Here at CTN we know that peace of mind while travelling during the age of Covid is the most important thing for travellers. Vaccination status is one of the key requirements when travelling, and having the correct documents can save you time and money in tests and quarantine. This is especially important when travelling to the European Union, which has recently introduced new requirements related to vaccination.
Below we explore how to prove your vaccination status if you were vaccinated in the UK and how it relates to the EU Covid Pass.
What is the NHS Covid Pass?
If you were vaccinated in England, the way to prove your vaccination status when travelling abroad is by using your NHS Covid Pass. You can get the pass through the NHS App (i.e. not the NHS Covid App, which is for contact tracing!), or if you don’t have access to the app, you can request a hardcopy here.
CTN Tip: Some countries will only accept a hardcopy of the NHS Covid Pass. If you have the app you can download a PDF copy which you can then print, or order the hardcopy directly through the link above. Be aware that the QR code generated on downloaded/printed NHS COVID passes expires after 30 days, so ensure you download your hardcopy close to the date on which you travel.
If you were vaccinated elsewhere in the UK, you can check how to demonstrate your vaccination status by visiting the following pages:
Check the vaccination requirements for your destination by using our simple tool:
There are several vaccines accepted by the English government. If you were vaccinated abroad and are travelling to England, check whether your vaccine is accepted here.
In England, you are considered fully vaccinated when it’s been at least 14 days since you completed your primary vaccination series. This means you have gotten both doses of a two dose vaccine (e.g. Pzifer, Moderna, AstraZeneca), or one dose of a one dose vaccine (e.g. Janssen). Currently, there is no time limit for how long the vaccine is valid. However, this is not the case for EU countries.
What is the EU Digital COVID Certificate?
The EU Covid Certificate is valid for all EU nations and works in a similar way to the NHS Covid Pass, in that it is a digital proof of vaccination and/or recovery. However, the EU one also serves to prove negative tests. Each county is in charge of issuing the certificate. It could, for example, be issued by test centres or health authorities, or directly via an eHealth portal.
The UK and EU digital vaccination certificates are considered equivalent and are accepted by each other. This means that when you travel to a country in the EU from the UK, you can use your NHS Covid Pass to prove your vaccination status in the same way a EU citizen would use their EU Digital Covid Certificate to prove theirs.
This is important for countries, like France, that have a separate app for entering venues and public spaces. Since the NHS Covid App is equivalent to the EU Digital COVID Certificate, it is also compatible with the French Pass Vaccinal, so to enter venues and public spaces you can use your NHS Covid App.
However, it is important to note that there is a time limit for vaccination validity in the EU. The primary vaccination series is only valid for 270 days after the final dose, and in order to still be considered fully vaccinated you will need to get a booster. There is no time limit for the booster’s validity. There is a 180 day time limit on the validity of a recovery certificate.
CTN Tip: the EU Digital Certificate time limit rules only apply for inter-state travelling within the EU, but individual countries might have different time limits on vaccinations. For example, in Italy the vaccination time limit for entering public and entertainment venues is 180 days, so you will need to make sure you have a booster dose if it’s been more than 180 days since your second dose.
How do I prove my vaccination status outside the EU?
Many countries accept the NHS proof of vaccination and recovery, but some of them might require a hardcopy. A small number of countries do not accept the NHS proof of vaccination and thus people vaccinated in the UK travelling to those countries should follow the rules for unvaccinated people. If you are travelling to a country outside of the EU, you can find out the vaccination requirements for your destination by using our simple tool, here.
Written by Isabel Barrios Pérez-Coca
Published on 14/03/2022
Isabel is a Data and Research Specialist and is involved in the operation, research, data management and logistics of running the website.
The information within this article is accurate at the time of publishing.
Information about testing requirements, entry requirements to the UK and travelling abroad during Covid-19 is CTN’s understanding of the requirements from multiple sources including the UK Government website at the time of publishing - always check full requirements including mandatory documentation and quarantine rules before you travel! By using our site, you confirm that you accept our user terms and conditions and you agree to comply with them. We amend these terms from time to time. Every time you wish to use our site, please check these terms to ensure you understand the terms that apply at that time.