QR codes are a hot topic so we thought it would be useful to provide a summary of how they are being used respectively in the UK and Russia. This is very much for information and as it is such a dynamic topic please make sure you check the most up to date information before travelling or basing a visit on this information.

The United Kingdom

UK - Summary

A unified system is used across all of the UK. The NHS COVID-19 Pass is the main proof of an individual's COVID-19 status and includes a record of vaccinations, recovery and testing evidence. NHS Passes based on vaccination are valid for one year, recovery - 6 months, testing - 48 hours. All non-resident foreigners may obtain the NHS Pass via testing. To prove vaccination status via the app, one needs to be vaccinated in the UK. In most cases, alternative vaccine certificates are also accepted, such as the EU Certificate, as well as from the countries on this list.


Domestic use of the NHS COVID-19 Pass remains at the discretion of business owners and event organisers. A number of large venues, such as concert halls and exhibition centres currently use the QR code system for entry to their events. Most other cultural and entertainment venues, such as cinemas, museums, currently opt out of using the system. The government may introduce mandatory QR codes at certain venues if it moves to its "Plan B" winter response to COVID-19.

The use of QR codes (the NHS Pass) or an equivalent demonstration of COVID-19 status is required for international travel. Arrivals to England must demonstrate vaccination evidence in order to be exempt from 10-day self-isolation, while all unvaccinated passengers are required to isolate and take PCR tests on days 2 and 8.


A local version of the NHS Pass, the NHS Scotland COVID Status App is in use domestically. Individuals must demonstrate a fully vaccinated status via the app in order to access the following:

  • late night venues
  • live indoor events with over 500 unseated people in the audience
  • live outdoor events with over 4,000 people in the audience
  • all events with over 10,000 people in the audience
  • The same rules apply to international travel as in England.


From November 15, it is now compulsory to show the NHS Covid Pass to enter cinemas, theatres and concert halls in Wales. In the following venues fully vaccinated or negatively tested status is also required:

  • nightclubs and similar venues
  • unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people in the audience
  • any outdoor or indoor unseated venues with a capacity of over 4,000
  • any event, of any nature, which has more than 10,000 people in attendance
  • The same rules apply to international travel as in England.

Northern Ireland

The use of QR codes remains at the discretion of business owners and event organisers.

The same rules apply to international travel as in England.

The Russian Federation

Russia Update

On Friday, 12 November 21, two bills were submitted to the State Duma for consideration. The first covers the use of QR codes in cafes, restaurants and mass entertainment venues for negatively tested or vaccinated individuals. Regional authorities will decide the policy for the use of QR codes for entry to entertainment and eating establishments.

The second bill covers the use of QR codes for inter-city and international travel via air and train. It is expected to restrict such travel to individuals unable to demonstrate vaccinated or a negative Covid status through the Russian system of QR codes. QR codes for those who have been fully vaxed will be mandatory from 1 February 2022.


QR codes are already being used in certain circumstances:

  • Theatres and museums. The use of QR codes for theatres varies and it is recommended that the theatre’s website is consulted before your visit.
  • Concerts and any other entertainment events with more than 500 people.
  • Restaurants and cafés at the moment generally do not require QR codes for entry.

You can get obtain a QR code if you have:

  • been fully vaccinated by a Russian registered vaccine
  • if you have been ill with covid (within the last half-a-year) and it is marked in EMIAS (single medical info-analytical system)
  • if you have had a negative PCR test (valid for 72 hours - needs to be marked in EMIAS). This is supposedly available to foreigners but we have not tested the system.

Foreigners working in Russia can access a QR code if they have a SNILS and have the right to register and have an account on the gosuslugi portal. Fulfilling these conditions, a QR code is generated automatically.

St Petersburg

St. Petersburg, meanwhile, has imposed strict QR code requirements. Although it is very difficult for foreigners to access this system, a negative PCR test taken within 24 hrs gains entry to most establishments.

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Chamber News

Дата публикации:

16 November 2021


RBCC, Matvey Anufriev and Maria Sarkisova


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