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
Prove vaccine or record of test status

How to prove your vaccine or record of test status

If you are going to any of the settings in scope you will need to be able to demonstrate (unless exempt) you are fully vaccinated or have had a recent negative test. Check the entry requirements for any venues and events you are attending in advance.

You may be asked to present evidence that you meet the criteria for entry. 

This is confirmation that you are:

  • fully vaccinated (to be considered fully vaccinated, a person must have had a booster, if 120 days have passed since their primary course of a MHRA vaccine) or
  • have a record of receiving a negative test less than 24 hours previously or
  • are exempt from the requirements of the scheme

Venues, businesses and events in the settings set out on page one are required to ensure there is a system in operation for checking certification and restricting entry to customers who do not meet the above criteria. 

It is up to businesses and venues to decide how to operate their system, but it may include asking for Covid certificates or record of a negative test to be presented earlier in an evening, for example where a late night premises is open before midnight but continues to be open beyond midnight.

How to get a vaccine status certificate

If you live in Scotland

If you are a resident or were vaccinated in Scotland:

  • use the NHS Scotland COVID Status App which is free to download. This will allow access to a digital copy of your vaccine record on your mobile device. This will always be up to date with the latest information, and is the best option for data security. You need a passport or driver’s licence to complete the app’s identity check
  • alternatively, request a paper copy of your vaccine certificate from NHS Inform. Use this if you don’t have a passport or driver’s licence. If you already have one from before 13 December 2021, you will have to request a new one – this is especially important if you are planning to travel to Europe or need to show evidence of a booster dose
  • it’s important to obtain a downloaded or paper copy every 3 months to ensure the QR code is up to date
  • use a downloadable PDF (updated since 13 December) on your phone or print a copy, also accessible via the portal on NHS Inform

The QR codes on both the paper and PDF copies only last for three months, so please ensure you request a new certificate before your current one expires. There is no need to update the QR codes on the app as they update automatically every time you open the app. All three options are equivalent to an EU Digital Covid Certificate, so your NHS Scotland Covid Status can be used throughout the rest of the UK and the EU. When travelling abroad, you will need to use the “international” section of the app.

If you live elsewhere in the UK

People who live or were vaccinated elsewhere in the UK can provide confirmation that you are fully vaccinated in one of the following ways:

  • use the NHS App (if from England or Wales)
  • use Covid NI (if from Northern Ireland)
  • use the paper letter of certification, issued by England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey or Guernsey

All of these options have 2D Barcodes (also known as QR codes) which can be scanned to verify that the certificate is a genuine certificate (see the “People visiting Scotland” section below). In addition, the apps all have security features in them that respond to the movement of your phone, allowing staff responsible for checking certificates to confirm that the QR code is a ‘live’ code and not a screenshot from someone else. 

All of these options have 2D Barcodes (commonly referred to as QR codes) which can be scanned to verify that the certificate is a genuine certificate (see section below). In addition, the apps all have security features in them that respond to movement of the phone, allowing staff responsible for checking certificates to confirm that the QR code is a ‘live’ code and not a screenshot from someone else. 

The paper letters from the NHS contain special thermochromatic ink that shows as a holographic image on a genuine certificate, and changes to the word ‘copy’ on a photocopied certificate. Certificates with the word ‘copy’ on them will not be accepted.

Text or email confirmation of a negative test from these countries is also accepted for the purposes of attending venues in Scotland.

Request an update to your vaccination record and/or if you were vaccinated abroad

If you received COVID-19 vaccinations outwith Scotland you can now upload your official proof of vaccination from that country to your Scottish vaccination record. 

This will mean you will have a combined fully vaccinated status to show for travel or domestic purposes.

Please visit NHS Inform to request an update to your record: Request an update to your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination record

This will also update your record for the purposes of using the app.

If your vaccine certificate is incorrect

If any data on your Vaccination Status Record is incorrect, you should phone the COVID-19 Status Helpline on 0808 196 8565. The helpline can only resolve issues in relation to vaccinations administered in Scotland.

You do not need middle name(s) for status reports or international travel. If your address on your status is out of date you can still use it for international travel, providing your name and date of birth are correct.

Failure to provide confirmation

If you are unable to provide sufficient confirmation under the terms of the scheme you will be refused entry. You should check NHS Inform or call the NHS Scotland Covid Helpline on 0808 196 8565 for guidance on how to receive the necessary confirmation of status. The COVID-19 Status Helpline is free and open every day from 10:00-18:00. 

People visiting Scotland

We will accept proof of vaccination from across the UK and Crown Dependencies as well as from members of the EU Digital Covid Certificate Scheme. The EU scheme currently includes all EU Member States plus an additional 24 countries and territories – with more expected to join.

If you are travelling to Scotland from outwith the UK and the EU and are seeking to access venues covered by the Covid certification scheme, you will need to be fully vaccinated with a UK MHRA approved vaccine including a booster if more than 120 days have elapsed. If you have received a different vaccine you will be required to show a record of a negative test for the purposes of gaining access to such venues included in the scheme.

The letter and app on your mobile device will contain a QR code which you will be able to present to the venue staff who will carry out a visual check or scan the code with a verifier app to confirm the record is authentic. For a negative test you must log the result of this test and present the text or email confirmation you receive to the venue staff.

The verifier app does not retain people’s personal data. It only displays a person’s name, date of birth and vaccine status. The app does not store or transmit any personal data during the process.

How to get a test

You can either order or collect a LFD test kit (containing 7 tests).

You can order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests on gov.uk for home delivery.

Your order will be delivered to your home in one to two days. If you cannot place an order online, you can order by calling 119.

You can collect tests from your nearest participating pharmacy or from your nearest COVID-19 test site. You do not need to book an appointment but should check opening hours to ensure successful collection.

We have published further information on testing in Scotland.

The result of a lateral flow test taken at home will need to be reported into the public reporting system. Once the result has been reported, users will receive a text message and/or email address to the details supplied which can be used as a record of their test result at a venue where certification is required. Users should not take either their used test stick or a photo of their test stick as record of a negative test, this will not be accepted at premises. The text message or email can be shown electronically or via a printed paper copy.


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