If you’re a British traveler and you’re planning on taking a trip anytime soon, you may need a PCR test for travel in the UK.
The NHS recommends not traveling unless it is strictly necessary. However, there are already many countries where UK citizens can travel now. Therefore, we want to help you find where to get a COVID-19 test for traveling in the UK. Currently, the molecular (PCR) swab test is the most accurate, and it’s the only one that all airlines/countries accept.
If you need a quick Fit to Fly certificate for British tourists, the best (the fastest and most reliable) option is Medicspot. However, in this guide, you’ll find other pre-travel COVID-19 test options across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
On another note, it’s worth mentioning rapid tests, which are becoming more popular. While these tests can produce results within a few minutes, they’re not always the most reliable, and many countries don’t accept them.
Keep in mind that free COVID tests are usually reserved for sick or asymptomatic individuals that have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. If you’re getting a coronavirus test for travel, you may have to pay out-of-pocket.
Finally, don’t forget to purchase travel insurance that covers COVID. Many countries already require this type of coverage, but even if your destination doesn’t, it’s essential for ensuring you’re covered if you get sick while abroad.
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Best places to get an in-person PCR test for UK Travelers
Different locations in the United Kingdom are more prevalent in testing locations. This guide will tell you where to find a PCR test for travel in the UK, as well as Fit to Fly certificates for UK tourists.
COVID-19 test for travel – across the UK
There are a few major clinics offering PCR tests and travel certificates. Medicspot, Boots pharmacies, Wren Healthcare, and Vivo clinics operate across the UK.
Several government-approved providers and labs are opening walk-through testing centers, but you should check the ones near you to be sure they offer COVID tests for tourists in the UK. Moreover, double-check that they offer Fit to Fly certificates so that you can travel to your destination.
Medicspot is the best laboratory where you can take a PCR test in the UK right now. It has dozens of COVID test hubs throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Not only is Medicspot a government-approved provider, but it also works with a UKAS-accredited lab and issues Fit to Fly certificates.
Plus, their instant store collection and mail-in services reduce your risk of exposure. Simply schedule a time to pick up your testing kit at one of the hubs, then drop off your nasal swab at the same location. Or, get the kit delivered to your door and mail it in with the priority return label.
Both tests cost £149, and you’ll receive your results in 12 or 48 hours and a Fit to Fly clearance certificate at no cost. They will even include your passport number on your fit to fly certificate as this is required by some countries. This is why we consider it the best place to get a PCR COVID test for travel in the UK.
You should book your test here.
Boots has over 2,300 stores across the UK, although not all of them are offering COVID-19 tests for travel. Their PCR swab tests are available for asymptomatic individuals for £120 and appointments should be booked on this website.
The results take about 48 hours to arrive through email, and you will be able to download your results certificate. This certificate is approved by most countries, however, it’s not a fit to fly certificate, so check if the country where you’re traveling to accepts results from Boots’ labs.
3. Wren Healthcare
Wren Healthcare has clinics across the United Kingdom, and it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a PCR test in London for travel. The cheapest test costs £145, with results arriving within 48 hours of reaching the lab.
There is also a £170 test that provides results within 24 hours of receipt and a £300 test with next-day results by 5 a.m. All the tests, which you can find here, include a UK Fit to Fly certificate.
4. Vivo Clinics
There are Vivo clinics all over England, and you can find the nearest one here. They offer in-clinic tests for £149 or, for £249, you can get next-day results. There is even a fit-to-travel PCR test with same-day results for £289.
You can also opt for a mail-in COVID test for traveling, as Vivo can deliver anywhere in the UK, including Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It costs £109 and, like all the other test options, it includes a Fit to Fly certificate.
Best UK labs to get a quick PCR test for travel
Results turnaround time
|WHERE TO GET A COVID-19 TEST FOR TRAVEL IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
The list of clinics where you can get a quick PCR COVID test for travel in the UK is changing as the pandemic progresses. We’ll keep updating this list as new centers start testing for traveling purposes.
COVID-19 test for travel – country by country
The labs we have mentioned above operate nationwide, but they can quickly become overcrowded or may be too far for some residents. If you’re looking for travel clearance COVID testing near you and Medicspot doesn’t have a clinic in your area, there are some region-specific clinics to consider.
