Understanding Covid-19 Recovery Certificates


Written by Adonis Hakk

May 30, 2022

Planning to travel abroad? Now might be the right time to do so as many countries have dropped various COVID-19 restrictions and testing protocols. Many destinations also allow travellers from the UK to enter the country by presenting an official COVID-19 Recovery Certificate.

What is a COVID-19 Recovery Certificate?

A COVID-19 Recovery Certificate refers to a document issued by a medical professional to verify that an individual has recovered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days. In the UK, Britons can use their NHS COVID Pass to show details of their coronavirus status when travelling abroad or into territories. It means that they can also use it to show proof that they have recovered from prior COVID-19 infection in the last 180 days.

However, the NHS COVID Pass used to show recent recovery from COVID-19 is only accepted by several countries. It will still depend on the COVID requirements individuals are travelling to and that is why it is crucial to check the specific entry requirements of a certain country they want to visit.

Travellers can get their NHS COVID Pass online using the NHS App. They can simply download the pass, print it, and have it sent in an email to show it on a smartphone at border controls. The NHS COVID pass is also available in other formats such as audio, big print, and Braille.


How to use the COVID-19 Recovery Certificate?

People who had a COVID-19 test in the last 6 months or 180 days and have fully recovered could be eligible for a COVID-19 Recovery Certificate. It is essential to note that people cannot get a Recovery certificate for international travel if the test they took is a rapid antigen test. Only PCR test from reputable suppliers that provide results to the national testing is accepted.

Accordingly, the chosen testing provider has the responsibility to report the COVID-19 test results to NHS Digital and not the Department of Health.  

Other types of COVID Certificates

Vaccination Certificates – Anyone who had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccinations can apply for a vaccination certificate for international travel use. The certificate will include details of the doses an individual has received including booster jabs.

There is no international COVID-19 vaccine certificate but some countries accept the NHS COVID Pass or the NHS COVID Pass Letter. Some countries require both to be translated so it is essential to check the requirements of the destination before travelling.

Paper Certificates – For people who cannot apply for vaccination certificates online, they can request a paper version using the telephone service 0300 200 7814. The hotline is available every Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The call handlers might not be aware of the entry requirements to specific destinations.

The process of obtaining this certificate might take longer than its digital counterpart as individuals will have to authenticate their identity in person by presenting documents at an appointed time and place. After verification of identity, it can take another 10 days for the printed version of the COVID certificate to arrive.

Exemption Certificate –This certificate serves to provide proof of medical exemption from the need for vaccination. Some countries do not accept this for travel purposes.

Looking for a private testing provider?

Harley Medic Global is a government-approved testing provider and an expert in COVID-19 testing. They have many locations across the UK, ensuring that a testing centre is near you. Getting a test is as easy as booking online and finding their closest clinic. Visit their website harleymedic.co.uk to learn more.

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