You’ll need a vaccine passport to travel to some countries this summer, and you might need one even to cruise around the UK.
Having proof that you’ve been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will also allow you to enter some countries without the need to take an expensive test.
A few countries, including Israel, have announced they’ll only allow tourists who have been vaccinated against Covid when they reopen their borders later this month, at least initially.
And others, such as Greece, say they’ll allow those who’ve had both jabs to enter without taking a Covid test.
Some cruise lines, including P&O Cruises, Saga and Virgin Voyages are also insisting that passengers on their UK cruises are fully vaccinated this summer.
How to get a vaccination passport
After much flip-flopping, the UK Government has finally confirmed that the NHS App will be used as a Covid passport for international travel for people who live in England.
Details of all your inoculations can be added to the app, which can be used as proof that you’ve had both doses of the Covid-19 vaccination.
It’s available to download to your smartphone or tablet for free.
Just to be clear, it’s the NHS App used for booking appointments that will be used as a vaccination passport, not the NHS Covid App.
My app doesn’t show my inoculations, why not?
Some people have discovered that the NHS App doesn’t show their inoculations.
In this case, you need to contact your GP surgery to request that they add these to the app.
You might need to register for online access with your GP first. They should tell you how to do this.
Once you’ve downloaded the app and registered for online access, your Covid vaccines should appear immediately on the app.
However, the app doesn’t work with older smartphones, such as the iPhone 6 and earlier.
What if I don’t have a modern smartphone?
You won’t be able to use the NHS App as a vaccine passport if you don’t have a smartphone, or you have an older model.
In this case, you can download or print your vaccination certificate from the NHS website. You’ll need to login and upload some photo ID first to access your records.
You can also call the NHS helpline on 119 and ask for a letter of proof to be posted to you.
You must wait at least five days after you’ve had your second jab before calling 119. The letter will take up to five days to reach you.
The Government is asking people not to call their GP surgery to request the letter as they won’t be able to provide it.
Will cruise lines and foreign countries accept these as vaccination passports?
It seems likely that cruise lines sailing around the UK this summer will accept both the NHS App or letter issued by 119 as proof that customers have been vaccinated against Covid.
Some countries, such as Greece, have indicated they will also accept paper proof of vaccinations to allow British holidaymakers test-free access.
However, other countries, including Portugal, have asked for digital proof, and it’s not yet clear if they will accept the NHS App as a vaccination passport.
If not, holidaymakers will likely have to take a Covid test to enter even if they’ve been fully vaccinated.
What if I live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?
The UK Government says the ‘COVID-19 vaccinations status’ is currently only available to people living in England.
But it says it’s working with the devolved administrations to ensure this facility is available to everyone across the UK.