Planning a holiday or business trip abroad has become complicated, thanks to mandatory testing requirements in various countries. The majority of countries require people that have not been double vaccinated (within 14 days before travel) to take a Covid-19 Test. Your test needs to be within the time frame required by the country you are visiting. There are various time frames from 24 – 72 hours to take the sample before travel, depending on specific country requirements. This information can be found on the Government website for each country. Since the NHS tests are not approved for travel tests, it is up to private testing services like Covid Smart to provide travel-specific testing packages like the Fit to Fly Test, Test to release and Return to UK tests to help travellers plan their journeys safely and without stress. Before booking your Covid test, it’s advisable to check your testing requirements as double vaccinated people may not need a test on the way out of the UK depending on destination.

What Are Fit to Fly Certificates?

If you have made travel plans or booked tickets in the last few months, you may have noticed that several countries require a Fit to Fly certificate from travellers. Regardless of the type of test (Antigen or PCR) you take, you will need your test certificate to prove that you are negative to fly to your destination– often referred to as “Fit to Fly Certificate” (Apart from Asia and the Caribbean that require extra documents). It is provided by your private testing provider, who is on the Government Approved List, and works as proof that you have tested negative for Covid. Your result certificate IS your Fit to Fly Certificate and you do not need any extra documentation.

What are the Types of Tests You Can Take?

  •    Antigen Test

Antigen tests can be carried out at our clinic or by video call. Italy, Germany, the US, Portugal, France, and many others accept Antigen Tests, usually taken 48 hours before travel – check your destination and when you need your test and if your airline accepts Antigen tests. One of its biggest advantages is that it’s fast, low cost (£35), and can be carried out at home and away.

The UK allows the Antigen test to be taken 3 days before coming back to the UK. This means you can buy your test kit, take it away with you, set up a video call with our team, and forget about the stress of finding a clinic in your resort abroad! We’ll send your travel certificate via email on verification of your result, so you are all set for your return journey. You can purchase your Antigen test here.

  •    RT-PCR Test

The RT-PCR test requires processing in a government-approved lab and gives results on the same day or within 24/48 hours. Please be aware that some countries such as Spain require your test result certificate to be valid to include ARRIVAL in the destination airport and not just DEPARTURE from the UK. Please carefully calculate when you require your sample to be taken at the time of booking the test. You can book your RT-PCR test here.

What Do You Need to Do After Arriving in the UK?

Testing is not over once you have left the UK! The UK Government requires you to take mandatory tests on arrival back home. Depending on which country you are returning from and whether it is in the Green or Amber list, you’ll be required to take Day 2 and/or Day 8 tests.

For vaccinated people returning from Green list or Amber list destinations, that need to take Day 2 Test only – we send the testing kit to your home with pre-paid packaging so you can send it back to the lab. You’ll get results on the same day if the lab receives the sample by 1 pm or the next day if received after 1 pm.

For non-vaccinated people returning from Amber list destinations, Day 2 and Day 8 tests are mandatory. You can book your Day 2 and Day 2/8 tests here.

Day 5 Tests are in addition to Day 2/8 and are used on return from Amber list countries if you are not double vaccinated and if you need to isolate for 10 days. You can take this Test to Release on Day 5 after arrival to shorten isolation time and get results on the same day in the clinic. You can book this test here.

Why is Covid Testing essential?

The UK has managed to fully vaccinate more than 50% of its population, with nearly 85% of the total population having received at least one dose. However, not all countries have managed to vaccinate such a large proportion of their population. Testing assists to keep people safe here and abroad. The mandatory tests once you have arrived back in the UK are used for surveillance of incoming Covid variants and to protect and develop the ongoing vaccination program that we need in the months and years to come.

How Can Covid Smart Help?

Covid Smart is a government-listed private testing service that offers all types of travel-specific Covid testing packages which include outbound flight tests, test to release and the mandatory return to the UK tests. You can learn more about all our testing packages here.