1. Find out which type of Covid-19 test you need

 

Our travel advice pages have all the latest entry requirements for all the destinations we fly to, including which types of Covid-19 tests will be accepted.  For example, NHS test results should not be used for travel, and some countries we fly to don't accept the results from self administered tests.

 

Travel advice

 

Know your antigens from your antibodies?

Get a better understanding of the requirements by reading our Covid-19 jargon buster.

2. Choose where you want to get tested

 

We’ve secured tests at discounted prices that can be taken either at home or in person.

Check our travel advice pages to make sure you choose the type of test accepted by the country you're travelling to.

Self-tests at home

 

Fast and convenient results from the safety of home.

 

Using self-test kits at home is a safe and convenient option for customers wishing to visit many of our destinations. 

 

Check whether self-tests are accepted by the country you're travelling to

Purchase your self-test kit online and it will be delivered to your door.

 

Simply follow the clear instructions to complete the test and post it off to the lab using the included return envelope. You'll be notified of the result within 24 hours of the lab receiving your sample.

   

 Home self-testing providers

 

       In the UK, Prenetics offer convenient home testing bundles including all the tests you need for travel. Order by 2pm for next day delivery.

Order your home testing kit from Prenetics

 

       In the US, Azova offer a convenient US-UK home testing bundle including all the tests you need for a return trip.

Order your home testing kit from Azova

 Observed self-tests

Some countries require self-tests to be observed by a clinician.

 

       Project Screen offer Observed PCR Self-Tests via a Telehealth consultation at home and are suitable for travel to the USA.

Observed PCR tests for £60

 

Project Screen also operates PODs throughout the UK, offering Observed Self-Tests from £79. Project Screen Home test samples can also be dropped off at POD locations and will arrive at the lab same day at no extra cost. Opening hours are from 9-12pm and 1-4pm Mon-Fri.

Project Screen POD locations

   

Rapid in-person testing at selected airports

 

A growing number of airports are offering a streamlined travel experience with on-site testing, providing accurate results while you wait for your flight.

 

Capacity is limited, so make sure you book in advance and have a confirmed appointment before heading to the airport.

 

Check our travel advice pages to find out which type of test is required by the country you're visiting.

Check our travel advice to find out which tests are accepted by the country you're travelling to and whether the required test can be completed at the airport you're flying from.

 

Due to the limited testing capacity at airports, we highly recommend booking an appointment in advance and arriving early at the airport to allow the extra time you need for your test to be processed.

 

The test itself only takes a few minutes. You’ll be directed to a booth where a medical professional will perform a nose and throat swab.

 

After the test, you may leave the test centre - You'll be notified by email when your results are ready to collect.

   

 Airport testing providers

 

       ExpressTest offer Rapid Antigen tests at London Heathrow Results within 30 mins. The price is £34 with promo code VIRGIN21. ExpressTest also offer a Day 2 test that can be taken when you arrive at the airport from a green list country.

Book your appointment with ExpressTest

 

       XpresCheck offer Rapid Molecular NAAT and PCR tests at Boston, New York JFK, San Francisco and Seattle airports. Results in under an hour. Prices from $200.

Book your appointment with XpresCheck

 

       Collinson offer Rapid Antigen and Antibody tests at Manchester airport for £40, with results within 60mins.  LAMP tests are also available for £85, with results within 120mins. 

Register for your appointment with Collinson

   

3. Get ready to fly

 

Complete your test in the 3 days before your international flight and receive your fit-to-fly certificate.

 

You must carry proof of your negative test results with you throughout your journey, as it will be needed at check in and when you arrive in your destination.

 

If you're travelling between the UK and Barbados or the USA, you can choose to upload your test certificate to speed up check in at the airport.

Covid-19 testing jargon buster

 

With so many different requirements and test providers to choose from, it can difficult to know where to start. So we've sorted out the antigens from the antibodies to help you book the right test with one of our trusted partners.

 

There are three main testing methods that look for different elements of the virus. Generally, the longer it takes to process the test results, the more accurate it is.

The most accurate method is to look for molecular or genetic signs of the coronavirus.

This type of test is often called PCR (polymerase chain reaction) or LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification)

LAMP tests are typically conducted onsite and results can be returned within a couple of hours.

PCR tests can take up to 48 hours as they must be processed in a lab, but offer very reliable results and are the most common test required for international travel.

As the name suggests, rapid tests don't require a lab for processing and offer the fastest results. This method looks for proteins from the virus rather than molecular or genetic indicators.

Rapid tests are often called Antigen or Lateral Flow tests and provide results in under 30 minutes.

This method is less accurate and should only be used as a guide - A positive result should be followed by a PCR test for confirmation.

 

This method checks if you have immunity against Covid-19 but can't tell you if you currently have the virus.

This method is often called an Antibody test because it looks for antibodies in your blood from a vaccine or having previously fought off the Covid-19 infection.

While test results can be turned around very quickly, antibody testing is not typically used to screen people before travelling to another country.