Test to Release - Update

Starting from 11 February 2022, the Test to Release scheme has been removed. If you are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, you need to take the day 2 PCR test only.
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Test to Release (PCR) - £75

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Mandatory for all partially vaccinated or unvaccinated arrivals to the UK

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Test to Release - How it works

Order your tests online with free delivery and return labels

We’ll send your Test to Release test kit via Royal Mail as soon as you place your order.

Gentle and non-invasive sample collection

Self-test at home, then send each swab sample to our lab using a pre-paid label.

Receive your test results fast by email

You’ll receive your test result after our lab receives your sample, complete with a doctor-signed certificate.

Latest Updates on Covid Test for Travel

Last Updated 10 February 2022

As of 4am 11th February 2022, new government regulations for Covid tests for travel to England will take place:

  • Fully vaccinated travellers are no longer required to take any Covid tests for travel (this includes Day 2 and Pre-departure tests). Passenger Locator Forms are still required.
  • Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travellers are no longer required to take a Day 2 and 8 PCR test; the optional Test to Release test; and self isolate for 10 days upon arrival to the UK. Unvaccinated travellers are only required to take a Pre-departure, Day 2 PCR tests and must self isolate only when receiving a positive test result. Passenger Locator forms are still required.

You can find all the information you need about choosing the right tests for your travels, booking your tests and when to take your tests using our updated travel planner. Any future changes to travel tests rules will be reflected on our website as soon as they are confirmed by the UK Government.

Introduction to Test to Release

What is Test to Release?

Test to Release is an initiative for travellers entering England who are not recognised as being fully vaccinated with an authorised UK vaccination programme. These travellers need to self-isolate for ten days on arrival but can end their self-isolation period early if they book and pay for a private Covid-19 test. This test needs to be taken on Day 5, alongside the mandatory day 2 and day 8 tests. If the test confirms a negative test result, travellers may end the self-isolation period.

How does a Test to Release work?

Once you have bought a private COVID-19 test from a private provider such as Medicspot, the Test to Release needs to be taken on Day 5 of your arrival. If the test confirms a negative test result, travellers may end the self-isolation period early. Please note that if you choose Test to Release, you must still book and take your compulsory tests depending on your vaccination status.

Who can take part in the Test to Release scheme?

Test to Release is available to asymptomatic passengers who are not fully vaccinated, arriving in England by plane, ferry or train. The Test to Release Service is suitable for adults and children, and it’s not suitable for anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 or anyone who thinks they may have COVID-19. The government advises anyone showing coronavirus symptoms to take a PCR Covid-19 test immediately.

Do I have to take part in the Test to Release scheme?

No, Test to Release is optional. You are required to self-isolate for 10 days on return if you are not fully vaccinated. However, if you want to reduce your self-isolation period, you can participate in the scheme and get tested with a government-listed testing provider like Medicspot.

Can I take part in the Test to Release if I live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Island?

No, Test to Release is only applicable to people living in England. The Test to Release scheme is not suitable if you arrive in England from abroad and travel to your home in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, and you will need to follow the guidance in those countries.

How to book Test to Release?

You can order your Test to Release online from government-listed private providers such as Medicspot.

Where can I take a Test to Release near me?

You can conveniently buy Test to Release kits online from companies like Medicspot who deliver the kit to your doorstep.

Taking a Day 5 Test to Release

How do you take a Day 5 Test to Release?

A Test to Release test is a COVID-19 PCR test, and the process for taking it is the same as a PCR test. It involves inserting a thin, flexible stick with a cotton tip into your tonsil and nostrils to sample any potential fragments of viruses. Follow the instructions by rotating the swab several times before withdrawing it and sealing it in a tube. You will then need to send the sample to a lab for analysis. See the infographic below for a step by step visual on how to perform the Test to Release.

The Covid-19 Test to Release self-test kit is a swab test for the nose to check if you are infectious. It's for people who have symptoms as well as those with no symptoms. However, you should follow national guidelines to check which type of test is right for you.

Can I take a Test to Release test before Day 5?

No, you can only take your Test to Release test on or after the fifth day after you have landed in England.

Can I travel to pick up my Day 5 test?

Yes, you are permitted to travel to a Covid-19 testing facility as part of Test to Release if you live in England and it has been five or more days since you arrived. You may find it more convenient to have your Day 5 Test to Release kit delivered to your doorstep as you are advised not to use public transport to travel to a Covid-19 test centre.

Test to Release Costs

At Medicspot, we provide cheap and reliable PCR testing for just £75, including a free Royal Mail returns label and a free doctor-signed certificate.

Day 5 Test to Release Results

Do I need to self-isolate while waiting for my Day 5 Test to Release results?

Yes, you must continue to self-isolate until you have received a negative test result.

What if my Day 5 Test to Release result is positive?

If you have not had symptoms of coronavirus, you must self-isolate for ten days from your test date. If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you must self-isolate for ten days from the day your symptoms started, if earlier than when you took your test.

People you live with or are travelling with should also self-isolate for ten days from the day you took a test. NHS Test and Trace may contact you to check that you, and those who you live or are travelling with, are self-isolating. You must not travel, including to leave the UK, during self-isolation. Contact 111 if you need medical help. In an emergency, dial 999.

What if my Day 5 Test to Release result is negative?

If you receive a negative Covid-19 test result in the Test to Release programme, you may stop self-isolating.

You should self-isolate if:

  • you get symptoms of coronavirus (you should get an NHS coronavirus test and self-isolate until you get the results) 
  • you’re going into hospital (self-isolating until the date you go in)
  • someone you live with tests positive
  • you’ve been traced as a contact of someone who tested positive

For advice on when you might need to self-isolate and what to do, read ‘Self-isolation and treating symptoms’ on the NHS website.

It’s a legal requirement to self-isolate if you are not fully vaccinated and arriving in the UK from the rest of the world. If you are contacted by the enforcement authorities or the police after you have received this negative test result, please show them your negative Day 5 result.

What if my Day 5 Test to Release result is inconclusive or unclear?

You must, by law, continue self-isolating for the remainder of your self-isolation period as an international arrival travelling to the UK if you are not fully vaccinated. The NHS Test and Trace may contact you to check that you are self-isolating. If you want to shorten your self-isolation period, you will need to take another test like those provided by Medicspot.

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Reduce Your Self Isolation Period

Medicspot is a government-listed Test to Release provider