Covid-19 Antigen Test for Travel

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Get your test delivered before you travel

Receive your rapid antigen test before you leave the UK so you can take this with you on your travels to perform when you’re abroad.

Perform your test within 3 days of returning to the UK

Register your kit then follow the instructions on how to perform your swab (must be within 3 days before returning to the UK).

Receive your results certificate by email

Get your results in 20 minutes. You’ll then take a photo of your results, send this to Medicspot, and you’ll receive a doctor-signed certificate same-day.

Written by Dr Adam Abbs. Last updated 13/07/2021.


What is an antigen test?

Antigen tests, also known as rapid antigen or lateral flow tests, look for proteins produced by the virus called antigens. You can take antigen tests with you on your travels as they don’t require a laboratory. These are similar to a pregnancy test.

Can I use the antigen test for my day 2 test?

Starting from 24th October 2021, if you are fully vaccinated under the UK, Europe or US vaccination program, you can use a lateral flow test (also known as an antigen test) for your day 2 test.

If you are not fully vaccinated, it is mandatory for you to use the day 2 and 8 PCR tests instead.

How do Covid-19 rapid antigen tests work?

Around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms. Rapid antigen lateral flow tests help find cases in people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can give the virus to others.

How do you take an antigen test?

An antigen test involves rolling a swab inside of each nostril. You should do this ten times per nostril to ensure a good quality sample. The swab is then placed into a liquid to allow the antigen to dissolve in the liquid. This liquid is then dripped onto the device's pad, producing a reaction that gives a result.

Do I need to get tested for Covid-19 before I fly to the UK?

If you are fully vaccinated under the approved vaccination programme in the UK, Europe and USA, you are not required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test before your travel to the UK.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you need to get tested and show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken 3 days before you fly to the UK.

Who can get an antigen test for travel?

Anyone in England who does not have coronavirus symptoms can get a private rapid antigen test provided that they are accepted for travel by the chosen airline and country of destination.

Where can I get an antigen test for travel near me?

Our guaranteed, same-day result Covid-19 antigen tests are available to order online for just £29 with free delivery to anywhere in the UK. Our antigen tests for travel can be delivered to your home or a convenient place near you, such as your workplace or hotel.

Am I guaranteed to receive an antigen test certificate for travel?

You’ll be provided with a same-day fit-to-fly test certificate only  if your test has been verified as negative for coronavirus after we have received and processed your result. This travel test certificate can be used for travel to certain countries where antigen tests are sufficient.

Are antigen tests accepted for travel?

Yes, in some countries, including the USA, Italy and Egypt accept antigen tests for travel. However, you should check that both the airline and destination consider an antigen test for travel valid. If you are not fully vaccinated and travelling to England, you must take an antigen test before you arrive to avoid a £200 fine.

Which countries are accepting antigen tests for travel?

As of July 2021, countries such as the USA, Italy, France, Germany, Croatia and Portugal now accept lateral flow antigen tests for the purpose of international travel. We provide a fit-to-fly certificate with your lateral flow test to allow you entry into these countries. Please see our Covid test travel guide for further information on the tests accepted and required to enter other countries.

Do I still need a return antigen test if I'm fully vaccinated?

As of 4 October 2021, a return antigen test is not required if you are fully vaccinated. However, if you are not fully vaccinated, you are still required to take the return antigen test.

What information do I need to include before submitting my antigen test result online?

For us to successfully register your swab sample, you’ll need to provide us with your main contact information (name, address, date of birth), your pre-departure information and whether you have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

From 19th July 2021, travel abroad to certain countries will no longer be restricted to ‘essential. Stay up to date with the latest travel information and developments on the government website.

How is an antigen test different from a PCR test?

Both PCR and antigen tests look for current infection. However, PCR tests are more accurate than antigen tests - they are the “gold standard”. An antigen test, also known as a lateral flow or rapid antigen test, looks for proteins created by the virus, whereas a PCR test looks for the genetic material of the virus itself. Most PCR tests need to go to a laboratory for the results to be processed. This means that it can take hours to days to get the results. Rapid antigen tests can be done at home, using a pregnancy-style test, giving results in minutes.

