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In simple terms, Covid-19 status certification is a means through which an individual can demonstrate that they are lower risk of transmitting the Covid-19 virus to others. This can be demonstrated by showing any of the following:

  • A person has acquired immunity through a full course of a Covid-19 vaccine
  • A person has acquired immunity through natural infection
  • A person has recently produced a negative test result

In England, the NHS Covid Pass is being used to demonstrate Covid-19 status, and can be accessed via the NHS Covid Pass app, the online NHS Covid Pass service or a letter.

There are three scenarios in which people might be asked to demonstrate their Covid-19 status: entry to domestic businesses and venues, international travel purposes or as a condition of employment in the health and social care sector.

At the time of writing, the UK Government has not imposed a legal requirement for people to demonstrate their Covid-19 status as a condition of entry to businesses and venues. The Government has, however, encouraged businesses and venues to make voluntary use of the NHS Covid Pass as a means of certifying individuals based on their vaccination, testing or natural infection status.

In its Autumn and Winter Plan, the Government set out proposals under Plan B which would be implemented if unsustainable pressures on the NHS indicate that further measures are needed. In this scenario, the Government has said that it will introduce vaccine-only certification as a condition of entry to nightclubs and some other high-capacity venues.

Providing evidence of Covid-19 status is now a condition of entry for travellers in most countries.

As of 11 November 2021, staff working in care homes are legally required to provide evidence that they have been fully vaccinated, unless they are exempt from vaccination on medical grounds. On 9 November 2021, the Government announced that the same requirement would apply to staff in patient-facing NHS roles from April 2021.

A Commons Library briefing, Covid-19 status certification, provides detailed discussion on Government policy.

The information in this briefing pertains to England unless otherwise indicated. There are separate arrangements for Covid-19 status certification in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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