COVID-19 tests for entering England

To enter England from abroad, you need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result. Here, we’ll help you understand exactly what tests you need so you can travel without worrying.

Contents
COVID-19 Travel testing with ZAVA

Latest updates to travel testing services: 19/07/2021

  • If you are fully vaccinated with 2 doses of an NHS administered vaccine or a vaccine that’s been approved by and administered in the US or EU and you're travelling from an amber list country, you are no longer required to take a Day 2 and Day 8 test. You must take a Day 2 test only.
  • Travellers under 5 years old do not need to take a test. Travellers between 5 and 18 years old must take a Day 2 test only.
  • Test to Release and Day 2 and Day 8 testing only applies to people travelling from an amber list country who are not fully vaccinated.

The government reviews travel restrictions every 3 weeks, so it’s important to check before you travel. Testing requirements are different depending on where you’re travelling to. You should always review government guidelines before you travel.

Which tests do I need to take to enter England?

I am fully vaccinated

If you are travelling from a red list country, you must follow government guidelines and book a quarantine hotel.

I am not fully vaccinated

You can also order a Test to Release if you want to leave quarantine after day 5 with a negative result.

If you are travelling from a red list country, you must follow government guidelines and book a quarantine hotel.

Your vaccination status

You are only considered fully vaccinated if you have received 2 doses of a vaccine administered by the NHS or a vaccine that has been approved by and administered in the EU or US. You must have received your second COVID-19 vaccination at least 14 days before you travel.

Which tests do children need to take to enter England?

Children under 5 years old do not need to take a COVID-19 test after entering England. Anyone between the ages of 5 and 18 must take a Day 2 test only whether travelling from an amber or green list country.

Do I need to take a test if I am vaccinated?

Yes. If you are fully vaccinated, you still need to take a test whether you are leaving England or entering England. Your vaccination status will only affect what tests you need to take when entering England and how long you’ll need to quarantine as a result. This is because the vaccines do not completely protect you from catching or spreading the virus, so it’s vital that you are still tested to reduce this risk. This may change as more people are vaccinated or if there are further changes to COVID-19 regulations.

Tests for leaving the UK

Tests for entering England

What type of tests are accepted by the UK government for travel?

All tests for travel must meet the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) performance standards. This includes up to 97% specificity and up to 80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml. Currently, the only types of tests for COVID-19 that meet these standards are nucleic acid tests, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and specific rapid antigen tests. If you order a test that doesn’t meet these standards, you will not be allowed to use the results to travel.

It’s also important to remember that even though these tests do meet the performance standards set by the WHO, they may not be accepted by every country. For example, antigen tests can be used to travel to the USA but can not be used to travel to England. You should always check the government guidelines of your destination before booking your tests. And, you should make sure you always buy your tests from a licensed and government approved provider such as ZAVA.

Who can get a COVID-19 travel test?

Anyone over the age of 5 years old can get a COVID-19 test for travel. If the person travelling is between the ages of 5 and 18, they need to travel with someone over 18 who can activate their test.

If the person travelling is under 5 years old, they do not need to take a test.

When should I order my travel tests for entering England?

We recommend ordering your COVID-19 travel tests as soon as you can after booking your trip. You should do this to make sure you have the correct tests and plenty of time to take them.

Can I use a free NHS provided COVID-19 test for travel?

You can not use the NHS testing service for the purposes of travel. You must use a licensed and government approved travel test provider such as ZAVA.

Do I need a test if I’ve already had COVID-19?

In most cases, you will need to take a test before you travel to England. In some cases, there may be exemptions to this rule, but you should read the official government guidance to make sure this applies to you before travelling.

Are there any exceptions for COVID-19 testing before I travel to England?

You may be exempt from COVID-19 travel testing before you leave depending on your age, job or where you’re travelling from. There are also medical exemptions for people with certain conditions or those who need emergency medical treatment.

Age

Children under 10 years old do not need to take a COVID-19 test before travelling to England.

Departure location

You do not need to take a COVID-19 test before travelling to England if you are travelling from:

  • Ireland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • the Isle of Man
  • Jersey or Guernsey
  • Falkland Islands
  • St Helena or Ascension

Job

You may not need to take a test before travelling to England if you do one of the following jobs:

  • border and customs officials
  • channel tunnel system workers
  • hauliers
  • air, maritime and rail crew
  • civil aviation inspectors
  • people transporting human cells and blood products
  • seamen and masters and inspectors and surveyors of ships
  • defence personnel, visiting forces and government contractors
  • foreign government officials
  • UK government officials conducting essential state business, essential government work or essential policing

You should always check with your employer and read the official government guidelines for exemptions before you travel.

Medical exemption

If you are travelling to England for urgent medical treatment or accompanying someone who is, and it is not possible to get a negative COVID-19 test before travel, you could be exempt from testing.

You may also be exempt from testing before you travel if you have a medical condition that means you can’t take a test. You must provide evidence of this at check in before you travel.

Are there any exemptions from COVID-19 travel testing after I arrive in England?

You may be exempt from COVID-19 travel testing after arriving in England if you have a certain job or medical/compassionate reason. Children under 5 years old are also exempt from testing after arrival in England.

If you do not meet the criteria for exemption, you will be required to take a test or you will not be able to continue your trip.

Which tests do I need if I am travelling to somewhere else in the UK (Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland)?

If you are travelling to Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, you should review their testing requirements on their official government channels.

Order a COVID-19 test for travel
View tests



Customer reviews
trustpilot-ratings-4-star (2189)
trustpilot-ratings-5-star by Shaz, 06 Sep 2021
Very pleased with this service. Easy to order with questionnaire, discreet and quick delivery. Much better for me than going to the GP or a pharmacy.
trustpilot-ratings-5-star by TheArcher, 11 Sep 2021
We ordered 3 PCR kits just before 4pm Friday and the next day they all arrived. Clear instructions provided with each kit. After our holiday, we carried out our tests on a Wednesday and posted before 5pm. On Friday before 7.30am we had received our test results. Very good service and will use again.
trustpilot-ratings-5-star by Laura, 11 Sep 2021
Fast efficient and discreet. Would recommend
trustpilot-ratings-5-star by Andi, 06 Sep 2021
Very good service. Prompt delivery.
trustpilot-ratings-5-star by Sophie, 06 Sep 2021
Super quick and helpful! Very lovely and understandimh doctors onbard Zava and always satisfied with product. Would recommend 10/10!!!

gmc logo GPC logo

Authorised and regulated by