How is an antigen test different from an antibody test?

An antigen test looks for proteins created by the virus, whereas an antibody test looks for the cells that your body has created to protect you from coronavirus (because you have previously been exposed to it). 

An antigen test looks for current infection, whereas an antibody test looks for previous infection. An antigen test can be done at home, using a pregnancy-style test, giving results in minutes, whereas an antibody test requires a blood sample to be sent to the laboratory.

How accurate are antigen tests?

We can measure the accuracy of antigen tests by assessing their sensitivity and specificity.


Sensitivity is how good a test is at finding infection in a person with a condition. When a person has low levels of the virus in their system, antigen tests are less sensitive than some of the other tests used, such as PCR which is used for those experiencing symptoms.

This means that antigen tests may not detect Covid-19 in a person with smaller amounts of the virus in their airways. Antigen tests are more reliable when an individual has a high viral load, which is important as these people are more likely to spread the virus.

Ongoing review for rapid antigen testing shows an overall sensitivity of 76.8%. This is quite low, so if you have symptoms, we recommend that you use an alternative test, such as a PCR test


Specificity is how good a test is at giving a negative result in a person without a condition. If a person doesn’t have a condition, a test with a high specificity is more likely to correctly identify that they don’t have it. Ongoing review for rapid antigen testing shows that the test has a specificity of 99.68%.

How effective are antigen tests?

Antigen tests used by the UK government go through a rigorous evaluation by the country’s leading scientists. This means they are accurate, reliable and successfully identify those with Covid-19 who are not showing symptoms and could spread the virus without knowing.

Rapid antigen tests for travel deliver a rapid result in 30 minutes and can find positive cases with high levels of virus present that are easy to transmit to others, helping to reduce further infections.

Oxford University and PHE confirm lateral flow tests show high specificity and are effective at identifying most individuals who are infectious.

Can I take an antigen test if I have symptoms of Covid-19?

You should not use this test if you have Covid-19 symptoms, or have had contact with someone with Covid-19 as you may get a negative result which is not correct. This can be dangerous as you may think you are clear when you are spreading the virus to other people. If you suspect that you have Covid-19 symptoms, you should self-isolate immediately, report this to your manager at your place of work and request a PCR test.

Test results

How do I know if my rapid antigen test is positive for Covid-19?

If two lines appear on the device, one next to ‘C’ (Control) and one next to ‘T’ (Test), even if they are faint, the test is positive. Yourself or your test provider must report this test result to NHS Track and Trace. You must also self-isolate immediately to prevent further transmission of the virus.

How do I know if my rapid antigen test is negative for Covid-19?

If one line appears next to ‘C’ on the device, the test is negative. It should be noted that a negative result does not rule out the Covid-19 infection as there can be false-negative results. 

How do I know if my test result is void or inconclusive?

Any test WITHOUT a line next to ‘C’ should be voided and a new test done with a fresh kit. C= Control - it shows you that the test is working. You should see a ‘C’ on every test result.

Very infrequently, you may receive an inconclusive swab result. This can be caused by a poor sample taking technique. As a result, you may not have the time or means to purchase another kit before your flight. We offer a spare kit to avoid this situation.

This diagram shows an example of what an antigen test result might look like.

How long does it take for a test result to appear?

The time it takes for a test result to appear varies for different tests. You should leave your test for a recommended 15-minute development time to get an accurate result. If the test device is left to develop longer you may receive a false-positive result and you will need to repeat the test. 

What happens if the photo of my test result or test card is not clear?

If your test result is unclear it may be processed as inconclusive and will not be able to issue a test result certificate. We supply a spare test kit to avoid having to re-purchase a test before your flight.

How do I dispose of the test kit?

You should carefully dispose of the test device and equipment in your household rubbish.

Can I reuse the test?

No, you cannot reuse a Covid-19 antigen test as they are single-use only.

Get your antigen test for travel

Medicspot is a government-listed provider of antigen testing for travel.

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