For the last few months, discussion after discussion has been had as to whether the government were going to implement some kind of Covid certification as we come out of lockdown. Well, now that clubs opening is less of a pipe dream, and things are starting to happen, here’s what we know about Covid passports and other certifications, and how to set your Covid passport up.

What is an NHS Covid Pass? 

A Covid passport or an NHS Covid Pass is the government’s way of letting venues know that you’re unlikely to spread the vaccine whilst there. The logic is, is that if everyone in the venue has one, the venue and event is safe and unlikely to lead to a spike in cases.

There has been a lot of controversy about these, as people originally panicked that these passes would rely purely on vaccination, and with the structure of the vaccination uptakes, this would have left various age groups unable to enjoy themselves. It also was pointed out that a lot of people from minority groups were hesitant to take up the vaccine, and this type of passport would lead to a kind of discrimination. Plus, children and pregnant women are not able to take the vaccine yet, so it caused further issues there, too.

However, the NHS Covid Pass also takes a negative PCR or lateral flow test as evidence, so this bypasses such concerns.

Is it a legal requirement?

Simple answer: no.

However, from 19th July, nightclubs and gigs can reopen without capacity limits or social distancing rules. The government’s guidance on this says that people are encouraged to use the NHS Covid Pass.

This will show whether you’ve been double jabbed, had a recent negative test or had the virus in the last 6 months. Whilst the government aren’t doing anything to legally enforce the use of the pass, they’ve said they’d like organisers to ask for proof of vaccination. But they can’t force them, and likewise, clubbers and festival-goers don’t have to show their pass.

The government has said, however, that they reserve the right to make this pass a compulsory part of nights out at a later date.

How do you get the NHS Covid Pass?

nhs covid pass

You can get the pass if:

  • it has been two weeks since your second vaccine dose
  • you have had a negative PCR or lateral flow test in the past 48 hours and reported it to the NHS website
  • you have had a positive PCR test within the past 6 months and isolated

The second two points give you a pass that lasts a limited time. If you have only tested negative, your pass lasts 48 hours. If you have had the virus in the last 6 months, it will last 180 days.

To get a pass, you can request one on the NHS website or the NHS app (if you’re registered with a GP), where you will get a QR code generated that lasts for 28 days. This is a different app from the NHS Covid-19 app. Alternatively, you can call 119 to request an NHS Covid Pass letter, unlike the others this is timeless.

NHS covid pass
Source: ITV

Through the app: a step by step guide

  1. Log in to the NHS app. This will involve your email and a password. If you need to create an account, that will involve the same.
  2. Click on the ‘Get your NHS COVID Pass’ section on the app. This will be just under the details of your name, NHS number and birthdate on the Home page.
  3. To set this up, you will need your NHS number, date of birth, last name, email address, mobile phone number and first names.
  4. Follow the steps on the app until you reach the end, most of these are fairly self-explanatory.
  5. Download the PDF or get the code sent to your email.

Through the website: a step by step guide

  1. Visit this website and scroll to the ‘using the online NHS COVID Pass service’. Click through and log in.
  2. Input the 6 digit security code the website will send to your phone.
  3. Follow the instructions given by the website, and then share the proof as needed.

Why is the NHS Covid Pass necessary?

Despite a lot of controversy and arguments, the NHS Covid Pass will allow vaccinated adults to avoid quarantine when coming back into the country. From the 19th July 2021, adults coming home from Amber countries can use the pass to avoid having to self-isolate.

Additionally, from the 16th August in England and 7th August in Wales, fully vaccinated adults won’t need to isolate if a close contact tests positive for the virus. Scotland plans to implement a similar rule.

So I can go on holiday if I get it?

The government has said that over 30 countries – including popular holiday destinations like Greece and Spain – will accept the pass.

Other countries, like France, insist UK visitors are fully vaccinated before entry. It is best to check the rules in the country you’re travelling to before you book and continuously up until the day you travel – everything is subject to change.