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Covid tests to enter the UK

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Last updated 1 November 2021

As of 1 November 2021, there are currently no countries on the red list. The red list is under constant review and countries and territories can be added to the red list at any time. Please check the government website for the latest updates to travel.

The rules for travel now depend on your vaccination status. Fully vaccinated travellers are able to use a cheaper Day 2 Lateral Flow Test. Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers are still required to take a mandatory Day 2 & 8 PCR Test with an optional Test to Release Test on day 5 of their arrival.

For further information on the additional requirements needed before travel, please see the government website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which types of Covid-19 tests are accepted for travel to the UK?

It is your responsibility to find a reputable private test provider like Medicspot to provide your Covid-19 tests for travel. The test must meet the WHO (World Health Organisation) performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml. You might not be able to travel if your test doesn’t meet these requirements.

Approved tests include:

  • A nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests.
  • An antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device.

Which tests do you need to enter the UK?

From Monday 4 October 2021, the types of tests needed to enter the UK now depend on your vaccination status.

Fully vaccinated individuals travelling to the UK are only required to take a day 2 test.

Partially vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers are required to take an antigen test 3 days before boarding their transport to the UK. Travellers must also book and pay for a and quarantine for 10 full days (arrival day is day 0). The Test to Release initiative remains an option for those who would like to shorten their quarantine time.

How much do the tests cost?

For partially vaccinated and unvaccinated arrivals, pre-departure Return to the UK Antigen tests cost just £29. Day 2 & 8 tests cost £150. Day 2 lateral flow tests for fully vaccinated arrivals are £29.

Who can get a test?

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

Are antigen tests accepted to enter the UK?

Antigen tests are accepted to enter the UK and are quick and easy to perform. Pre-departure antigen tests are only required for partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers entering the UK.

Can I take an NHS test to enter the UK?

NHS tests cannot be used for the purpose of pre-departure testing before travelling to the UK.

Do children need to take a test to enter the UK?

The current government advice for the UK states that children aged 10 and below do not need to take a test to enter the country.

Do I need to complete a passenger locator form before entering the UK?

Yes, everyone is required to complete a passenger locator form before travelling to the UK, without exception.

Do I need to take a test when travelling from all countries?

Generally, yes, but there are some exceptions. These include: Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey, Ascension, and Falkland Islands. This list is always changing so please check the government website before travelling.

What should my test result include?

For unvaccinated travellers entering the UK, your test result must be in either English, French or Spanish. Translations will not be accepted. You must provide the original test result notification which must include the following information:

  • your name, which should match the name on your travel documents
  • your date of birth or age
  • the result of the test
  • the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
  • the name of the test provider and their contact details
  • confirmation of the device used for the test, or that the test was a PCR test

If the test result does not include this information you may not be able to travel to the UK and could be fined.

What if I test positive?

You will be refused travel to the country if you test positive for Covid-19. For further guidance on testing positive for Covid-19, please refer to the government website.

What if my test is inconclusive?

You will need to take another test and will only be able to travel to the UK if you have evidence of a negative test result.

Are there medical reasons for not needing a test?

Please see the government website for the latest rules but if you are travelling for, or accompanying someone travelling for, urgent medical treatment then you might not need to take a test. You might not need to take a test if you have a medical condition that prevents you from doing so but please check government guidelines before travelling.

How can I check if my job is exempt from testing when travelling to the UK?

Please visit the government website for further information on which jobs are exempt from taking a test as these are liable to change.

When should I order my test(s)?

For both vaccinated and partially/unvaccinated travellers, we recommend ordering your pre-departure tests, travel test packages or day 2 Lateral Flow tests as soon as possible to guarantee your test kits are reserved for you.

When will my kits be delivered?

You will receive your day 2 test on the day you arrive in the UK. You will receive your day 8 test on the eighth day of your quarantine. We will dispatch your day 2 kit as soon as you order to ensure you have your kit when you arrive in the UK. Please note, we can only dispatch your kits Monday to Friday so it is important to order the appropriate test kit before you travel.

What happens if I do not take a test?

If you are partially vaccinated/unvaccinated and do not present proof of a negative test, you may not be able to board your transport to the UK. If you arrive to the UK without proof you tested negative, you could be fined.

Do I need to register my kit?

You must register your kit before returning it via Royal Mail. If you have problems registering your kit on a mobile device, please use a desktop computer. If you need further assistance, our dedicated customer service team will be happy to help via live chat. For more information, go to our day 2 and 8 test FAQ page.

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