Many of us are eager to travel — for business and pleasure. But with so much scattered information, you're probably asking yourself "what COVID test do I need?".

 

Keep reading for a simple answer to that question, plus other important details regarding safe international travel during the pandemic.

 

What COVID test do I need to travel?

There are three main types of COVID test: molecular, antigen and antibody. The molecular and antigen tests detect if you are currently infected with coronavirus. The antibody test reveals if you’ve been infected in the past. 

 

Let’s describe each test in a bit more detail, to explain which COVID test you need to travel:


Is the NHS PCR swab test valid for travel?

The NHS offers molecular tests, also known as PCR. These tests look for pieces of the virus on the respiratory tract to detect whether or not you have an active infection. Once a nasal and/or throat sample is collected, your results are delivered within 24 to 72 hours. 

 

NHS PCR test results are not valid for international travel. Mostly because of the format your results come in, but also because self-administered NHS tests (like home kits) can be less effective.


Can I take a COVID antigen test to travel?

Antigen tests are faster to process than PCR, but they’re also less accurate. Some countries refuse to accept antigen tests, due to their high percentage of false negatives.

Can I take a COVID antibody test to travel?

Antibody COVID tests are performed by taking a small blood sample. Since these are serological (blood serum) tests, they can only detect you if you were infected with the virus in the past. 


It means that antibody tests can't tell if you have a current active infection, and they can't prove a clean bill of health. For this reason, these are not valid proof when travelling abroad either.

 

What COVID test do I need to travel?

To travel abroad, you'll need a private PCR test. These private tests are similar to the ones performed by the NHS — but with a few key differences. 


For one, they are available to anyone regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.

PCR tests can also tell with 99% accuracy whether or not you are infected with coronavirus and act as evidence for travel purposes. Most private PCR tests, like those done at Corona Test Centre, can be issued with a Fit to Fly Certificate — giving you a green light for travelling abroad.

 

When choosing a private clinic for testing, you should also look for a UKAS accreditation. This is the only accreditation that ensures your results will be accepted for international travel.  


Where can I take a Fit to Fly COVID test to travel?

The Fit to Fly COVID test is available at Corona Test Centre.


Corona Test Centre's Fit to Fly test is a PCR swab test that has 99.9% accuracy. The results are delivered to you in maximum one or two days by email and include:


  • The UKAS Certificate of Accreditation
  • Approval documents for abroad travel
  • Clinical validation data for the test
  • Doctor-signed test result certificate


Once the results are in, you can pack with peace of mind. The Fit to Fly test is recognised by major airlines across the world. Besides, it meets the requirements of some of the strictest destinations such as Japan, South Korea, or Hong Kong.


To get tested, make an appointment at one of the test centres in Hammersmith, Fulham, Victoria, Watford or Manchester.


Which countries can I travel to?

Every country imposes different regulations and restrictions to reduce the impact of the pandemic. Many countries now require visitors to show a negative COVID test result before they can enter.

 

Before buying flight, check the travel requirements of the country you plan to visit. The Government's Foreign Office web page is a good place to search for up to date information regarding the latest regulations. Make sure to consult it frequently, as it changes day by day.


How can I stay safe while travelling during the pandemic?

When travelling abroad, make sure to follow all the same safety precautions. Wash your hands frequently, especially after touching public surfaces, and avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth. 

 

Wear a mask at all times on the plane and respect the safe distance recommended by the flight attendants. Once at your destination, continue to act responsibly and avoid crowded places.

 

Arriving back in the UK, it's a good idea to book another test. The UK's test and release scheme is being launched in December which will mean that it may be possible to reduce the mandatory quarantine period.

 

Ready to travel for the holidays?

Before you book your trip abroad, make sure you're Fit to Fly. 


Now that you know what COVID test you need to travel, book an appointment with Corona Test Centre through our online portal. In less than 2 days, you'll get your travel certificate that complies with all travel requirements.