COVID Testing for Travellers guide

The world is opening up and MyHealthChecked is here to help with affordable, Government-approved COVID testing for travellers. Whether you’re travelling for work or leisure, we have all the testing kits you’ll need. In this guide, we’ll talk you through which tests you’ll need, and when you’ll need them.

Which COVID tests will I need for travel?

It all depends on where you’re travelling to, and when. At the date of publishing (07/05/21) you can only legally travel to and from the UK for very specific purposes – find full details on GOV.UK.

Which COVID test do you need?

This table breaks things down if you want answers fast. Or read on for more detail.

What travel test do you need when arriving in the UK? It depends on what country you have travelled from.

If you are flying out of the UK

Most airlines require a PCR test before flying, and some countries will request a test on entry. For many, our general test – which includes a PCR certificate suitable for Fit-to-Fly use – is a good option as we process within 24-48 of lab receipt. Do be careful to check your timeline carefully. If you are on a very tight schedule, choose an ‘in-person’ test so you aren’t reliant on Royal Mail. There is also an option to drop off your test directly to our lab – please contact us to discuss before purchase.

If you have been vaccinated, you may still need a test until vaccination passports are standardised and agreed – be sure to check what’s required with your airline and the website/embassy for your destination country, including what documentation is required.

Grant Shapps has suggested that UK holidaymakers will be able to use the NHS app to prove their coronavirus status to green destination countries – whether that’s full vaccination or a recent negative test result, but the full details have not yet been announced.

Returning to the UK

When you return to the UK, Your next steps will be dictated by your destination of origin. Destinations will be grouped as Red, Amber and Green – each with different rules.

Green Countries

Take a Day 2 test once you arrive back in the UK. You won’t need to quarantine, unless you test positive for your Day 2 test.

Amber Countries

Quarantine for ten days and take a Day 2 and Day 8 Travel Test Package. You may choose to try Test-to-Release on Day 5 to potentially end self-isolation early.

Red Countries

Arrivals will need to quarantine in a Government-managed hotel for 10 days. You must also take a Day 2 and Day 8 Travel Test Package.

In all cases, you will also need to take a test before leaving your destination. Finally, it looks likely that you will need to take these tests regardless of your vaccination status – though this is yet to be confirmed.

Get organised before you go

Remember – you must order your return tests before you have landed in the UK. You will be asked for details on your Passenger Locator Form.

What are the Green List Countries?

The Green List of 12 countries was announced today – these are the countries that you can visit on or after May 17th if you take a pre-departure test before leaving for England, and 2 days after returning to the UK. This list has been revised on 28th June, 2021.

Antigua and Barbuda
Balearic Islands (Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca)
British Antarctic Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Israel and Jerusalem
New Zealand
Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Turks and Caicos Islands

What about the Amber and Red List?

Sadly, many popular European countries will remain on the Amber List for now. This means you can still travel to these countries, but you’ll need to self-isolate and test on Day 2 and Day 8. You will be able to see the latest lists on GOV.UK.

Will the lists change?

One factor to bear in mind when planning travel is that – like last summer – countries may change status with little warning.

This means you may plan and book a holiday to a Green List country, but that country may end up being on the Amber List by the time you travel (or return home). So it makes sense to be prepared, and either book a holiday you can cancel at short notice with a full refund, or carefully consider a contingency plan in case there’s an unexpected change.

If my Green List country goes Amber, what do I do?

You’ll need to organise where you’ll self isolate so you can complete your Passenger Locator Form, and book your Day 2 & Day 8 Test Package before you travel home from your holiday destination. We can help in these circumstances, offering packages from £170.00. You can also opt to try Test-To-Release if you would like to end quarantine early – if you test negative following a Day 5 test, you can cease self-isolation.

It’s worth bearing in mind that there’s no guarantee that ‘green’ destinations will stay green – so if your circumstances would be complicated with an unexpected self-isolation period, you might be better off opting for a staycation.

What if my Amber List destination goes Red?

In this circumstance, you will need to quarantine in a Government-approved travel hotel on your return. We can ship your Day 2 & 8 Travel Test Package to the hotel – please contact us as soon as you have organised your new quarantine address so we can update your order.

We hope you have found this guide useful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help and guidance navigating the latest rules and regulations. Our friendly customer services team are available here.


Date of publication: 07/05/21, revised on 28/06/21

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