If you’re looking to schedule a test, one option is to search for a PCR test and Fit to Fly certificate near you. However, it’s easier to check our list of travel clearance COVID testing sites across the UK.
Where to get a PCR test for travel in England
These are the best labs where you can get a PCR test for travel in England:
- London: You can go to DocTap for a PCR test for travel in London. The cost is £139 or, for next-day results, £149. For an extra £15, you can have a healthcare professional perform the test for you.
- Birmingham: For a PCR test for travel in Birmingham, check out Midland Health. The on-site test costs £185, while the home testing kit costs £150. Results arrive via email in 24-36 hours and include a Fit to Fly certificate.
- Bristol: There are mail-in PCR tests for travel in Bristol at the CityDoc Redcliff Hill and Avonmouth locations. The cost is £150, and the results take about 72 hours.
- Leeds: The Whitehall Clinic is doing PCR tests for travel in Leeds for £175. The results take about 24 hours, and clients will also receive a Fit to Fly certificate.
- Leicester: You can get a Medicspot PCR test for travel at Leicester’s Medicine Box Pharmacy. Clients can pick up a testing kit (£149), do a self-swab test, and return the sample. Results arrive within 48 hours and include a Fit to Fly certificate.
- Liverpool: The Ghosh Medical private clinic does PCR tests for travel in Liverpool for £175. The results arrive in 48 hours.
- Manchester: The London Doctors Clinic is mailing PCR tests for travel in Manchester for £189, including postage. The kit arrives in 1-2 days, and the results take 72 hours or less upon reaching the lab. The clinic also offers a Fit to Fly certificate, but it costs an extra £25.
- Nottingham: Individuals can order a PCR test for travel in Nottingham from Horizon Blue Medicals. Their testing kit (£139) will ship on the same day if ordered before 1 pm. Customers can send their sample back via mail or drop it off at the lab.
- Sheffield: For a mail-in PCR test for travel in Sheffield, Qured offers kits for £119. Clients can expect the results in 24 hours upon reaching the lab. Fit to Fly certificates are included.
Where to get a PCR test for travel in Northern Ireland
- Belfast: Masta offers Fit to Fly certificates and PCR tests for travel in Belfast at its pharmacies and clinics. The price is £145 and covers the certificate.
Vitalis Health is another option in Belfast for a PCR test for travel. The test can be done on-site, or individuals can opt for a take-home kit. The cost is £195, and the results and Fit to Fly certificate take about 24 hours.
Where to get a PCR test for travel in Scotland
There are also some other options to get a PCR COVID test for travel in Scotland:
- Edinburgh: Newington Pharmacy, in partnership with Randox, has PCR tests for travel in Edinburgh. The at-home testing kits cost £150, while on-site swab tests cost £175.
- Glasgow: Glasgow Medical Rooms is doing PCR tests for travel in Glasgow at its two local clinics. The cost is £150 and results typically take 48 hours.
Where to get a PCR test for travel in Wales
- Cardiff: Nomad has a travel clinic offering COVID testing for travel clearance in Cardiff. The swab test costs £195 and includes a Fit to Fly certificate. The results arrive within 48 hours.
- Swansea: The Independent General Practice provides PCR tests for travel in Swansea, as well as Cardiff. Both the in-clinic and at-home tests cost £145, with next-day results.
Best places to get a mail-in PCR COVID test for travel in the UK
Some people may prefer a mail-in COVID test for traveling, especially if they live far from a clinic or fall under the high-risk category, and don’t want to risk getting sick from a public lab.
Fortunately, there are at-home COVID tests for tourists in the UK that you can mail in.
MedicSpot has at-home COVID testing for traveling across England and in Scotland and Wales. The kits cost £149, and the results arrive within 48 hours, along with a Fit to Fly certificate.
CityDoc offers mail-in COVID tests for traveling, but the results take 3-5 days, so plan accordingly. The at-home test kits cost £150 and will arrive via postal service.
Nomad, a travel specialist health company, also has an at-home test kit that you can receive in the mail. The cost is £160, which includes a Fit to Fly certificate.
Best UK airports to get a PCR test before your trip
There are several UK airports with COVID-19 testing facilities. Below are the major airports offering pre-flight COVID-19 tests for travelers.
