate straight away and follow the stay at home guidance. You should also tell the people you live with and check if they need to self-isolate.
If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell) you must self-isolate and get a PCR test. Follow the stay at home guidance.
If you get a positive rapid lateral flow test result but do not have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, you should report your result and self-isolate. You do not need to take a follow-up PCR test unless:
- you wish to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment
- you have a health condition that means you may be suitable for new COVID-19 treatments
- you are taking rapid lateral flow tests as part of research or surveillance programmes, and the programme asks you to do so
- you are an international arrival and have a positive day 2 rapid lateral flow test
You must self-isolate from the day your symptoms started or from the day you receive a positive test result if you do not have symptoms.
You can end your self-isolation on the sixth day of self-isolation following 5 full days isolating and 2 negative rapid lateral flow tests taken on consecutive days. The first rapid lateral flow test should not be taken before the fifth day.
However, you will be unable to use either your domestic or travel NHS COVID Pass for 10 days following a positive NHS test result.
The self-isolation period remains 10 full days for those without negative results from 2 rapid lateral flow tests taken a day apart. This is the law, regardless of whether you have been vaccinated.
Venues where the NHS COVID Pass is required for visitors
Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques
You must always prove your vaccine-or-test COVID-19 status to visit all nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques.
You do not need to prove your vaccination status if:
- the venue is not acting as a nightclub (for example by closing their dancefloor)
- they are holding an exempt event (see the Exempt activities section below)
Other venues acting as nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques
You must also prove your COVID-19 status to visit all other venues that:
are open at any point between 1am and 5am
serve alcohol after 1am
have a dancefloor (or space for dancing)
provide music, whether live or recorded, for dancing
Unless they are holding an exempt event (see the Exempt activities section below).
Venues meeting these criteria must make sure that everyone in the venue from 1am is vaccinated, has completed a recent negative test, or is exempt (unless the venue is holding an event which is exempt).
Venues can choose how they do this. For example, if you’re attending a venue, such as a late night bar with a dancefloor, you may have to prove your COVID-19 status to gain access, even if you enter and leave before 1am.
Events where the NHS COVID Pass is required for visitors
You must also prove your COVID-19 status to visit:
indoor events with 500 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event (such as music venues with standing audiences, or large receptions)
outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event (such as outdoor festivals)
any events with 10,000 or more attendees, whether indoor or outdoor (such as large sports and music events)
Events are defined as including:
an entertainment, a performance or similar occasion
a competition, race, match or other sporting event
a celebration, ball, reception or other organised social event
a conference, presentation, business reception, trade show or exhibition, award show or a charitable auction
Some venues will not check proof of your COVID-19 status unless they are holding a specific event (such as a performance or reception) that meets the attendance thresholds (that is, a certain number of people attending).
You will not need to show your COVID-19 status to participate in sporting activity, regardless of number of participants or whether the activity is indoors or outdoors.
There are also some events where you will not need to prove your COVID-19 status in order to attend. These include:
wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and equivalents (including alternative wedding ceremonies)
receptions celebrating a wedding or other significant life event (like a christening, bar and bat mitzvah or mehndi ceremony) that are organised by an individual (and not a business, a charitable, benevolent, or philanthropic institution or a public body)
funerals and commemorative events (except where commemorative events are held in a nightclub)
outdoor events in public spaces where these are unticketed and not charged for (such as markets, street parties, protests and carnivals)
events in private houses (including private gardens) where people do not have to pay or hold a ticket to enter
If you’re unsure whether a venue or event you plan to attend will require you to demonstrate your COVID-19 status, you should contact the venue or event or check their website.
Venues and events that use the NHS COVID Pass on a voluntary basis
Some venues and events that are not required by law to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry may do so voluntarily to keep visitors and staff safe.
If so, they should tell you what you’ll need to show to access the venue or event before you visit.
Guidance for organisations and workers
More details about the venues and events where you must demonstrate your COVID-19 status as a condition of entry are in the guidance page for organisations.
Venues and events are strongly advised to ensure that their workers are vaccinated, completing regular testing or exempt.
There is also separate guidance for workers, (including employees, volunteers and other people providing services to the event or venue).
Anyone making, adapting, supplying or offering to supply someone with false evidence of their COVID-19 status can be prosecuted or fined up to £10,000. Higher penalties may apply under other legislation, for example the Fraud Act 2006.
How to use the NHS COVID Pass when travelling abroad
You can show the vaccination records in your NHS COVID Pass as proof of your COVID-19 status when travelling abroad.
Proof of recovery from prior COVID-19 infection is also shown – however, this cannot be used as evidence of your COVID-19 status when entering England.
You will also need to follow additional rules when travelling abroad.
You should register with the NHS App before booking international travel.
