UK Arrivals: Travel Tests

June 15, 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.

In 2021, The UK introduced a traffic light system to determine every countries levels of circulating SARS CoV-2 (Covid-19) and the multiple variants so as to minimise the risk of importing and spreading the virus within the UK.

The UK divides every country into either:

  • RED – high risk
  • AMBER – medium risk
  • GREEN – low risk

Leaving the UK – Fit to Fly Test

 

The vast majority of countries around the world now require a PCR test & fit to fly certificate that has been undertaken in the UK within 48-72 hours of departure.

Some countries advise that the test must be undertaken in the UK within 72 hours of arrival into another country. For instance – Spain and Portugal.

What exactly is a Fit to Fly Certificate?

This is the laboratory results that is provided by a laboratory and / or Healthcare service with your full name, date of birth and the time and date that you undertook your test. It must show a Negative result to ensure that you are safe to travel.

Travelling to the UK – Green Arrivals

I’m travelling from a Green List Country – What do I need to do?
  • You must arrange and purchase a Day 2 (Green) PCR test for all adults and children aged 5 years and older.
  • On purchase of a Day 2 (Green) PCR test from a Government listed provider – 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 green list country arrivals but you must still take your day 2 test.
On arrival in 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 and those you travelled with ( family/friends ) 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.

Travelling to the UK – Amber Arrivals

I’m travelling from an Amber List Country – What do I need to do?
  • You must arrange and purchase Day 2 & 8 (Amber) PCR tests for all adults and children aged 5 years and older.
  • On purchase of a Day 2 & 8 (Amber) PCR test from a Government listed provider – 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. You will be required to input your Unique Reference Number(s) when you complete this form.

10 days quarantine – does everyone need to?

Yes – all adults and children 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.

When do I take the Day 2 Test from an Amber country?

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’

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 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 and those you travelled with (family/friends) 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.

Returning from a Red List Country

You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve been in a red list country in the previous 10 days unless you’re:

  • A British National
  • An Irish National
  • Anyone with residence rights in the UK

Everyone allowed to enter England who has been in a red list country in the 10 days before they arrive must:

  • Quarantine for 10 full days in a managed quarantine hotel (the day you arrive in England counts as day 0).
  • Take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining.

Full details can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.