From today, the UK’s NHS Covid Pass will be accepted by all EU countries as an equivalent to their own Digital Covid Certificate.
The move, confirmed by the European Commission yesterday, simplifies travel across various countries that demand proof of vaccination to enter indoor venues.
For example, until today, Britons travelling in the Netherlands had to be tested every 24 hours, albeit for free, in order to gain access to pubs, restaurants and museums.
The EU Commission tweeted: “Good news for travellers to the UK and Armenia! Today, we adopted two new decisions certifying that Covid-19 certificates issued by these two countries are equivalent to the EU Digital Covid Certificate. 45 countries in four continents are connected to the EU system.”
The UK and the EU have been working on syncing up their electronic vaccine passport systems for some months, with “gaps in the British government’s application to Brussels” blamed for the failure to approve the NHS Covid Pass in time for summer.
The UK government officially applied to join the EU’s system at the end of July, but the EU took more than two months to approve the NHS Pass, with sources saying additional technical information was needed from the UK.
Now, the electronic Covid Pass, which displays two QR codes as proof of your dates and type of vaccination, will ease access into the EU’s 27 member countries as well as local venues and attractions in some.
The Commission also approved Armenia’s vaccine passport in its announcement yesterday.
The UK’s vaccine passport is accessed via the official NHS app (non-smartphone users can call 119 or go to the NHS website to request a paper copy sent by post).
Proof of vaccination can be found on the app, from where travellers can download it, with an expiry date of 30 days for the QR code on each download.
Downloading it as a PDF format and even printing it out are recommended after a technical failure which rendered the NHS app out of action for three-and-a-half hours in mid-October.