Alongside getting travel vaccinations and insurance, organising Covid-19 testing is now an essential part of any travel preparations.
When travelling internationally there are two sets of testing requirements that you need to consider. The first are those set out by the UK government, which include requirements for before you return to the UK and for once you are back. The second are those requirements set out by the country or countries you are visiting.
UK Government requirements
The UK government currently imposes no testing requirements for returning to the UK. However, this could change in the future and our Country specialists will keep you up to date.
The requirements can vary between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The most up-to-date government advice is outlined if you follow the link below:
There will also be entry requirements for your destination country or countries. These continue to evolve but may involve demonstrating your vaccination status (see our Other Travel Preparations section below) or having a rapid antigen or PCR test done shortly before you arrive in your destination. You should check the precise requirements of the country or countries that you are visiting in order to organise the documentation and tests that you need. A few countries also have exit requirements, which may vary from the UK’s entry requirements, so it is important to check the information thoroughly. The FCDO outlines all entry requirements within its travel advice pages: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
All regions of the UK now allow you to choose the test provider for your post-travel tests from a list provided by the UK government. Many private facilities in the UK offer testing services specifically for travellers, providing both rapid results and certificates that are acceptable for international travel and for the requirements once back in the UK.
We have identified a number of providers that offer a comprehensive range of testing options at discounted rates for Audley clients. Please click through to their websites for details of the services they offer and the costs, and speak to your country specialist about the discounts available.
Qured provide the full range of testing options including fit-to-fly certification and testing packages based on your travel requirements.
Randox Health provides testing options for clients flying into and out of the UK, including many airport based rapid testing facilities. These in person services can be booked in advance and allow a professional to administer the test, and get you swift results.
Express Test specialise in PCR tests taken in testing centres across the UK. They look to return results by 10pm the next day. A good option if you don’t want the uncertainty of relying on postal services.
Breathe Assured is a Trust Pilot 4.9 star rated test provider. For travel they specialise in rapid antigen testing supervised online by a medical professional.
The above are only a few of the many private UK test providers. The UK government has additional information that can help you find test providers, which you can find by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Other travel preparations
Testing requirements are increasingly dependent on your vaccination status. Alongside the fact a number of destination countries require proof of double vaccination to enter the country, this means that proving your vaccination status is becoming more important for travel. Please note that for travel purposes it is important that your name is the same on the proof of vaccination as it is in your passport.
For people in England who are registered with a GP the government is providing vaccination proof via NHS app technology. Paper alternatives are also available by calling 119. Within the NHS app you can demonstrate your current vaccination status, including which vaccine you have had and when. For further information on this process, and how to get a paper alternative, please check the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad. Please note this is a different app from the NHS Covid-19 app which is used for Test and Trace.
In Scotland proof of vaccination is available via the NHS Inform patient portal or a paper alternative is available via the Freephone Covid Status Helpline. It is important that you receive the version of the document that includes a 2D barcode. For more details visit: https://www.nhsinform.scot/nhs-scotland-covid-status/.
If you were vaccinated in Wales you can get proof via the NHS Covid Pass. You will need an NHS login in order to access the pass. More information is available here: https://www.gov.wales/get-your-nhs-covid-pass.
In Northern Ireland you can use the COVIDCertNI App to request a certificate. For the latest information please check the website here: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/apply-travel-covid-vaccination-certificate.
For all regions your NHS vaccination card is not considered acceptable proof for travel.