If you’re thinking about a family holiday this year, then you need to know do children need to take a COVID test before travelling. Here’s what you need to know.

The rules around COVID tests for travel are constantly changing. If you are going on a family holiday with children you need to know what the rules are. Here’s what you need to know about whether antigen tests, lateral flow tests or PCR tests are needed in order for children to travel.

Which COVID tests do children need for travel?

Whether or not your child will need to take a COVID test to travel will depend on where you are travelling to.

The United States, for example, requires all children over the age of two to take a COVID test while Canada and Spain require those aged 12 to 15 to be fully vaccinated in order to obtain entry to the country and certain services and venues inside them.

The UK Government has approved COVID vaccines for use on children aged 12 and upwards, and a lower dose vaccine can be used on children aged 5 to 11 in all areas of the UK.

If you are planning to travel within the EU then children aged between 6 and 17 should be able to travel freely – even if they are not vaccinated – as long as they can provide proof of a negative PCR test taken before departure. Individual countries may still require additional testing or quarantine after arrival although vaccination and tests are not required in the EU for children under the age of 6.

The best thing to do, for travellers of all ages, is to check the FCDO Foreign Travel Advice page for your chosen destination before you travel. Many EU destinations do not expect children aged 11 and under to prove they are negative for COVID, even if they are not fully vaccinated. However, requirements can change quickly and without notice, so it is always best to double-check.

All COVID travel rules were dropped across the whole of the UK for adults and children from Friday 18th March – including filling in passenger locator forms, quarantining, and taking tests. If you test positive for COVID in the UK now then there is no legal requirement to quarantine – although the official NHS advice is to do so for 5 days.

Should children take lateral flow tests or PCR tests for COVID?

If you are travelling to a destination that requires travellers to take a test before travelling, then your child can take either a lateral flow or PCR test. Both tests are administered in a similar way, but lateral flow tests give an almost instant result (within 15 minutes) whereas a PCR test has to be sent back to our laboratories for analysis.

If a COVID test is required for travel then the free NHS tests should not be used. Instead, the COVID test should be purchased from a private company, such as Fit2FlyTest.

What if my child tests positive while on holiday?

No traveller, adult or child, should fly home if they test positive when on holiday.

Some countries may allow you to stay in your accommodation for the duration of your quarantine period if you test positive for COVID after you arrive, but you should always check local advice and follow it regarding who to tell and what to do.

Fit2FlyTest is an accredited laboratory offering a variety of COVID tests for travel – both PCR and lateral flow tests as well. Cut out the middleman and help us help you to get back to doing what you enjoy.

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