What Covid test do I need to return to the UK?

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Written by Ray

June 23, 2021

There are specific rules for travellers coming back to the UK after spending some time abroad. Such rules vary on whether travellers have been in countries under the government’s traffic light system for travel, categorising countries under colours‘ red’, ‘amber’, and ‘green’.

In cases where travellers have been in more than one country in the last ten days, they must follow the rules for the highest risk country they have been in or passed through. So, for example, if a traveller has been to one country under the green list then went to one on a red list, the traveller must follow the rules for the red list.

Regardless of what countries travellers are from, it is required to get tested for coronavirus in three days before going back to the UK. Upon arrival, travellers will need to book a coronavirus test or two if they have been on countries under the amber or red list.

To know which Covid-19 test to take when returning to the UK, read on.

Travellers following green list rules must:

  • Take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on or before the second day of arrival. The test must be booked before arriving in the UK.

Travellers following amber list rules must:

  • Take a pcr test on arrival or before day 2 and on or after day 8. The test must be booked before arriving in the UK.
  • Quarantine for 10 days in the place they are staying. People from countries under amber and red list usually have to stay at a quarantined hotel for 10 days after arrival in the UK.

Alternatively, you can opt for ‘test to release’ and pay for a COVID-19 test on day 5 to shorten the time they need to quarantine. Nevertheless, you still have to get tested for coronavirus on or before day 2 and on or before day 8.

Travellers following red list rules must:

  • Book a managed quarantine hotel before arriving in the UK.
  • Take a PCR test on or before day 2 and on or before day 8.
  • Quarantine in the quarantine hotel for 10 days on arrival.

You are required to present proof of a negative coronavirus test when travelling to the UK regardless of the following:

  • If you have been vaccinated
  • If you are travelling from a country under the green list
  • If you are a UK citizen

Proof of negative test result can be provided as:

  • A printed document
  • An email or text message you can present on your device.

Where to take your test?

You will have to find a private test provider and choose where and when you can take the test. Harley Medic International is one UK’s largest coronavirus testing providers. They have locations across the UK that are easy to find. After getting tested, the results can be issued the same day. Though, in some cases, it may take a few days depending on how long it takes for the sample to reach the lab and the number of samples in the queue to get tested.

They also provide ISO and UKAS certificate on the way to go, and test results can also be conveniently sent in the email you provided.

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