Guidance

Using your NHS COVID Pass for travel abroad and at venues and settings in England

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

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

From 19 November, you can see details of your COVID-19 booster vaccination in your NHS COVID Pass. See ‘COVID booster vaccinations’ below.

NHS COVID Pass: what it is and how to get it

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 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

You can find out the eligibility requirements on the NHS website.

Getting a digital NHS COVID Pass

Get your NHS COVID Pass letter

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 when travelling abroad

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

You will also need to follow additional rules when travelling abroad.

You should register with the NHS App before booking international travel.

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.

See advice about travelling abroad from England during the pandemic

COVID booster vaccinations

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.

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.

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.

Some countries now 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 now be scanned to check and validate your COVID status in venues in over 40 countries, including those in the EU.

Find out more about the EU Gateway

How to use the NHS COVID Pass at domestic venues and settings in England

Some events and venues may ask you to show your NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry.

Use of the NHS COVID Pass is voluntary for individual organisations in England. However, the government encourages 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:

  • 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

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.

You do not need a COVID-19 booster vaccination to get an NHS COVID Pass for domestic use in England. However, you can see your booster vaccination information in the ‘View COVID-19 records’ section of the NHS COVID Pass within the NHS App and online service.

What the barcodes and expiry dates mean

On your NHS COVID Pass for domestic use, you’ll see a single barcode.

On your NHS COVID pass for travel, you may see more than one barcode. If you’ve received a full course of a vaccine requiring 2 doses, you will see 2 barcodes: one barcode for each vaccination dose. A full course of vaccine requiring one dose will be displayed as a single barcode.

If you’ve had a booster jab, this will appear as an additional barcode.

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

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.

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 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 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 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 has or is due to expire.

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

If you request an NHS COVID Pass letter, the 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 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 status.

Currently, businesses and event organisers in England that choose to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry can also 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 that point you will need 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.

Protecting your data

Your COVID 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

If you live in England and have taken part, or are taking part, in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, you will have received a letter from your 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.

The government is working with the devolved administrations to ensure a consistent UK approach. It is also working to ensure that all those who took part 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 status in England.

International travel

If you took part in a clinical trial within England which was ‘unblinded’ (that is, you were told which vaccine was 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 told which vaccine was 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 status. If you experience issues with obtaining your NHS COVID Pass, contact your clinical trial site.

Before travelling abroad, you should 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 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 26 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect the latest information on how to obtain your NHS COVID Pass in digital or letter format via the NHS.UK website.

  2. From 19 November, you can see details of your COVID-19 booster vaccination in your NHS COVID Pass.

  3. Added information about COVID-19 booster vaccinations: The NHS COVID Pass for travel does not currently include COVID-19 booster vaccinations. You do not need a COVID-19 booster vaccination to get an NHS COVID Pass for domestic use in England. Also updated to reflect the UK linking with the EU Gateway. Your NHS COVID Pass can be scanned to check and validate your COVID-19 vaccination status in venues in over 40 countries, including those in the EU.

  4. 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).

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.'

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

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

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

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

  31. 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