PCR Testing: How and where can I get a PCR test to travel?

·3-min read
<p>A guide to PCR tests</p> (PA Wire)

A guide to PCR tests

(PA Wire)

Holidaymakers in England are permitted to travel abroad from May 17 under step three of the lockdown roadmap.

Overseas travel will return under a traffic light system with countries split into three categories – green, amber or red – depending on their risk level in relation to Covid-19.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made the highly anticipated announcement during a Downing Street press conference on May 7.

The 12 countries on the green list will come with the least restrictions, with no need to quarantine.

However, many countries will still require a negative PCR test result upon entry and all travellers returning to England are required to take at least one PCR test.

With the 'grand retour' of foreign holidays just around the corner, here is everything you need to know about how, where and when to take a PCR test.

What is a PCR test?

PCR Covid tests are one of two free options available to check if you have Covid-19.

Unlike rapid flow tests which can give a result from home within 30 minutes, PCR tests must be sent to a lab to be checked.

Each test involves taking a swab sample from the back of your throat and inside your nose using a long cotton bud.

Results are considered to be more accurate and are produced within five working days via phone call or text message.

How and Where to get a PCR test

Travellers need to pay for PCR tests privately and should not get a free NHS test.

A list of hundreds of providers is available on the government’s website.

How much does a PCR test cost?

The cost of a PCR test can range from between £100 and £500.

Among providers listed on the government’s website, Nationwide partnered with Testing For All is the cheapest at £105.

Boots and Superdrug both offer PCR tests, priced at £99 and £120 respectively.

Alternatively, some airlines and companies offer PCR tests at more luring prices with some costing just £60.

Which countries require a PCR test?

If you are travelling abroad, you might need to take a test before jetting off on holiday.

Many countries require a negative Covid test result upon arrival. Check entry requirements for your destination of choice for further information.

Holiday test packages need to be booked well in advance to give providers enough time to arrange delivery and return.

When returning to England, all travellers must take a PCR test, including UK citizens and even if you have already been vaccinated.

This must be taken in the three days before you set out on your return journey.

People heading to England from amber and red list countries must take a test before travel and again on day two and eight of quarantine.

Those travelling from green list countries must take a Covid test before travel and again on or before day two after arrival.

Arriving in England without proof of a negative test could result in a £500 fine.

How to provide proof of a negative test result

Test results can be provided:

  • As a printed document

  • Via email or text message which can be shown via your phone

Where to take your PCR test

Tests can be taken:

  • In the place where you start your journey

  • In another country on your way to England, if you are travelling via another country.

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