Covid passports: How do I get one and when will I need it?

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Image source, Getty Images

Covid passports have been introduced in Scotland and Wales for entry to nightclubs and large events.

England has scrapped its plans.

Proof you've had the vaccine is also needed to travel to most other countries.

How do Covid passports work in Wales?

Anyone aged over 16 who has been fully vaccinated in Wales or England can use the NHS Covid Pass to prove their status, but it's only compulsory for over-18s who want to attend large events.

It's also available to people who've had a negative lateral flow test in the previous 48 hours.

The pass is needed for:

  • nightclubs and comparable venues
  • unseated indoor live events for more than 500 people
  • unseated outdoor live events for more than 4,000 people
  • any event for more than 10,000 people

You can get a digital copy of the NHS Covid pass, but need to register for an NHS login first. Call 0300 303 5667 for a paper copy at least five days after your final vaccine dose.

How do Covid passports work in Scotland?

You now need show proof you have been fully vaccinated to enter nightclubs, adult entertainment venues and many large events in Scotland.

These include indoor events with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor events with more than 4,000 people, and any event with more than 10,000 people.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, The scheme covers sporting venues which have a capacity of more than 10,000, including Hampden Park

People who live in Scotland can prove they're fully vaccinated by using the NHS Scotland Covid Status App to generate a QR code. A paper version is also available.

People coming from elsewhere in the UK can show their vaccination status with the NHS App (if from England or Wales) or the Covidcert NI app (if from Northern Ireland). - or paper letters of certification.

Some people are exempt, including under-18s, people taking part in vaccine trials and those unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons.

A negative Covid test will not be accepted instead of proof of vaccination.

What's happening in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland doesn't have a formal vaccination passport scheme.

Social distancing limits have been lifted in many places, including indoor seated venues such as theatres, concert halls and cinemas.

They have been advised to ask for proof of double vaccination or a negative lateral flow test to allow entry, but this is not legally enforceable.

What happened to Covid passport plans in England?

The government dropped its plans for vaccine passports, which had been due to start at the end of September.

But they could still be introduced under the government's winter "Plan B", if cases surge.

You can already prove your Covid-19 status via the NHS App (not the NHS Covid-19 app which alerts you if you've been close to someone with the virus).

The app generates an NHS Covid Pass which shows your Covid vaccination details or test results.

You can get the pass if you're 18 or over, registered with a GP, and meet any one of the following criteria:

  • It's been two weeks since your second vaccination (or single Jansen dose)
  • You've had a negative PCR or lateral flow test result in the past 48 hours, and reported it on the NHS website (this pass lasts for 48 hours after the result)
  • You've had a positive PCR test result in the past six months, and finished self-isolating (this pass lasts for 180 days)

Over-16s can also get the NHS Covid Pass for foreign travel if:

  • You've had two vaccine doses (or one Jansen jab)
  • You've had a positive PCR test result in the past six months, and finished self-isolating (this pass lasts for 180 days)

If you don't have a GP, or a mobile device, you can access the pass via the NHS website or by calling 119 to request a letter. The letter only shows your vaccination status (not test results) and has no expiry date.

Image source, Getty Images

What about travel?

Many foreign countries insist that visitors are fully vaccinated as an entry requirement. Others will waive quarantine restrictions if you can prove your status.

In some places you may also have to demonstrate that you've had both Covid jabs in order to attend large events, go to bars and restaurants or use public transport.

The NHS Covid pass and the Scottish and Northern Irish equivalents are widely accepted abroad, but you should check the rules for your destination before you travel.