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Requirement for a negative Covid-19 test before travelling back to England & Scotland

Updated 14th January 2021

From 4am on 18 January 2021, people travelling to England or Scotland (whether you reside in the UK or not) will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result taken no more than three days before the scheduled time of travel to England/Scotland.

No matter which country you are travelling from, you must provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test.

Failure to provide such a test may result in your being denied boarding on your flight home and delay your return to the UK, at your expense.

You will need to find a test provider. You must make sure that the test provider can meet the standards for pre-departure testing.
The test must:

  • meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml
  • this could include tests such as:
  • a nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests
  • an antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device

 You are responsible for ensuring the test meets the minimum standards for sensitivity, specificity and viral load details. You must check with the test provider that it meets the standards listed above.

As stated before, failure to meet these standards could mean you are not able to travel back to the UK.

Where information about providers of tests is available locally, FCDO travel advice pages will be updated with this information. If you need consular assistance you should contact the nearest consulate, embassy or high commission.
If you take your test in the UK, ahead of a return journey of less than 3 days, you must use a private test provider. You cannot use an NHS Test and Trace test.

Your test result must be in either:

1.)    English

2.)    French   or

3.)    Spanish

Translations will not be accepted.

The original test certificate MUST be provided.

The test certificate MUST include the following information:     

  • your name, which should match the name on your travel documents
  • your date of birth or age
  • the result of the test
  • the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
  • the name of the test provider and their contact details
  • the name of the test device

If the test result does not contain this information, you may be unable to board your flight and therefore return to England/Scotland.

Failure to return to England without a test result is a criminal offence and could lead to a £500 fine.

More details can be found using the links below. Please remember, it is your responsibility to source a test that conforms to all of the rules and regulations as stated by the Government. 
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-health-checks-at-borders/