Read more information on:
You should check that your first name and your surname on your passport match how they are displayed by your NHS COVID Pass at least 2 weeks before you travel. If the names are different, contact your GP practice to have your details updated.
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.
When returning to England, you must complete a passenger locator form online before you arrive in England, unless both of the following are true:
- you’re travelling to England from within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
- you’ve not been outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in the 10 days before the day you arrive in England
COVID-19 booster vaccinations
You should get your COVID-19 booster as soon as you are eligible, but you do not need a COVID-19 booster vaccination to get an NHS COVID Pass for domestic use in England. We will keep this under review as boosters are rolled out.
If you’ve received a booster vaccination it will show in your NHS COVID Pass within 5 days. You’ll see a 2D barcode for your full course of vaccinations plus your booster vaccination.
Your vaccinations will show in reverse order, with the most recent first. This is also the case if you download a PDF of your NHS COVID Pass for travel, or store it within the Apple Wallet or Google Pay Wallet.
If you’re about to travel, you should download an updated PDF version of your NHS COVID Pass, or store an updated version in your Apple Wallet or Google Pay Wallet.
You’ll also see your detailed booster vaccination information in the ‘View COVID-19 records’ section of the NHS COVID Pass within the NHS App and online service.
If you require non-digital proof of your booster vaccination for international travel, you can order an NHS COVID Pass letter via the NHS 119 service or via NHS.UK. Your letter will show a 2D barcode for each vaccination you’ve received, including your booster vaccination.
Some countries require travellers to demonstrate that they have received 2 doses of a COVID-19 approved vaccination within 180 days, or a booster dose no less than 14 days before entering the country.
Your NHS COVID Pass can be scanned to check and validate your COVID-19 status in venues in over 40 countries, including those in the EU.
Residents in England who have received COVID-19 vaccinations overseas
If you live in England and have had one or more of your COVID-19 vaccinations administered overseas, you can have your vaccination details added to your NHS Record. You can then generate an NHS COVID Pass for domestic use and international travel if you meet certain certification requirements.
You can use this service if you’ve had one or more of the following vaccines:
There will remain a small number of countries and territories where this service will not be enabled. However, international COVID-19 certification accepted at the UK border is also accepted at events and venues in England.
Book an appointment to register your overseas vaccinations
To register your overseas vaccinations, you’ll need to book an appointment at a selected list of vaccination centres across England.
Staff are not able to register your overseas vaccinations unless you book in advance.
Details of your overseas vaccination will then be recorded in the National Immunisation Management System.
If you’re registered with a GP in England and were vaccinated in Scotland, Wales or the Isle of Man, you do not need to book an appointment at a vaccination centre. Those registered with a GP in England who received Novavax, Valneva and Medicago vaccinations administered in the UK can also access an NHS COVID Pass.
If you need help using this service, contact the NHS COVID Pass service by telephoning:
- 119 from the UK
- +44 151 905 0119 from overseas (you’ll be charged according to your carrier’s rates)
Getting your NHS COVID Pass
Eligible overseas vaccinations will display within your NHS COVID Pass in the same way as vaccines administered under the UK vaccination programme. However, you may see some fields left blank for overseas vaccines.
Non-eligible overseas vaccinations will not generate an NHS COVID Pass.
You can get your NHS COVID Pass for use at events and venues in England 14 days after completion of a full course of vaccination.
Your NHS COVID Pass for international travel will show the vaccinations you have received. It may take up to 5 days for vaccines to show in your NHS COVID Pass.
What the barcodes and expiry dates mean
On the digital version of your NHS COVID Pass for domestic use, you’ll see a single barcode.
On your NHS COVID Pass for international travel you will see one barcode for each vaccination dose.
You will see the barcodes either:
- within the NHS COVID Pass in the NHS App
- if you save or print a PDF of your NHS COVID Pass
- on the NHS COVID Pass letter
The expiry date does not apply to your vaccination status. Any expiry date refers only to the barcode and will update automatically in the digital version of the COVID Pass. The barcodes have expiry dates to protect your data privacy.
However, if you download and save or print a copy of your NHS COVID Pass, the expiry date will eventually show as expired and will not automatically refresh. You will need to log into the COVID Pass service in order to generate a new copy.
If you order an NHS COVID Pass letter via the NHS 119 service or online via NHS.UK, the barcodes in your letter will expire after 30 days.
Storing your NHS COVID Pass in Apple Wallet
If you get your NHS COVID Pass through the NHS App or Safari web browser using an Apple iPhone, you can store your NHS COVID Pass in Apple Wallet.
You can store separate passes in Apple Wallet for:
- entry into events and venues in England
- international travel
You can then show either the domestic or international NHS COVID Pass, even if your device is offline.
To add your NHS COVID Pass to the device’s wallet, tap the ‘Add to Apple Wallet’ button within the NHS COVID Pass service.
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 the NHS 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 NHS COVID Pass has or is due to expire.
