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Which countries will now accept the NHS covid vaccination app?

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As you may have read in the national press, the NHS covid vaccination certificate was, on Friday, given equal standing with the EU Covid-19 Vaccine Passport scheme. This makes your life far easier when trying to get into restaurants and other venues.

None of the coverage I saw went into exactly where you can now use your NHS app, so I thought I would look at this today.

The first thing to make clear is that you do not need to download any EU vaccination passport app.

Which countries will now accept the NHS covid vaccination app?

You may, like me, have downloaded the French TousAntiCovid app in recent weeks and gone through the fiddly process of uploading your NHS vaccination QR code. This is no longer necessary.

Any establishment which is scanning an EU-issued vaccination app can also now scan the QR code in the NHS app. This makes travel across the 27 European Union countries substantially easier.

It isn’t just the EU though …..

What is important to know is that other countries have made similar deals with the EU and, under a reciprocity arrangement, will also now scan and accept the NHS app.

The following Schengen Area associated countries have implemented the EU vaccination passport:

  • Iceland
  • Swizerland
  • Norway
  • Liechtenstein

In addition, the EU ‘microstates’ are also participating, which adds:

  • Andorra
  • San Marino
  • Vatican City
  • Monaco

The EU is also recognising vaccine certificates issued in the following countries – and vice versa – which also means that they will accept the UK NHS app in return:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Faroe Islands
  • Israel
  • Morocco
  • North Macedonia
  • Panama
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine

You can find out more on the European Commission website here.

Comments (156)

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  • NFH says:

    You can test the QR code readers used by venues in each country before you travel, so you don’t need to wait until you arrive in a country to find out whether venues will accept your QR code.

    As others reported above, the Swiss app gives an error with an NHS QR code, but the countries’ apps above are fine with my NHS app, NHS in Apple Wallet and NHS on my Apple Watch.

    • HH says:

      As of this evening, Switzerland’s app works with my NHS England Dose 2 QR, but only after I generated a new one in the NHS app / added it to Wallet / imported it into the Swiss app. All now give Verification Successful in their Covid Check app.

      • NFH says:

        Thanks. I confirm the same. This afternoon, the Swiss app was saying “The COVID certificate does not have a valid signature“, but after generating the QR code again in the NHS app, it’s now accepted. The old one that I saved this afternoon is still not accepted. This means the NHS changed something this afternoon.

        • HH says:

          Yep, exactly the same here. UK must have turned on something to do with generating EU-compliant codes tonight.

          • NFH says:

            Only Switzerland was a problem. The French and Italian apps were reading my NHS QR code earlier this afternoon without a problem. My guess is that Switzerland is more fussy about digital signatures than France or Italy. The Swiss were probably right; they usually are.

          • Roy says:

            My guess is that Switzerland is sticking to perhaps the letter of the law and only accepting UK QR codes generated on our after the date that we joined….?

  • Marcin says:

    How do you actually prove your status? Looking at the NHS England app, do you use the domestic certificate? Or the one intended for travel (where 2 barcodes are shown)

    • NFH says:

      You need to use the travel QR code in your NHS app that says “Dose 2 of 2” underneath it. The QR code for your first dose won’t be accepted.

      • Katie says:

        Is the PDF acceptable or only the 10 day wait letter one? (if no mobile phone or battery)

        • NFH says:

          I would say that the PDF will be more reliable that the letter, because the PDF is just the same QR codes in printable A4 format.

  • Definitas says:

    We are in the US, having come via Canada. NHS generated certificates have worked fine everywhere we went, especially in Canada where they are much stricter

  • Alan says:

    So the NHS app is England-only, any word on Wales/NI/Scotland and their certs being available in a form acceptable to the EU? (I believe NI can already use the Irish one if they wish)

    • YFP says:

      Scotland one is, I’ve just scanned a picture of my 2nd dose to the Swiss COVID app, which recognised the certificate (had to use another phone to take a picture). That way, if anything changes should still have an EU compliant one

      • YFP says:

        That’s interesting, maybe the Apple wallet version has to be refreshed every month, hence the validity of one month. Either way, as you now have it on the Swiss app, no more EU worries for you!

  • Danny says:

    Still no sign of being able to add overseas vaccines to the NHS app (via local GP)? Govt promised this would be ready in July…

    • Danny says:

      By overseas I mean a UK-approved vaccine (e.g. Moderna) administered to a UK citizen while they were outside the UK

    • NFH says:

      Yes, this is a big problem for those with one dose on the NHS and another dose abroad of the same vaccine. The NHS on 119 said in July that this would be possible, as long as one of the two doses was on the NHS, but the wait continues. Although GPs can add a record of a dose abroad to one’s NHS records, this doesn’t go through to NIMS (National Immunisation Management Service/System), which I understand is where the NHS app takes its data from.

      The European Commission states at https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/coronavirus/eu-digital-covid-certificate/EU citizens who were vaccinated in a non-EU country can request the EU digital COVID certificate from the member state of their nationality or residence“. So an EU citizen can request their country of citizenship to add an NHS dose to their vaccination record in their country of citizenship, which could produce a QR code confirming two doses, but this is easier said than done.

  • Sean says:

    Can confirm the QR code in my NHS App was successfully scanned in a Greek wine bar on Tuesday. I hadn’t seen the article so was pleasantly surprised they were able to scan it. All worked flawlessly considering I’m an awkward case (had Janssen vaccine as part of trial).

  • Jenni says:

    I am looking for some advice. My husband has medical exemption from the vaccine (he would like to get his 2nd does but isn’t allowed). I can see on a separate website that he can get the NHS COVID pass and it will look the same as someone who has been vaccinated. Does this then meant that it will be accepted in other countries and he will be allowed to travel???

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