The NHS app is now widely used as a digital vaccination passport for Britons traveling abroad and is accepted as proof of your vaccination status by a growing number of countries.
Travelers who received the third dose, or booster dose, can now use the app to demonstrate this. Those who have already tested positive for Covid on an NHS test can also access their proof of recovery through the app.
The app contains the NHS Covid Pass, which is accepted by all countries in the EU, as well as most countries further afield. It is also possible to apply for an NHS Covid Pass letter, if you need or prefer this version.
Unvaccinated people are generally required to present a negative Covid test or proof of immunity, depending on the requirements of their destination; the accepted means of demonstrating these results are listed on the orientation page of each country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on gov.uk.
Below, we answer some of the most common holiday vaccine passport questions.
Is a Covid vaccine passport a physical document?
A function has been added to the NHS app that allows users to show, in order to enter foreign countries, that they have been vaccinated. The vaccination record shows the dates of your injections, with a barcode for each dose you have received.
There is an option on the app to download a copy of your certificate, which you can then print. It is wise to do this, in case you lose your phone or the battery drains while you are away. However, those who downloaded the NHS Covid Pass as a PDF or added it to their Apple wallet before November 1 will need to download, reprint or add an updated version before traveling in order for their pass to be valid. Older certificates will not be scanned into the EU’s Covid Digital Certificate System (DCC).
How to obtain a vaccination passport for the holidays?
You need to download the NHS app on your smartphone – it’s different from the contact tracing app, called NHS Covid 19, which is separate and doesn’t include vaccine passports.
The app requires access to your profile and NHS number, which records whether or not you’ve received a coronavirus vaccination.
The vaccination record held by the NHS is displayed inside the app.
Open your App Store if you are using an iPhone or the Google Play Store on an Android phone. Search for “NHS App” and it should be the first result. The app is compatible with most Android smartphones. Any device running Android 5.0 and above will be able to download and use it.
Those without access to the app can request a letter from the NHS proving their vaccination status by calling 119 – the letter can take up to seven working days to arrive.
Other apps used as proof of vaccination are free, like the NHS app. The Iata version is free to download and use.
How does the NHS app work?
It allows people to register details like their name, zip code and NHS number to link the app to their health record held by their GP.
This information is then displayed in the app once people have logged in, allowing them to view their vaccination records as well as other medical information such as allergies and appointment records.
To find your vaccination status in the app, users can click on the ‘your health’ tab and then click on a box labeled ‘Get your NHS Covid Pass’.
This should bring you to a screen where you can choose between “Domestic” and “Travel”. Choose the latter. From there, you can choose to view your Covid-19 records, download a PDF copy, or receive an offline copy via email.
Note that the process of locating your recordings may be slightly different depending on whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone.
If you use a download of the pass, you will probably have to download it again the next time you travel. The code expires after 30 days.
Do I need a vaccine booster to travel?
An increasing number of destinations have placed time limits on the validity of vaccinations, unless travelers have bolstered their immunity with follow-up injections. To visit Switzerland and Croatia, travelers must have been vaccinated within the previous year, while Austria considers full vaccine status to expire after 270 days.
Does the app show my booster?
Yes, if you have received a booster dose it should now appear on the NHS Covid Pass for travel. This entered into force on November 19.
Note: The third dose does not appear on the national version of the pass because in England currently it is not necessary for individuals to receive a booster dose to be considered fully vaccinated.
Does the app show my proof of recovery?
Yes; if you have ever tested positive on an NHS test and recorded the result, your NHS Covid Pass should now include certification of your proof of recovery. Countries like Iceland, Croatia and Turkey accept proof of recovery instead of a negative Covid test result before travel, in recognition of the boost in immunity that a natural infection confers.
Access to the certification via the app is free and relatively simple. In the “Get your NHS COVID Pass” section, click on “Travel” and then click on “View details”. Scroll through the QR codes confirming your vaccinations, and the last one should read “Recovered from COVID-19”. This can be printed and saved, along with your vaccination records.
What is the Iata Travel Pass?
Iata (the International Air Transport Association) has launched its own version of a travel ticket on which evidence of Covid-19-related health records can be stored.
The IATA Travel Pass app can be downloaded from Apple Store and Google Play.
The application includes: a register of health requirements (ie passengers can find out what the travel, testing and vaccination rules are for their trip); a register of vaccination and screening centers (to help users find them in their departure or arrival destination); the lab application (which allows laboratories and test centers to send test results or vaccination certificates to passengers) and the Travel Pass application.
Thanks to the ticket, passengers can:
- Create a “digital passport”
- Check that their vaccination or test complies with the regulations of their destination
- Share test or vaccination records with authorities
Some 59 airlines are testing the IATA Travel Pass, including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates.
What about the EU COVID Digital Certificate (GDC)?
The EU’s COVID digital certificate is used throughout the block and is recognized in the UK as proof of vaccination. The NHS Covid certificate is recognized by the whole of the EU as an equivalent of the Digital COVID Certificate.
How will a vaccination passport keep my data private?
Government guidelines state: “Your Covid-19 vaccination status is kept securely in the NHS app. It can only be accessed through the NHS login service.
“The NHS COVID Pass only displays 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 through the NHS app or NHS.UK.
“When you access your COVID-19 vaccination status through the NHS app or directly through the NHS website, you will need to use your NHS ID.
“The connection to the NHS has advanced security features to protect you and minimize any risk of fraud. Your vaccination status only displays your vaccination record and no other personal health records or data. “
Iata and the EU have said they will also ensure the security of sensitive medical data.
What if the name of my general practitioner does not match the name on my passport?
Then you may not be able to use it for travel. The Department of Health and Social Affairs, which is in charge of the application, recommends passengers to verify that the name on their passport matches how it is displayed on their Covid-19 vaccination status for at least two weeks before the journey. However, it should only matter that your first and last name match, not your middle name.
He indicated that if different, passengers are advised to contact their GP office to have their contact details updated.
Iata, who manages the Travel Pass, said the same. A spokesperson told Telegraph Travel that the Travel Pass requires the name on the vaccine certificate and passport to match.
How do I change my contact details with my general practitioner?
The NHS says: “Contact your doctor’s office and ask them to update your details. They will then update your NHS record. Any changes you make will show up in the NHS app.”
How do I change the name on my passport?
You need to apply for a new passport, which can take up to 10 weeks. It’s important to remember that your contact details should match those for some vacation bookings, like flights, for example.
You can contact your airline to change the name of a flight booking, but you may be charged a fee.
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