NHS Covid certificates to be fully compatible with French health pass

The change only relates to vaccine certificates issued in England and Wales with QR codes and will be in place ‘by the end of this week’.

5 August 2021
By Thomas Brent

Article updated on August 9 to include information about a TousAntiCovid Verif app update that may be needed to scan NHS Covid certificates. 

Covid-19 vaccination certificates issued in England and Wales that contain QR codes will be made operable with France’s health pass scanning technology by the end of this week, French tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has announced. 

“We have interconnected our IT systems between the NHS and TousAntiCovid,” Mr Lemoyne said in an interview on France Inter this morning (August 5).

It means staff at venues in France subject to health pass rules should be able to scan the QR codes on vaccination certificates issued in England and Wales. 

Mr Lemoyne said it would “allow notably French nationals vaccinated in the UK to receive their health pass”. 

It will also apply to everyone else vaccinated in England and Wales, as the change will make the QR codes on the certificates readable by French health pass scanning technology, called TousAntiCovid Verif. 

Please note that if your NHS certificate does not scan properly, you should ask the venue staff to force an update of their TousAntiCovid Verif app. 

It is not clear yet if venue staff in France will be able to scan English and Welsh Covid vaccination certificates on the paper, or if those vaccinated in England and Wales will have to upload their certificates to France’s Covid app TousAntiCovid for them to become compatible with the country’s health pass scheme. 

Scotland and Northern Ireland are not yet issuing vaccination certificates featuring QR codes so are not included.

However, Mr Lemoyne stated that from Monday (August 9), all tourists in France will be able to get vaccination QR codes (dependent on approved vaccine type) that are compatible with the health pass in the same way as French citizens living outside of France already can.

Read more: France to give vaccinated tourists QR code for health pass from Monday

France is set to make its health pass a requirement to enter restaurants, cafes, bars, hospitals (excluding urgent care), care homes and long-distance transport services, such as TGV trains, on August 9.

The exact specifications of this rule depends on a judgement from France’s Conseil constitutionnel, to be announced this afternoon (August 5). 

The health pass, which is proof of vaccination, proof of a negative Covid test taken within the past 48 hours, or proof of having been positive with Covid 11 days to six months before, is already required to enter museums, theatres, cinemas, public swimming pools and some other venues that can host over 50 people. 

It has been possible since July for people with Covid vaccination certificates issued in England and Wales to scan them into France’s Covid app TousAntiCovid, but they were not readable by TousAntiCovid Verif.

Covid vaccination certificates issued in the UK can be used as proof of vaccination to enter France. Passengers can present them on paper or through the TousAntiCovid app, which will be looked at by travel authorities rather than scanned. 

The issue is that, once in France, the certificates could not until now be scanned by staff at venues using France’s verification tool TousAntiCovid Verif.

It meant that if staff at places subject to health pass rules - museums, cinemas, theatres, etc. - tried to scan the QR code, it would not work. 

Staff at these venues may have chosen to read the information on the certificate instead of scanning the QR code, but this is at the discretion of the staff and the venue’s management. 

Several major museums in France have told The Connexion they accept paper-based foreign vaccination certificates.

Related stories:

UK quarantine is ending for vaccinated visitors from France

France-England quarantine easing: What about Scotland, Wales, Ireland?

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