UK Arrivals: Travel Tests

November 26, 2021

Covid-19 has changed the way we travel. In this blog post we aim to deconstruct and answer your questions on travelling both to & from the UK.

At the end of October 2021, The UK changed its testing requirements for arrivals into the UK that are dependent on your vaccination status and also dependent on where you are arriving from. 

A small percentage of countries are listed as RED LIST countries. This list is regularly updated on the website.

If you arrive from a red list country, you are required to quarantine within a hotel in the UK for 10 days.

Vaccination Status & UK Arrival Tests

Whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated will depend on which tests you are required to take.


  • Day 2 Test: PCR Test or a Lateral Flow Test
  • No quarantine required


  • Day 2 PCR Test
  • Day 8 PCR Test
  • 10 days quarantine at home/hotel.

Before leaving to come to the UK 
  • You must arrange and purchase either vaccinated or unvaccinated tests for all adults and children aged 5 years and older.
  • On purchase of your tests – you will be provided with a Unique Reference Number.
  • Within 48 hours of travel into the UK – you must complete a passenger locator form for every traveller. They will ask for your Unique Reference Number(s) when you complete this form.
  • There is no quarantine in the UK for vaccinated arrivals but you must still take your day 2 test.
On arrival into the UK – when exactly can I take this day 2 test?

You can take your Day 2 test from the moment you arrive in the UK, up to and including the second day of arrival.

When you arrive into the UK it is technically your ‘Day 0’

What if my Day 2 test comes back positive?

You must quarantine immediately in your home or hotel in the UK for 10 days. Public Health England will be in touch to contact trace fellow passengers and contacts to reduce the potential spread.

I am only staying in the UK for a few days: Can I use my Day 2 test as a Fit to Fly test?

We are asked this regularly. Yes you can. You can use your Day 2 test result as your Fit to Fly test and certificate.

So that you can fly out of the UK with the same test/result but you must ensure that you have not taken your Day 2 test beyond ‘Day 2’. Make sure you check the times carefully.

Unvaccinated: 10 days quarantine – does everyone need to?

Only if you are unvaccinated – all adults and children with unvaccinated travellers must quarantine for 10 days. You can reduce this by taking a Test to Release on day 5. With a negative result – you no longer need to quarantine.

Can I drop my test sample off in a post box? Am I allowed to leave quarantine to do this?

Yes. You are allowed to walk out of your house/hotel to drop off or post your result back to the lab. Then you must return to the place that you are quarantining.

When do I take my day 8 test?

Only on day 8. No sooner and no later.

If I take a day 5 ‘Test to Release’ – do I still need to take a day 8 test?  

Yes. You are legally still required to take the day 8 test. The day 5 test is an extra test that you can purchase for both adults and any children to allow them stop quarantining once they receive their results.

When can I take my Test to Release?

This test can only be undertaken 5 days after arrival into the UK. ZoomDoc’s London based partner laboratory provides results on the same day if your sample arrives before 1pm.

I plan to leave the UK on day 7 or earlier – what do I do about my day 8 test?

If you are not here in the UK, then you will obviously not be able to undertake a day 8 test. Unfortunately, you must still purchase unvaccinated day 2 & 8 amber arrivals tests.

With ZoomDoc, you can use the day 8 test kit as your test to release on day 5. This will allow you to leave quarantine earlier and can also be used (dependent on when you are leaving the UK ) – and within 48 hours of departure – your fit to fly certificate.

Remember though – if you are in the UK 8 days after arrival from an Amber listed country – you are still legally required to take a day 8 test.

What happens if your day 2, day 5 or day 8 tests comes back Positive?

You must quarantine immediately in your home or hotel in the UK for 10 days from the point that you received your results. Public Health England will be in touch to contact trace fellow passengers and contacts to reduce the potential spread.


Want to know more?

 Our team of Doctors are available 24/7 via the ZoomDoc App for any medical questions or queries you may have.