Government confirms digital and paper COVID passports from 17 May

COVID passport travel
By Linsey McNeill
Home » Government confirms digital and paper COVID passports from 17 May

The UK Government has confirmed that holidaymakers will be able to prove their vaccination status for international travel from 17 May.

It says those with modern smartphones will be able to use the NHS App. Those without will be able to order a vaccination certificate by calling the NHS helpline, 119.

The confirmation will come as good news for those who have booked cruises round the UK this summer, as several cruise lines will only accepted fully vaccinated passengers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed early this month that the Government planned to update the NHS App, which already includes users’ medical records, so it could be used to prove their COVID vaccination status.

Officials later suggested that the App was unlikely to be adapted in time for the restart of international travel, but last Friday the Government confirmed the service will go live on 17 May.

Initially the App will only include details of COVID vaccinations, but the Government intends to update it to include COVID test results as well.

It said the NHS App can be used by anyone aged 13 who is registered with a GP in England.

While it can’t be used by those living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Government said it is working with the devolved administrations to make sure the facility is available to everyone across the UK.

However, the guidance issued on Friday said not many countries currently accept proof of vaccination for entry. “So for the time being most people will still need to follow other rules when travelling abroad – like getting a negative pre-departure test,” it added.

Several countries, including Israel, have said they will require holidaymakers to be vaccinated against COVID when they reopen their borders, at least for the first few weeks.

Others, such as Greece, have suggested they will allow test-free access to fully vaccinated tourists.

Portugal, one of the few major holiday destinations on the Government’s ‘green’ travel list, has suggested it might allow test-free access to Britons who have had both vaccinations, but only with digital proof.

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