What are the different types of COVID-19 tests?
- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample. You send the sample for processing at a lab
- Nicking Endonuclease Amplification Reaction (NEAR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample. You send the sample for processing at a lab
- LAMP tests are similar to PCR tests, but they use another method to amplify the genetic material in your sample called real-time loop-mediated amplification (LAMP). LamPORE tests combine LAMP with rapid, portable DNA sequencing to detect COVID-19 genetic material
- TMA test: This is a Transcription-Mediated Amplification test, another molecular variant, similar to the Lamp test. It is molecular, and still needs the sample to be heat-treated to replicate any RNA but is swifter, simpler and cheaper. They are acceptable in Spain, but are not generally available in the UK
- Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests detect proteins called ‘antigens’ produced by the virus. They give rapid results, in 30 minutes after taking the test
Which test do I need for my destination?
Different countries require a negative result from different test types. Please check our Travel Requirements page for full details, broken down by destination. Where we have referenced 'PCR test' - a PCR test result will be required. Where we have referenced 'Covid' test then either a PCR, NEAR, LAMP or TMA test is acceptable.
Where can I get the test?
Click here to see a list of Government approved test providers
COVID Testing Network is a comparison platform featuring all approved PCR testing providers across the UK: https://www.covid19-testing.org/travel-testing
In-resort test providers:
Several airlines may also be able to direct you to test providers, so please check with the airline you are flying with. Popular airlines are listed below for your convenience:
How do I take a test in resort before returning home?
From 18th March 2022, all travellers (regardless of vaccination status) arriving in the UK:
- Do not need to take any COVID-19 tests before you travel or after you arrive
- Do not need to fill in a UK passenger locator form
- Do not need to quarantine when you arrive
Other countries may have rules about what you need to do to leave the country to travel to the UK. You should check travel advice for the country you are travelling from.
The above applies for travelling to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You can pre-book a test package with one of the Government approved test providers listed above. They will send you a test to take with you on holiday and book in a video call or request a photograph to validate your test. Alternatively you can book at a local test centre in resort, some of which have been listed above.
How/where do I submit my test results?
Once you have obtained a negative test result, it is important that you submit this prior to travelling. Depending on the destination you are travelling to, you may either have to complete a Passenger Locator Form or show your negative test result to the airline or at passport control.
Most countries' Passenger Locator Forms will give you a QR code once you have completed them, to show proof of the negative test result.
How do I prove my COVID-19 vaccination status?
You will need either an NHS COVID Pass through the app or an NHS letter to show proof of your vaccination status when travelling abroad.
You can download the app here.
You can request an NHS letter here.
For more information, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-status