Storing your NHS COVID Pass in Google Wallet (officially called Google Pay)
If you get your NHS COVID Pass through the NHS App or by using the Google Chrome web browser on an Android phone, you’ll be able to store your NHS COVID Pass to your device.
You’ll see the ‘Google – save to phone’ button within the NHS App. You can then show your NHS COVID-19 status at events and venues in England and for international travel.
The NHS COVID Pass will be saved on your Android phone home screen and also accessible in Google Pay. It is available to Play Protect certified mobile devices running Android 5 or above.
You can use the NHS COVID Pass and store it using the Apple Wallet or Google Pay in the Welsh language. Access your COVID Pass using the NHS website and click the ‘Cymraeg’ button at the top of the screen to change the language from English to Welsh.
What the NHS COVID Pass letter tells you: translated versions and alternative formats
There are 2 NHS COVID Pass letters:
- one letter is for travel abroad
- one letter is for entry to domestic events and venues
If you request an NHS COVID Pass letter, the letter you receive will be in English.
You can request a leaflet about the content of the letter and what it tells you in other languages and alternative formats.
You will still need to show the original English letter (not the supporting leaflet) to demonstrate your COVID-19 status, for example when:
- travelling abroad
- attending a venue or event in England where you must prove your COVID-19 status to enter
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’).
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 for travel abroad in BSL, not including personal details.
Watch a video about the NHS COVID Pass letter for domestic use in BSL, not including personal details.
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.
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.
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.
Venues or events required to check visitors’ COVID-19 status as a condition of entry will not be able to accept people who self-declare that they are medically exempt. You will need to use the NHS COVID Pass, or accepted equivalent proof of exemption, 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.
Protecting your data
Your COVID-19 status is held securely within the NHS App. It can only be accessed via a validated NHS login. The NHS COVID Pass shows your COVID-19 vaccination status in the form of a 2D barcode and allows you to view the details of your COVID-19 vaccination record.
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.
Read more in these privacy policies about how the NHS COVID Pass uses your information and about your data rights:
Residents in England who have taken part in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials
Domestic use in England
If you took part in a clinical trial within England you can use the NHS App or NHS.UK to get a NHS COVID Pass for domestic use in England.
Your NHS COVID Pass can be used to demonstrate your COVID-19 status in England. Participants should contact their clinical trial site if they cannot yet access their domestic NHS COVID Pass.
Relevant trials include the Novavax, Valneva, Medicago and Com-Cov2 trials. Further information on the offer can be found by visiting the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) website.
Clinical trial participants who have received additional doses of approved vaccines will see those doses in their NHS COVID Pass for travel via the NHS App and online via NHS.UK. These doses will show in your travel pass alongside your trial vaccinations, with the most recent vaccination received appearing first.
The doses records can take from 1 to 5 working days to appear in the NHS COVID Pass.
If you need a non-digital NHS COVID Pass for travel, the NHS COVID Pass letter also includes additional ‘top up’ approved vaccinations. You can ask for this via the NHS 119 service or via NHS.UK. The letter should take up to 7 days to arrive after you order it.
Clinical trial participants who have not received additional doses of approved vaccines
If you took part in a clinical trial within England which was ‘unblinded’ (you were informed of the vaccine used), then you should be able to obtain an NHS COVID Pass for travel if your trial site has uploaded vaccination information onto the NHS vaccine database. If your vaccine records are available and uploaded, then you will see these in your NHS COVID Pass for travel, with your most recent vaccine first.
Participants should contact their clinical trial site if they cannot yet access their travel pass. Before you travel abroad, check the entry rules for any country you want to go to.
If you took part in a clinical trial within England which was ‘blinded’ (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 can follow the same rules as those fully vaccinated when returning to the UK from abroad.
Children under 18 do not have to demonstrate their COVID-19 status for entry to domestic events or venues in England.
Fully vaccinated children aged 12 to 15 can request an NHS COVID Pass letter for international travel. A person with legal responsibility for a child aged 12 to 15 (such as a parent or guardian) can also request the letter on their behalf.
The NHS COVID Pass letter is not available to children aged 12 to 15 who have only received an incomplete course of vaccination (such as 1 dose of a 2-dose vaccine).
You can get a NHS COVID Pass letter online. People requiring digital assistance can call the NHS 119 telephone service to request an NHS COVID Pass travel letter. The NHS COVID Pass letter will be sent to the address held on the child’s NHS record (the address held by their GP) and will show all the vaccinations they have received including any boosters. The NHS COVID Pass letter should arrive within 7 working days.
The NHS COVID Pass letter service is for international vaccination status only and not recovery or negative test results.
This NHS COVID Pass letter service is not available for domestic use at venues and settings in England.
Your GP cannot provide you with this letter or service.
It is recommended that you follow the entry requirements of the country you 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.