It’s half term – woohoo! And many of you will be heading off on a much-needed overseas holiday – which has now become much easier to do, thanks to the UK government simplifying the travel rules.
COVID testing is one of the methods that is being used globally to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus – allowing people to travel as safely as possible.
Test2Go have collected all of the available information about the updated COVID-19 testing for travel guidelines to give you the confidence you need to be able to travel safely again.
Do I need to take a lateral flow test or PCR test for travel?
The COVID tests you will need to take before you travel will depend entirely on the country you are planning to travel to. Each country around the world differs in whether they require you to take a lateral flow test or a PCR test to be able to enter – and also what timeframe you have available to take the test in!
However, there is one constant. NHS tests are not accepted – you have to purchase your test for travel from a reputable private provider such as Fit2FlyTest.
Both types of COVID test – the lateral flow test and the PCR test – screen for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but they differ in the way they do this, the time needed to get a result and their accuracy.
This is why it is important to know which test is required for the country you are planning to travel to so that you leave yourself enough time to buy the COVID test and get your results back in the timeframe required.
Test2Go Lateral Flow Tests are despatched for delivery in 1-2 working days. If you upload your results between 9 am and 6 pm, you should receive your laboratory certificate within 6 hours (you can upload your results any time of the day or night).
Our PCR test kits are different as they need to be sent back to our laboratories for your result. Again, we will despatch these for delivery in 1-2 working days. Once you have received your test just provide us with a swab sample and use the prepaid returns label to send your sample back to our laboratories. We will then provide you with your result within 24 hours of us receiving your sample.
Whichever test you take, you will need to be able to show proof of your negative result in order to travel – and this could be via an email, a text message or a printed document. If you are travelling as a group then you may find that having printed versions of your test results may be easier as it can save you time at both your departure airport and when you arrive at your chosen destination.
Do I need to take a COVID test for travel before I leave the UK?
Again, whether or not you need to take a COVID test for travel before you leave the UK will depend on where it is you are heading.
Checking the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office’s travel advice page for the country you are heading to is the best place to start, as they list everything you need to know including
- whether you need to provide proof of a negative COVID test for your destination
- when you will need to take the COVID test
- which test type is accepted – either PCR or Lateral Flow
- what the test requirements are for children
Some destinations now don’t require you to take a test at all, as long as you can prove you have had the full set of COVID vaccinations – and again you can find this information out on the FCDO’s travel advice page.
Do I need to take a COVID test to come back to the UK?
The testing requirements for returning to the UK vary depending on whether you are fully vaccinated or not.
If you are fully vaccinated, or aged 17 or under, then you do not need to take any COVID tests before travelling back to the UK but you do need to fill in a passenger locator form 48 hours before you return.
If you are not fully vaccinated then you will need to take a pre-departure test – which can be either a lateral flow test or PCR test depending on your preference – 48 hours before you return to the UK and be able to show a negative result when boarding.
You will also need to take a Day 2 PCR test on or before day two of your return, which you will need to have purchased before you travel as the reference number for the test has to be added to your passenger locator form.
If you are planning to travel abroad and need help with any aspect of COVID-19 testing for travel, then please get in touch with our customer care team – they are always happy to help.