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Step-by-step Guide to Travel Requirements

We know navigating all the travel guidelines can be challenging, so we have created a step-by-step guide to navigating travel test requirements and the process you need to follow to determine what tests you need, who needs to do them and when to do them. 

 

 

Please note, these are only guidelines to designed to assist you, they are not intended to replace any UK government or international guidance. Please check all local and international government travel websites before purchasing your tests to ensure the correct tests are selected on checkout. 


STEP 1: Outbound Requirements

Start with your destination’s test requirements. Check local travel information and the UK government website for information on the following:

1. Tests to enter the country

The tests required are generally one of two types: Rapid Antigen Lateral Flow Test or PCR Test. Check the local travel regulations of your destination to confirm what test to purchase.

2. Age of travellers that require testing

Each country has a different age requirement. Some countries require all passengers to be tested over the age of two, whereas others have an age of 16 and over required.

3. Vaccination Policy

Most countries require all travellers to be tested irrespective of vaccination status. However, they may reduce quarantine requirements for the fully vaccinated.

4. When to perform the tests

Testing is generally required within 24 to 72 hours of travel depending on the destination. This is an important step in your journey as you will need to time the test correctly to ensure compliance and provide yourself with enough time should you need to make any changes to your travel arrangements.

5. Documentation that must be completed prior to arrival

Check for any passenger locator, health apps or travel registration forms required by your destination prior to arrival.

In some cases this can be completed at the airport or entry point before you enter the country, however if you don’t have the required information on hand, such as test registration numbers and certificates, you may find you are unable to board your flight.

Where the country requires mandatory quarantine, it is likely you will need to have your self-isolation accommodation or hotel booking registered prior to arrival.

6. Test on Arrival

There are countries requiring testing on arrival at the destination’s entry point (e.g. Border or airport arrival terminal). This testing is usually provided on site and according to their own testing methods.

7. Quarantine requirements

Some countries, including the UK, are imposing quarantine requirements on arrival. This ranges from 5 days to 21 days depending on the destination.

The destination will determine whether quarantine takes place at a designated hotel, government established quarantine centre or your own accommodation.

In certain cases, such as for the fully vaccinated, quarantine may be reduced or removed, provided a negative Covid test is performed.

8. After arrival test requirements

Where quarantine has been imposed, there is usually some form of post arrival testing required. This can be several tests over the quarantine period or a single test to allow early release.


STEP 2: Inbound Requirements

Next you will need to follow UK guidelines for returning to the UK. Check gov.uk for the latest travel requirements.

1. Test to return to the United Kingdom

A Rapid Antigen Test is all that is required to enter the United Kingdom. However, there are additional test required after arrival.

Rapid Tests are not required for travel within the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Common Travel Area, provided you have not been outside of the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 Days.

2. Age of travellers that require testing

All travellers aged 11 and over must perform a Rapid Antigen Test prior to arrival in the United Kingdom.

3. Vaccination policy

All travellers irrespective of fully vaccinated and partially vaccinated status must be tested. 

4. When to perform the tests

The Rapid Antigen Test must be performed within 72 hours prior to arrival in the United Kingdom. The 72 hours must be before arriving/landing in the country and not 72 hours before your flight departs for the United Kingdom.

5. Documentation that must be completed prior to arrival

You must complete a passenger locator form before boarding your return flight to the United Kingdom.

In some cases this can be completed at the airport or entry point before you enter the country, however if you don’t have the required information on hand, you may find you are unable to board your flight.

You will be required to have the following information on hand:

  • Rapid Antigen Travel Test Certificate Number and Certificate (Printed or digital) on hand.
  • PCR Test Unique Registration Number for Day 2, Day 8 and Day 5 if registered for the test-to-release scheme (Amber List Countries).
  • Registered accommodation for self-isolation (Amber Countries) or Quarantine Hotel Booking confirmation (Red List Countries).

STEP 3: After Arriving in the United Kingdom

Quarantine and testing requirements for after your arrival in the United Kingdom are determined by the UK Government’s Travel Traffic Light System. The system sets out a green, amber or red status depending on the country’s current Covid-19 statistics, vaccination strategy and other variables that determine risk level.

1. Departure Country Status

Where you are returning from determines what tests and quarantine will be required on entry.

Check the gov.uk website for the latest confirmation of status.

2. Day 2 PCR Test (Mandatory)

All travellers over the age of 5, including the fully vaccinated must perform a PCR Test on or before Day 2 (arrival Day, Day 1, or Day 2). This is required for all travellers irrespective of the country they are returning from.

PCR Tests are not required for travel within the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Common Travel Area, provided you have not been outside of the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 Days.

3. Quarantine

Quarantine applies only to travellers aged 5 and over, including the fully vaccinated, returning from Amber or Red List Countries.

You will only need to quarantine when returning from a Green List Country if you or a member of your travelling party tested positive on the Day 2 PCR Test as set out above.

 Green CountryAmber CountryRed Country
Quarantine PeriodNo required10 Days10 Days
Quarantine LocationNot requiredAt home or suitable accommodationManaged quarantine hotel
4. Day 8 PCR Test (Mandatory for Amber and Red Countries)

A PCR Test must be performed on Day 8 of quarantine for all travellers over the age of 5, including the fully vaccinated. The PCR Day 2 and Day 8 Tests have unique identifiers and must be purchased together to ensure they are registered accordingly.

5. Test-to-release: Day 5 PCR Test (Amber Countries Only)

Test-to-release is a scheme set up by the UK government (England only) to allow you to be released early from quarantine 5 days after returning to the UK instead of the 10 days currently required for Amber Listed countries according to the government’s Travel Traffic Light System.

According to the Test-to-Release scheme, you must perform a PCR test on day 5 of quarantine. You must obtain proof of a negative test by a government approved testing service. Only PCR tests may be used for Test-to-Release. You must register for the test-to-release scheme before you depart on your journey.

Even if you receive a negative test result on day 5, you are still legally obligated to perform a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 in line with government regulation. This helps to identify new mutant strains of virus that may be entering the country.

You are not eligible for Test-to-Release if returning from a high-risk country that has been travel banned such as those listed on the Red List, as you will be refused entry into the UK.

The UK Government Test-to-Release scheme is only applicable in England and not applicable to Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland


Please note, these are only guidelines to designed to assist you, they are not intended to replace any UK government or international guidance. Please check all local and international government travel websites before purchasing your tests to ensure the correct tests are selected on checkout. 

In accordance to the Terms set forth in the Terms of Use, Medical Assured Group trading as Breathe Assured is not liable for purchase of incorrect tests, the processing of test kits and samples, and rejection of test results by any government authorities. As the devices are for medical purposes, we are unable to accept returns and therefore cannot offer refunds.

Please order your test at least 5 business days before departure.