Regardless of their vaccination status, all travelers entering the UK must be tested on day 2.

Starting at 4 a.m. on January 9, this can be a lateral flow test instead of a more expensive PCR test and the need to self-isolate until they receive a negative result will be removed. from 4 a.m. on January 7.

Those who don’t get a double bite are still given a pre-departure test, a 10-day quarantine sentence, and two PCR tests.

“Day 2” may not be the only test you need to take. Some countries still require double-bitten arrivals to show proof of a recent negative Covid test on arrival, while unvaccinated people must pass tests to enter almost all destinations. Consult the page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your destination before leaving.

Here we outline how the respective tests work and what to look out for when booking one in the coming months.

How do I get a lateral flow or PCR test for my “second day”?

The government has published a list of approved testing companies. Prices range from £ 20 to £ 399. The test can be done at home or in the clinic.

When will my second day test arrive?

Most companies will deliver your test to your home by mail within 48 hours, although some have longer warranties. Book your test in time before you return from your trip to avoid an extended quarantine period.

What should I do with my second day test confirmation code?

Keep it safe. You will need to indicate this on your passenger tracking form in order to return to the UK.

When should I take the second day test?

The day of arrival counts as “day 0”, which means that the “second day” is the third day after return. If you land on a Monday, the second day is Wednesday. Deceptively you don’t need to take the test to second day, but rather through day two. You can therefore take the test as soon as you land, if you wish.

What should I do after taking my test?

Until 4 a.m. on Friday, January 7, all travelers must self-isolate until they receive their day 2 PCR test result. If negative, fully vaccinated travelers may terminate to their self-isolation. If they are positive, they must self-isolate and register their result with the NHS. Contact your test provider for advice.

If you are not doubly vaccinated, see below.

How long do I have to wait for my test result on day 2?

The fastest way to receive your PCR result would be to book a quick run test. One company promising results by 11pm the same day for £ 99 is the Regenerative Clinic, which has 12 centers across the country, from Canary Wharf to Cambridge.

A quick turnaround test at the airport is a hassle-free option. However, these are inevitably often more expensive than a home test, where results are usually only guaranteed within 48 hours. Still, Cignpost Express offers results the next day (at 10 p.m.) from Heathrow, Gatwick and other airports for a relatively reasonable price of £ 69.

Of course, delays in test results are known, but with the need to isolate yourself until you receive a negative test result withdrawn from 4 a.m. on January 7, arrivals can be more relaxed. on this subject.

Do children have to take tests to travel?

Different countries have different entry rules for children. Many, including France and Greece, require unvaccinated children over the age of 12 (or five in Greece) to have been tested for Covid before arrival.

When it comes to returning to the UK, all children over the age of five must take the second day test. Those under 18 will no longer have to take a pre-departure test from 4 a.m. on January 7.

What if I am not vaccinated?

If you are not vaccinated, you should take a PCR test for your day 2 and day 8 tests, and self-isolate for 10 days. You can either post your test at the clinic or take the test at a dedicated center.

In England, as part of the Test to Release program, you can choose to pay for a private Covid test on day 5. If the result is negative (and your test result on day 2 was negative or inconclusive), you can end your quarantine.

Test Checklist

Vaccinated travelers will need (from 4 a.m. on Sunday January 9):

  • To complete a passenger locator form before returning to the UK
  • A PCR or lateral flow test, performed within two days of returning to the UK.

Unvaccinated travelers need:

  • A Covid test before boarding a return flight (pre-departure test)
  • To complete a passenger locator form before returning to the UK
  • A PCR test within two days of returning to the UK and another Covid test on the eighth day
  • Self-isolate for 10 days or pay for an ‘exit test’ to leave quarantine early (England only)

How do I get my pre-departure test?

Unvaccinated travelers still need proof of a negative Covid-19 test to travel to England from abroad. This should not be taken more than three days before travel, but can be either a LAMP test, a lateral flow or a PCR test.

The FCDO advice pages have information on where to find local test providers in different countries. Tour operators, airlines and hotels can also advise you on how to book these tests. Some private providers offer test packages that you can take with you and complete by video call, before a certificate if sent to you by email.

How do I get a day two (and day eight) PCR test when I return to England?

Unvaccinated travelers should book a PCR test which will take place no later than the second day of their return to the UK and provide a booking reference on their passenger tracking form. Unvaccinated travelers should also book a Day 8 test.

Like outbound testing, these must be booked through a private testing provider, although the government will establish a different list of companies that should be used for returning travelers. Suppliers will indicate which tests should be used for returning travelers, with companies such as Randox also offering ‘test-to-release’ packages for unvaccinated travelers. Prices tend to be similar to all required outbound tests, for example Boots offers ‘second day’ home testing for £ 75.

New arrivals can also be tested at a clinic or drive-thru site. Randox, for example, has an airport center in Manchester where newcomers can take the required test (for £ 60).

Do I have to take a test before traveling abroad?

Some countries even require fully vaccinated travelers to show proof of a recent negative test to enter. For example, the Maldives requires all people over the age of one to take a PCR test 96 hours before departure. Most of the Caribbean islands open to tourists also have stringent testing requirements.

With little regulation, the costs of private testing vary wildly. Among the more affordable are test giant Randox, which offers a home-delivered PCR test for £ 43; click and collect options are available from £ 34.99. The price includes a certificate with all the relevant information to present to the authorities. Make sure to order and return your test on time to avoid panic before the holidays.

Travelers can also choose to have a pre-departure test at a clinic, which typically has faster turnaround times but also tends to be more expensive. Vivo Clinics has 34 outposts across the country, from Glasgow to Exeter, and offer next day PCR test results from £ 119.

For those who leave things to the last minute, Heathrow has launched an on-site PCR testing service with a three-hour deadline for results starting at £ 119. Its Cignpost ExpressTest facility also offers lateral flow testing (some countries accept rapid tests for entry) for £ 35.