The NHS App is to be used as a Covid-19 passport for travel overseas, the transport secretary has confirmed.
Speaking to Sky News today, Grant Shapps confirmed the app will be used as proof Brits have had their Covid-19 vaccination, or tested negative for the virus, before going on holiday.
“It will be the NHS App that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing,” Shapps said.
He added that he is working with other countries to ensure the system is internationally recognised.
The NHS App allows users to access a range of NHS services on their smartphone or tablet. It was launched in 2018 and offers services including symptom checking and triage; appointment booking; repeat prescription ordering; access to patient records; national data opt-out; and organ donation preference.
Users can already check their vaccination status through the app if permitted by their GP. This applies to all vaccines.
Since September 2019, the number of registered NHS App users has risen from 91,000 to over 220,000, according to NHS Digital. The NHS App is separate from the NHS Covid-19 app which was designed specifically as a contact-tracing app.
People will still be required to “check-in” to venues using the QR code scanner on the NHS Covid-19 app, as well as using it to check symptoms and enter test results.
A government spokesperson said: “The government is working on providing individuals with the means to demonstrate their Covid status easily – through a digital route as well as a route for people who don’t have access to a smart phone.
“Security and privacy will be at the core of our approach. Use of the NHS App is being considered as part of the digital route.”
The Covid-19 passport on the NHS App will only be required when travelling overseas.
Shapps told Sky News that the list of countries people will be able to travel to without having to quarantine when they arrive back home will be revealed “in the next couple of weeks”.
People returning from those countries will still be required to take a Covid-19 test before coming home, as well as when they return to the UK.
The NHS Covid-19 App
The contact-tracing app was launched in September 2020 as a digital solution to support NHS Test and Trace. Since its launch it has been downloaded 21.63 million times, with 1.7 million users advised to self-isolate following close contact with someone who had tested positive, Department of Health and Social Care figures show.
As gyms, pubs, restaurants and other venues opened on April 12 an update to the app was rolled out to allow users to share details of the venues they’ve visited if they test positive for the virus.
The app previously used QR code check-ins to trace the venues users had visited, but the information was only used to notify users if there had been an outbreak linked to that venue.
The app uses Bluetooth technology to track time and distance between devices, flagging those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Data on the app is now published weekly alongside Test and Trace data. It has undergone several updates since its launch, including interoperability with the Scottish and Northern Ireland app; updates to accuracy; and the implementation of self-isolation payments.
For a more in-depth look at the NHS Covid-19 app, and what went wrong along the way, take a look at our timeline of events here.
25 May 2021 @ 17:55
I have already asked but still no real answer expiration date 20 June the date of travel so need it to update code before I travel – how do I get this done as otherwise the app is completely useless if the country I enter looks and sees it expires the same day!
22 May 2021 @ 14:09
We spent hours yesterday on a variety of mobile phones and a laptop trying to get the login set up to enable getting the vaccination certficates. Drving license details input fine but when it comes to recording the little video and reciting the four numbers they send, problems stop play. The video doesn’t record – just the sound. Submitting it like that results in rejection. Found that this is a known fault and some work-arounds but the work-arounds din’t work either. Anyone else having these problems?
19 May 2021 @ 15:13
Thank you NHS Scotland. Today I was finally able to download and print out my COVID vaccination certificate. Had to call to get a user name but then managed it. This service is only available as of 1pm today .
19 May 2021 @ 13:34
I’m a Scot living in Germany and returning there soon. I’ve had 2 Covid vaccinations but because I have no proof of them will have to quarantine for 14 days in Germany. In England they at least got a slip of paper to say they’d had their jabs. We got nothing. I had my international certificate with me when I went for the jab – they wouldn’t fill it in. I’ve called my GP, they won’t give me a letter – stuck in Limbo!
19 May 2021 @ 13:25
If you are in Scotland you can now access your Vaccine Record at https://vacs.nhs.scot/. You can download a PDF version.
Angela Jane Lord
18 May 2021 @ 19:09
Will your covid test results show on the covid passport app as well. Many countries require proof of negative tests including returning to UK . Little information as to where these tests will be available – if travelling through Europe it may be more than 72 hours since you took a test before you arrive at your destination if driving.
18 May 2021 @ 18:10
Why is the qr code only valid until 20 June
18 May 2021 @ 21:16
Why is the app only valid until 20th June. 119 don’t know
18 May 2021 @ 15:07
I have an adult disabled son who lives with me. He doesn’t have a mobile phone. How can he get a Covid travel passport even though he’s had both jabs now? The NHS app is designed to only let one user on that mobile phone use it.