The Heathrow Airport is accepting appointments at its in-terminal testing center. A PCR test for travel starts at £99, and results arrive within 48 hours. The airport also offers drive-thru tests with next-day results starting at £80.
There is an ExpressTest drive-thru facility at the South Terminal Long Stay Car Park at Gatwick Airport. A Boots store is also in the South Terminal and is open for pre-booked PCR tests for travel. The cost is £60.
There is an ExpressTest facility at the Edinburgh Airport, as well as an NHS testing facility on campus. This PCR test for travel costs £80 for passengers and £99 for the general public, and results arrive in 48-96 hours.
Individuals can get a £99 PCR test and Fit to Fly certificates at Manchester Airport‘s Terminal 1. An appointment is required, and results arrive in 24-48 hours.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport
The Glasgow Prestwick Airport, in partnership with Sodexo, has a drive-thru testing facility at Car Park 4. The test costs £150 and includes a UK Fit to Fly certificate.
The Aberdeen Airport offers COVID testing for travel clearance on the East Side of the Airport on Wellheads Drive. Appointments are required, and tests start at £99.
East Midlands Airport
The East Midlands Airport, in partnership with Collinson, is doing PCR tests for travel at the Arrivals Terminal. The test costs £99, and the results come in 24-48 hours. An appointment is required.
EasyJet has partnered with Confirm Testing to offer passengers PCR tests for travel for £75, but they must book it in advance. The airline is also providing CityDoc home testing kits for £100 and Randox Health mail-in COVID tests for traveling for £72.
Best tips to get a quick pre-travel COVID-19 test for UK travelers
Before making an appointment to get a quick pre-travel COVID test for travel, check out these tips:
- Remember that the molecular PCR test is currently the most accurate test and the only one that most countries and airlines accept.
- Make a plan and schedule your PCR test at the right time. If it’s too early, you risk contracting the virus before your trip. However, if it’s too late, you won’t have the test results in time.
- Be aware that your insurance may not cover a COVID test for travel. Plan to pay out-of-pocket and budget accordingly.
- Some travelers may prefer to schedule their PCR tests with two or more labs to ensure they receive a test result in time for their trip.
- Opt for a mail-in COVID test, if possible, to minimize exposure to the virus.
- Be prepared for any additional tests you’ll have to take at the airport. Some airlines require a second test, while others don’t.
- Double-check whether your destination requires a negative PCR test and a Fit to Fly certificate. You should also review the quarantine requirements for travelers. We have written about that topic in our article on countries open for tourism.
- If you’re short on time and need a quick test, look for a mobile or walk-through testing site.
- Add enough time to your schedule so you can quarantine before your flight, if necessary.
- Gather all the necessary paperwork, including Fit to Fly certificates and PCR test results. Check if your destination requires physical copies or if digital is okay.
If you still have any questions about COVID testing for travel clearance, you’ll probably find the answer in these FAQs below.
The molecular PCR test detects the presence of genetic material related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). This is an entry requirement in many countries for travelers from the United Kingdom.
Those who are experiencing COVID symptoms or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 should get tested. Moreover, if you plan to travel, be aware that most countries require a negative PCR test.
You can find a clinic or airport near you to get an in-person test for travel (Medicspot, Boots, etc.) or order a mail-in kit from one of the clinics that offer this service.
Most countries require a UK Fit to Fly certificate. However, not all clinics provide this certificate, so double-check the clinics near you.
Most countries require the molecular PCR test, not the antibody or rapid test. Each country has different entry requirements, so you should check with the country that you are visiting before your trip.
Pricing varies depending on your insurance coverage. Keep in mind that many insurance companies won’t cover a non-essential test, so plan accordingly for out-of-pocket costs. Tests typically range from £99 to £300.
Several clinics offer PCR tests for travel in the UK, including Medicspot, Boots, Wren Healthcare, and Vivo Clinics. There are also several airports providing walk-through testing hubs.
You can also request a mail-in COVID test for traveling from Medicspot or one of the options listed in this guide.
I hope this guide to PCR tests and travel certificates in the UK helps you prepare for your trip.
Be sure to plan enough time for your test and follow the proper COVID-19 regulations before, during, and after your trip. If you have any questions about where to get a COVID-19 test for traveling in the UK, leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to help.