Types of COVID certificates
COVID certificates are available from the Department of Health for international and domestic use. These include proof of vaccination certificates, COVID recovery certificates, where eligible, if you have tested positive for COVID-19 and an exemption certificate if you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
If you have received one or both doses of your COVID-19 vaccinations in Northern Ireland, you can apply for a proof of vaccination certificate for international travel and domestic use.
The NI COVID travel certificate is valid for six months from the date of application. Digital certificates will automatically renew a week before they are due to expire.
The QR code and downloadable certificate will permit international travel (where certification is required).
First, you will need to prove identity by creating an nidirect account.
Then, you can apply for your certificate on the COVIDCert NI app.
To view or see the progress of your COVID cert application log in at this link:
In Northern Ireland, you need to prove COVID-19 status to access certain hospitality venues, businesses and events.
Information on where you need to show proof of your COVID-19 status and the types of proof accepted is available at:
To get a domestic certificate you first must have a travel certificate.
Once you have the travel certificate, you should see an option to apply for a domestic certificate in the COVIDCert NI app.
If not, you may have to update the COVIDCERT NI app to the latest version (see below).
Once you use the ‘+ Activate Domestic Certificate’ button, it will prompt you to take a selfie and issue you a domestic certificate which should also show on the home screen.
You will only have one opportunity to take the selfie, so make sure you are happy with it before you upload it.
How to update the COVIDCert NI app
Follow these steps to make sure you have the most up-to-date version of the app.
- go to your iPhone's home screen and tap on the App Store icon
- after the App Store opens, tap the profile icon in the top right corner of the screen
- scroll to the CovidCert NI app and select ‘update’
- enter your password and wait for your app to update
- go into the CovidCert NI app and click the ‘+ Activate Domestic Certificate’ button
- open the Google Play Store app
- at the top right, tap the profile icon
- tap Manage apps and device - scroll to the CovidCert NI app and select ‘update’
- go into the CovidCert NI app and tap the ‘+ Activate Domestic Certificate’ button
If you are still unable to see the certificate in your app, contact the support teams at:
If you cannot apply for your vaccination certificates online, you can request a paper version using the telephone service 0300 200 7814, available Monday to Sunday from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm.
This is an application support line. Call handlers will not be able to provide advice on entry requirements to specific destinations or check the detail of your vaccination records.
This process will take longer than the digital process and you will have to verify your identity in person by presenting documents at an appointed time and location.
Once identity checks have been completed it may take up to 10 working days for the printed certificate to arrive.
If you have received a positive COVID PCR test, you may be eligible for a COVID recovery certificate.
Recovery certificates are available after you have finished self-isolating and for up to 180 days after taking the test, including a test taken for international travel purposes.
The certificate will only be valid for up to 180 days after the date of the positive PCR test.
If the PCR test is provided by a private company, there is no guarantee that the company will share details of your test result with the government testing repository. Without this, it will not be possible to issue you a recovery certificate.
For entry to UK premises where evidence of COVID-19 is required you cannot use the certificate until 30 days after you tested positive.
For international travel, you should check the entry requirements for your destination, before travelling, asthe number of days from which a recovery certificate is accepted, after you have tested positive, may vary.
You should also check any restrictions in place on returning to the UK from travel abroad.
If you cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19 for medical reasons, you can apply for a certificate that provides proof of medical exemption from the need for vaccination.
If you get proof of medical exemption, you will be able to access a domestic-use COVID certificate. This will be the same as the domestic certificate used by people who are fully vaccinated for domestic use and will not show why you have a medical exemption.
To apply for this exemption, a helpline is available to access a printed certificate. Once received, you will receive instructions to download a digital certificate.
This certificate is not accepted by other countries for the purposes of travel.
The reasons for exemptions are limited. Examples of when someone may be exempt are:
- receiving end of life care (palliative care) where vaccination is not in your best interests
- having a learning disability or autistic people who cannot be vaccinated with reasonable adjustments
- people with a medical contraindication to all current vaccines, such as a severe allergy
- those who had serious adverse reactions to their first dose
Time-limited exemptions will also be available for those with some short-term medical conditions.
How to apply and receive your COVID cert medical exemption
To apply for a COVID medical exemption:
- phone the COVID certification service helpline on 0300 200 7814, (available Monday to Sunday from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm)
- choose option five and say that you wish to apply for a COVID certificate medical exemption.
The call handler will ask some questions. A carer can apply on your behalf.
If you are eligible to apply for medical exemption you will get an application form by post.
You will need to give:
- your name
- your date of birth
- your address
- your Health and Social Care number (if you know it)
- the name of your specialist clinician and/ or GP
Your application will be reviewed by the nominated clinician who will be asked to confirm the reason for exemption.
Return your application form to the relevant specialist clinician or GP stated on the form.
Your clinician may ask to speak with you if needed, but you won’t need to book this when you submit your application.
You will get the results of your application by post two to three weeks after applying.
You don’t need to contact the specialist doctor or your GP unless they ask you to.
Everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated. If you are unable to receive a vaccination for any other reason that does not fall under the requirements for an exemption you can avail of a recovery certificate or use a lateral flow test result as proof of immunity.
Single dose letter and booster document
Single dose letters are available for the following purposes:
- you have received a booster vaccination
- you have received a single COVID vaccination in Northern Ireland (to provide as part of a certificate application in a different country)
You need to follow the steps for requesting a travel certificate at the link below and go to the option to 'apply for a single dose letter'.
Vaccine trial letter
If you are taking part in an officially recognised vaccine trial, you can apply for a covid letter which is suitable for domestic use.
This will not be valid for international travel.
However, you still need to follow the first steps for requesting a travel certificate at the link below and choose the option to say you are a trial participant.
EU COVID certificate
Northern Ireland residents who have a valid Irish passport and have received their vaccinations in NI can apply for an EU COVID certificate using the instructions in the link below.
Applicants will need the NI COVID certificate to be able to upload the QR code requested as part of this application process.