Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Covid certification scheme - information for customers

Guidance on how the Covid certification (or Covid passport) scheme works, who is exempt, and what you need to do if you are going to a venue or event.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Covid certification scheme - information for customers
Exclusions and exemptions

Exclusions and exemptions

The below events are not included in the scheme:

  • communal religious worship
  • a funeral, marriage ceremony, civil partnership registration, or a reception or gathering which relates to a funeral, marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration
  • a mass participation event such as a marathon, triathlon or charity walk
  • an event designated by the Scottish Ministers as a flagship event according to criteria, and in a list, published by the Scottish Ministers
  • showing in a cinema
  • a drive-in event
  • an organised picket
  • a gathering of individuals engaged in a protest or demonstration
  • a public or street market
  • an illuminated trail
  • a work or business conference (not including any peripheral reception or function outside the core hours of the conference, whether or not alcohol is served)
  • a business or trade event which is not open to the public for leisure purposes
  • an unticketed event held at an outdoor public place with no fixed entry points
  • late night premises being used exclusively for receptions or gatherings related to a marriage ceremony, civil partnership registration or a funeral will also not be required to implement the scheme. This does not include other life events (for example, birthdays)

Certification will not be a requirement for public services or other settings that many people have no option but to attend such as retail, public transport, health services and education.

We recognise that some businesses, outside the regulated settings, are asking people for evidence they have been fully vaccinated as a condition of entry, or as a condition of employment.

The businesses not covered by the scheme and operating certification voluntarily should consider asking for a record of a negative test as an alternative to a record of vaccination.

Businesses should not be distributing test kits to prospective customers, unless they are doing so in partnership with the Scottish Government. The distribution of test kits is be carefully managed to meet regulatory requirements to be able to recall test kits from users in the event of a performance or safety issue with the tests.

Lateral flow tests are designed to be used at room temperature, on a flat, clean, dry surface with the ability of the user to wash their hands thoroughly before use to avoid contaminating the test. Individuals are therefore encouraged to test before they leave home to reduce the transmission risk.

People who are exempt

The following people are exempt:

  • under 18s
  • participants in vaccine trials (either current or past participants) who cannot test for medical reasons
  • people who for medical reasons are unable (i) to be fully vaccinated and (ii) to take a test (lateral flow or PCR)
  • the person responsible for the premises
  • people working, volunteering or performing in the venues
  • emergency services responders and regulators carrying out their work

Under 18s

  • all under 18s are exempt from the need for certification
  • for most children and young people it will not be necessary to provide proof of age to enter the venue
  • for the small number of teenagers who appear to be over 18 venues may ask for evidence of age
  • all young people in Scotland over the age of 11 are able to access a Young Scot National Entitlement card

Participants in vaccine trials

  • people who are part of - or have participated in - a clinical trial of a vaccine against coronavirus have the same vaccine status as someone who has been vaccinated through the NHS
  • these people will have a secure paper certificate with 4 nations branding in the top right corner that can be used to demonstrate they are exempt
  • vaccination only exemptions are not valid for domestic use, an exemption is only valid for both vaccination and testing
  • where someone is unable to provide evidence that they are on a vaccine trial, they should not be regarded as exempt from certification
  • for further information, see this page on NHS inform

Medical exemptions

There are a very small number of people in Scotland who, for medical reasons, are both unable to be vaccinated and unable to take a test and therefore qualify for an exemption. Those who do qualify for this exemption can obtain an exemption certificate to gain access to domestic settings that would otherwise require proof of vaccination or a record of a negative test. Further information on exemptions can be found on the NHS Inform website.

People working or performing at venues

  • certification does not apply to people working, volunteering or performing in the setting as this would equate to mandatory vaccination for employment purposes
  • as good practice, workers and performers are encourage to get regularly tested
  • where an employee remains in the setting after their shift has finished, they would be required to demonstrate they have been fully vaccinated or that they have received a negative test result in the last 24 hours

First published: 30 Sep 2021 Last updated: 14 Jan 2022 -