All travelers returning to the UK must take a ‘second day’ Covid test after arriving home.
Vaccinated vacationers can now book a lateral flow test (from a private test provider) to be performed – or before – on the second day of their arrival home, instead of a more expensive PCR test. You cannot take an NHS test for your second day test.
Travelers will need to take a photo of their lateral flow test and the booking reference provided by the private provider and return it to them to verify the result, or take a test at the airport they arrive at.
It might not be the only test you need to take. Some countries still require double-bite 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.
If you are not vaccinated, you will also need to have a pre-departure test up to 72 hours before you go home. In addition, you should still take a PCR test for your test on the second day, and another on the eighth day, and self-isolate for ten days.
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 test for my “second day”?
The government has published a list of approved testing companies. Prices for a lateral flow test currently average around £ 20, but some vendors are offering pickup tests for £ 15, and at the highest level, tests cost £ 39.
When will my day two lateral flow test arrive?
Most companies will mail your test within 24 to 48 hours.
What should I do with my second day test confirmation code?
Keep it safe. You will have to put it on your Passenger tracking form 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?
You need to take a photo of your test result and send it back to your test provider (your company will give you instructions after paying for your test) who will confirm the result. Yes negative, you have no further action to take. Yes positive, you should self-isolate, register your result with the NHS and take a PCR test as soon as possible. Contact your test provider for advice.
What if I am vaccinated but have already booked a second day PCR test?
Its good. You can take the second day PCR test and do not need to take an additional lateral flow test after October 24.
Do children have to take tests to travel?
Different countries have different entry rules for children. Many, including France, Spain, Portugal and Greece, require unvaccinated children over 12 to have an antigen or PCR test before arrival.
In terms of returning to the UK, all children over 5 must take the second day lateral flow test. People under 18 can have a lateral flow test regardless of their vaccination status. Children do not need to take the pre-departure test before returning to the UK.
What if I am not vaccinated?
If you are not vaccinated, you must take a PCR test for your second day. Prices range from £ 20 to £ 399. You can either return your test to the clinic or take it to a center.