Angela Jane Lord
18 May 2021 @ 15:39
I have been trying to get the same information Jennifer – it sppears no one knows the answer. Also can find no information on how to get tested prior to departure if you are not with a tour company or how to get a covid test to allow entry back into the UK. Its all a bit of a mess.
19 May 2021 @ 10:36
You can access the NHS from a web browser on your computer. You need to set him up as a user first. https://youtu.be/6FFjGUW6s7E
11 May 2021 @ 17:51
Is the NHS app the ONLY valid one for proof of COVID vaccination? We already have an app called Evergreen from our GP practice. It does all the functions of the NHS app including appointments, prescriptions, medical records etc. I note that it has recorded my 2 COVID jabs with dates. I believe Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP on TV almost daily, is connected with another similar app. Don’t want to download yet another app if my current Evergreen app serves the purpose.
11 May 2021 @ 11:56
Is this app to be used in NHS Scotland or only England? If only England when will we have one in Scotland?
cornelia consuela sava
10 May 2021 @ 14:02
How is called the app for vaccination? And how I can find it? How I can know it is the correct one? I need it because I have both vaccine done
10 May 2021 @ 16:31
Hi Cornelia, there’s a guide here: https://www.digitalhealthcoachuk.net/howtoregisteronthenhsapp
17 May 2021 @ 15:35
Apparently no use for us Scots…frustratingly there is as yet no fixed plan for us being able to provide proof of vaccine before travelling abroad to visit family. I’ve yet to get an answer from Scot gov re this
9 May 2021 @ 01:06
the bottom line ? progress, thanks to all those BUILDing the tech, with regard to digital/technical, in 2021, (y)our NHS is way behind where it should be …
10 May 2021 @ 16:21
Cornelia, it is called the NHS Covid 19 app. You can download it from any app store for free. When you had your second vaccination you would have got a small sticker (big deal) saying that you had been given both vaccines.
19 May 2021 @ 05:03
It’s not the track n trace app, it’s the nhs app and I don’t know anyone who got a sticker !?
8 May 2021 @ 12:50
Does vaccination status apply only to NHS app.
Will this information be valid on Patient Access to relevant authorities.
10 May 2021 @ 16:33
There’s a vaccine passport enabled on Patient Access. Whether that’s what the final vaccine passport will look like, hard to tell at the moment.
18 May 2021 @ 20:29
Why it’s valid only until 20th of June????????? Does somebody know please???????
22 May 2021 @ 20:37
Yes – I had the same problem after three times of unsuccessful trials. Finaly I realised the reason – my passport details didn’t match to my surgery registration details after I renewed the document last year.So I had to go and change the details in surgery as the NHS uses their data. That change made the things easy and I got the NHS app imediately working. The vaccine sertificat also appeaed there. Iven I haven’t been asked for some kind of identity proof like picture, record, or some kind of ID anymore.
17 May 2021 @ 08:58
I’ve found confirmation of my vaccine status but is there meant to be a barcode?
Angela Jane Lord
18 May 2021 @ 19:03
The qr code appears once you have agreed to share the information and needs to be activated prior to travel abroad.
20 May 2021 @ 12:10
I know the answer today. Here it is.:
“There was a Query about the App button, I wrote to ask, and IMMEDIATELY got the following back. They hadn’t had time to read what I said.
“My detailed COVID-19 vaccination information on the NHS App/NHS website is showing an expiry date.
No. The expiry date relates only to the QR code, which may need to be updated as international standards are agreed. The QR codes will automatically update when they expire, and anyone using the PDF option via the NHS website will be able to retrieve the new QR Code for use after the expiry date.
The UK Government is contributing to the emerging international standards and the expiry date is only for the QR code, which will be refreshed automatically in the NHS App and on the NHS website when these standards are agreed.”
So that is explained. They could have explained it on the App itself, I feel. If they had an automated reply, it is because they are getting loads of queries!”
I hope that will help!
8 May 2021 @ 11:09
When is is available to download
10 May 2021 @ 16:34
The NHS App can be downloaded anytime, but the passport won’t be on it until after May 17th. https://www.digitalhealthcoachuk.net/howtoregisteronthenhsapp
19 May 2021 @ 04:59
Unless you are in Scotland, the great dictatorship !
