Everything you need to know about COVID Recovery Certificates for Travel

Lots of us have now had coronavirus and recovered. Many countries, such as the USA, accept proof of recovery from coronavirus instead of testing for entry. Learn everything you need to know about coronavirus recovery certificates and how to get yours today.

Mr Blair Walker BSc

April 18th, 2022

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Many countries now accept a coronavirus recovery certificate for entry rather than requiring proof of recent testing or a vaccination. Continue reading to find out all that you should know about this convenient way to travel.

It can be stressful travelling in the current COVID times, but luckily the process of getting a recovery certificate and who qualifies couldn’t be simpler.

As you’ll likely know, countries have many different rules for entry depending on where you are travelling. An optional document that has become increasingly popular is a certificate of recovery from coronavirus, which can lift some of these travel requirements.

What is a COVID recovery certificate?

Put simply, a COVID recovery certificate is a letter or certificate signed by a GMC-registered doctor confirming that someone has had COVID-19 and has recovered, so is likely to have developed natural immunity from re-infection.

Why do I need a COVID recovery certificate?

If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 you may still test positive despite recovering and not being infectious. This is particularly common with PCR tests which can remain positive for up to 90 days after someone has recovered from coronavirus. Fortunately, many countries understand this and now offer recovery certificates as an alternative for those with natural immunity who wish to travel.

A recovery certificate can also be useful for people who were unable to receive their vaccine but have previously contracted COVID. These individuals can now travel to far more countries with a recovery certificate as evidence of their natural immunity.

Female traveller at airport

Who can get a recovery certificate?

Anyone who has had a positive coronavirus test result issued by a verified laboratory or the NHS may be eligible to receive a recovery certificate. The test must have been performed between 7 days and 6 months ago and you must have had no symptoms of coronavirus – sore throat, fever (37.5C), runny nose, muscle aches, respiratory problems, headache, vomiting or diarrhoea – for at least 48 hours.

What type of test result is acceptable?

The type of test accepted can change depending on the country that you are travelling to. Some countries will only accept a result from a PCR test or will require that the test was carried out by a healthcare professional. Other countries will accept a rapid antigen lateral flow test result.

Either way, the test result you send us needs to have been issued by a verified laboratory or the NHS. If you have used an antigen test to confirm your positive test result this must be verified by a third-party lab and the result seen by a trained professional. Lateral flow test results that are self-reported to the NHS are not accepted as proof of previous infection.

Woman taking a coronavirus test

How long ago can I have taken my positive coronavirus test?

Countries have different rules for how old the positive test can be to permit entry. The majority require the test to have been taken between 7 - 180 days ago, but this can vary up to 270+ days for some countries. However, we strongly recommend that you confirm the specific rules for your destination country and make sure that you meet the requirements.

Can I send a photo of a positive lateral flow test cassette to receive a certificate?

No – neither we nor destination countries will accept only a photo of a lateral flow test cassette as proof of coronavirus infection. You must provide a result certificate or notification confirming your result and showing your name, date of birth and date you took the test.

When will you receive your recovery certificate?

Your certificate will be emailed to you as a PDF attachment within hours of submitting your application (during working hours 9-5pm, Monday-Friday), provided there are no issues with your details or evidence.

What countries accept unvaccinated travellers with COVID recovery certificates?

According to the entry requirements when this article was written, the following are just some of the countries that accept a recovery certificate for entry for unvaccinated travellers:

  • Croatia
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain

Government guidelines are subject to change, and we recommend that any potential customers check the most up to date entry requirements on their own before purchasing a recovery certificate.

Does the USA accept coronavirus recovery certificates?

Yes – the USA does accept coronavirus recovery certificates in place of testing to enter the country. You must still have proof of vaccination and the certificate of recovery must confirm a positive PCR or antigen test result taken between 10 and 90 days prior to departure. Using a recovery certificate can save on the stress of having to take a test 24 hours before departure to enter the US.

What if there is an unexpected issue?

There is no reason for any of our customers to worry about this happening. If our team have any problems with the evidence that you have submitted and you cannot be issued with a recovery certificate then you will receive a full refund.

If you are ever struggling with technical difficulties or any issues at all, we have a dedicated help centre to answer any queries.

How can I get a COVID recovery certificate?

If you have finished this article and decided a recovery certificate is exactly what you need, you can get one here.

We will start the process as soon as you fill out the form and submit your evidence.

Do you have any more questions?

If you have any further questions that this article does not answer, please check out our dedicated help centre where you can get more info and contact our team directly.

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