The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has warned travellers to redownload the PDF version of their NHS Covid Pass before travelling, as documents dated before 1 November will not be recognised by the EU or the 17 non-EU nations and territories enrolled in the EU Digital Covid Certificate (EUDCC).
Holidaymakers who downloaded or printed out a PDF of their Covid Pass before Monday could face being denied boarding on flights or find they are unable to enter public spaces while on holiday, despite the pass being valid for up to 30 days.
It is believed that the problem lies with the QR codes on the PDF version of NHS Covid Passes issued before the UK joined the system, which cannot be read by the EU-led standard.
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Following the UK’s enrolment in the EUDCC scheme on 1 November, the NHS Covid Pass has been recognised by the EU plus 17 other nations and territories signed up to what has quickly become the world’s leading vaccination standard.
Enrolment of the NHS Covid Pass into the EUDCC scheme – which faced months of delays after the UK government failed to provide the EU with the correct data – means that vaccinated travellers can use the NHS Covid Pass as proof of vaccination status at border crossings in the EU and select non-EU destinations around the world.
The pass will also enable access to restaurants or bars in nations – including the Netherlands, Austria and Italy – where proof of vaccination is required to access certain public spaces.
The FCDO has updated the foreign travel advice on its website for all EU nations plus all non-EU nations signed up to the EU’s vaccine passport scheme.
The full list of 17 non-EU countries and territories enrolled in EUDCC and therefore effected by the error is; Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Morocco, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, San Marino, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and Vatican City.
The copy-and-paste advice from the FCDO for all affected destinations states: “If you are travelling with a printed PDF proof of vaccination status, it must date from 1 November to ensure that the certificate can be scanned successfully.”
It is not clear if the QR code problem also applies to the paper version of the Covid Pass which can be ordered by calling 119. The FCDO has issued no advice to this effect.