7 May 2021 @ 12:30
I’ll just take my yellow star ⭐ now,
Wake up uk for gods sake
4 May 2021 @ 23:50
I would like to know the date when the passport will begin
ex NHS Techie
2 May 2021 @ 20:51
MIND THE GAP!
“Since September 2019, the number of registered NHS App users has risen from 91,000 to over 220,000, according to NHS Digital.”
“More than 34 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine”, according to NHS England.
So that’s 33.78m vaccinated people who can’t prove they’ve been vaccinated.
Does no one in authority do even the most basic calculations?
Maybe we should be using Zoe?
3 May 2021 @ 07:08
and what about NHS Scotland NHS England ? Do my friends and family in Scotland have access to the same tech as my friends and family in England ? Please be honest, open and transparent NATIONAL Health Leaders – YOU WORK FOR THE HEALTH SERVICE NOT THE SECRET SERVICE !
Mohamed ziad abdelhamid
1 May 2021 @ 06:46
Hello, can I get a passport, the vaccine? I am taking two vaccines and want to travel to Belgium for the necessity of cruelty. Thank you very much.
Sean David Key
30 April 2021 @ 15:12
Has anyone seen a credible timeline for this? Tens of millions of people will need to be engaged to download the App, and learn how to use it, possibly for the first time, at check-in. One phone ealch.
Any doubts in their minds about this and they may no doubt approach their GP for a letter.
Angela Jane Lord
10 May 2021 @ 20:15
GP’s will not issue letters. Paper passports will have to be requested by no idea where you get one.
21 May 2021 @ 18:44
How are people in Northern Ireland catered for to prove they have had vaccines..nhs apps make no mention of N.I. also I read a paper copy could be obtained by phoning 119 but some comments seem to disagree with this..need more clarity..p.s.is there a freedom pass for my mum in a care home as of 21st May still haven’t been able to ‘break her out’ even for an hour..
29 April 2021 @ 22:07
How do pensioners who can’t afford an iPhone travel without the means to confirm they have been vaccinated.?
10 May 2021 @ 16:25
The letter option is the only one I have. I do not have a mobile phone and never will.
29 April 2021 @ 16:39
What about people who don’t have a smart phone able to take a download of the NHS app? (as well as everyone in Scotland or other devolved nations not using the NHS app)
“A government spokesperson said: “The government is working on providing individuals with the means to demonstrate their Covid status easily – through a digital route as well as a route for people who don’t have access to a smart phone.”
“The Covid-19 passport on the NHS App will only be required when travelling overseas.”
It sounds as though we might be unable to travel overseas… unless the “route for people who don’t have access to a smart phone” – whatever that might be – as well as the “Covid-19 passport on the NHS app” is recognised by the countries to which we want to travel & the airlines or other carriers also recognise it.
Looking forward to hearing the solution…
29 April 2021 @ 15:25
Not all GP practices yet support the NHS app, so either they will need a technical update very soon or an alternative will have to be allowed
10 May 2021 @ 12:02
You and me both. I have never had a mobile phone. I have already brought this question up with the NHS helpline. The person I spoke to said “could I not borrow a phone from a friend”
10 May 2021 @ 16:38
After May 17th you can phone a helpline and ask for a paper certificate to be posted to you.
Call 119 after 17th May
29 April 2021 @ 09:46
Scottish people WHO ARE STILL BRITISH do not have this app.
29 April 2021 @ 20:48
Correct, House of Lords… Please answer this question… Is (y) our NHS a UK NHS or is it NHS E, NHS S, NHS W and NHS NI? You know what I am asking so be HoNeSt NHS leaders and ‘treat’ UK all fairly or get off the platform!
30 April 2021 @ 01:17
So we are being forced to use the app now or not be allowed to travel? I thought the app was optional. More government control.
30 April 2021 @ 18:35
Different apps 🙂
30 April 2021 @ 11:38
I agree entirely Nippy Sturgeon does not speak for the majority of Scots who are proudly British. She and her party should have no say on what should be a joined up British approach to a Covid passport system. After all we do travel on British passports….not Scottish, English, Welsh or Northern Irish ones!!
30 April 2021 @ 18:37
Well, its a case of cake and eat it isn’t it. You can;’ have devolved authority one day and develop your own COVID app at duplictaion of effort of Eng and Wales and then call foul when England use an existing NHS app.
18 May 2021 @ 18:56
Agreed Andrew. But what more can we expect – we’re like second class citizens and if we wait for Sturgeon to give us access to a similar app we’ll be going nowhere any time soon.