Publication - Advice and guidance

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

How the vaccine certification (or COVID passport) scheme will work, who is exempt, and what you need to do if you are going to a venue or event.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine certification scheme - information for customers
How to prove vaccine status

How to prove your vaccine status

If you are going to any of the settings in scope you will need to be able to demonstrate you are fully vaccinated or exempt. Check the entry requirements for venues and events in advance.

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

This is confirmation that you are:

  • fully vaccinated
  • you are medically exempt
  • on - or have participated in - a clinical trial
  • under 18 - if you are under 18 you are not required to provide a vaccination certificate or proof of exemption, but you may be asked to provide proof of your age if the venue requests this

Venues, businesses and events in the settings set out above are required to ensure there is in operation a system for checking and restricting entry to customers who are fully vaccinated or are otherwise exempt are on the premises.  This includes asking for vaccine certificates 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.

Get a vaccine status certificate

If you live in Scotland

If you are resident 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. You need a passport or driver’s licence to complete the identity check.
  • request a paper copy of your vaccine certificate from NHS InformUse this is you don’t have a passport or driver’s licence.
  • use a downloadable PDF on your phone or a printed copy (as an interim measure only)

If you live elsewhere in the UK

People who live 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 (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. 

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

If you received one of your first coronavirus (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 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 16 countries and territories – with more expected to join.

Outwith the UK and the EU, to begin with domestic certification rules for international visitors will align with the current border rules – so visitors from other nations, such as USA, will need to provide the same proof of vaccination status that is accepted for entry into the UK.

The letter and app on your mobile device will contain a QR code which you will be able to present to the venue who will carry out a visual check or scan the code with a verifier app to confirm the record is authentic.

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.


First published: 30 Sep 2021 Last updated: 19 Oct 2021 -