Interim plans in place for NI holidaymakers needing vaccine proof

Flight at Manchester Airport
Interim arrangements are in place for those travelling abroad from NI before the full Covid-19 vaccine passport scheme launches. Credit: PA

Interim arrangements have been put in place to allow people from Northern Ireland who need proof of full vaccination for travel purposes to get it ahead of the certification scheme later this month.

Anyone undertaking foreign travel up to and including 19 July will be able to get written confirmation of having had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

According to the Department of Health, the full certification scheme – essentially providing “vaccine passports” – will go live later this month and will provide certification to an agreed UK-wide format.

In the meantime, the interim process of getting documentation may take up to five days, although administrators will seek to prioritise according to date of travel.

The department is urging people not to apply for the interim scheme if they do not need it – if their holiday is for a later date beyond 19 July, or if they are travelling to countries that do not require proof of vaccination – as it could slow up the process for those who actually do need it.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: “I would like to thank all those who have worked so hard in developing this interim scheme at speed.

“It was required after unilateral action by some countries on entry requirements. I now look forward to the full vaccine certification system going live later this month.”

The full, internationally recognised vaccine certification system is currently being finalised and being subjected to cyber security checks.

However, the department is also warning that fraudulent messages are circulating purporting to offer vaccine certification for a fee – the official schemes, both interim and full, are free.

  • How do I get the interim documentation?

Apply online and, if eligible, you will get an appointment to collect your documentation after verifying your ID and providing proof of holiday dates.

The three verification/collection points are:

  • Foyle Arena 2, Limavady Rd, Londonderry, BT47 6JY

  • South Lake Leisure Centre, 1 Lake Rd, Craigavon, BT64 1AS

  • SSE Arena, 2 Queens Quay, Belfast, BT3 9QQ

  • What will the official vaccine certification scheme involve?

The official vaccine certificates will in the first instance be in specialised hard copy format, featuring security and counterfeit protection features, and will be produced through a specialised printing process. A digital alternative will be available by early/mid-August.

The interim and full vaccine certification schemes are free to all Northern Ireland residents.

More information