Here’s what we know about the UK’s switch to PCR testing on day 2

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Today the guidelines for day 2 testing have been changed by the UK government. We update this article with the latest information as we receive it.

A lot of people aren’t traveling right now because they just don’t want to deal with all the hassle and expense of COVID-19 testing. UK rules can be confusing, especially since the government often changes them in the short term.

But travel is still allowed to and from the UK, so read on to make sure you know the rules and how to follow them.

What you need to know about Day 2 testing – and when it should be booked

  • Anyone arriving in the UK, whether vaccinated or not, must take a day 2 test
  • As of November 29, this test must be a PCR test. You must self-isolate until you have tested negative.

  • You will need your booking reference for your passenger tracking form, which can be completed up to 48 hours before your flight.

  • Therefore, you need to book your day 2 test before arriving at the airport to catch your flight to UK

What’s the rule change?

Previously, since October 24, an antigen or lateral flow test was allowed. However, today (November 27) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that this would revert to previous directives.

Note that the the green and orange lists have been removed on October 4, 2021. The red list was also removed entirely in October, but as of this week 10 countries have been re-added to the list.

You can find out more about it here.

The trick most people don’t know

Despite the name, you can actually take the test on or before day 2. This rule is listed on the UK government website here.

This means that you can get tested as soon as you arrive in the UK. Most airports have testing centers, and having it on your arrival means you don’t have to worry about doing it on day 2. You can also do it on the way home from the airport or the next day. .

Remember: Day 0 is the day you arrive in the UK, then the next day is Day 1, and so on.

How do I get a day 2 test?

There are many different companies through which you can book a test online. But not all test providers are created equal.

In terms of private providers, some companies offer mail-in-home options or in-person testing. The government has a how-to guide on the test that might be right for you here.

Remember to make your reservation online in time to put the reservation reference, which you will receive by email, on your passenger tracking form.

Which testing companies should you avoid?

There are some businesses you might want to avoid, at least for now.

On September 24, the UK Competition and Markets Authority revealed it was investigating Dante Labs for failing to deliver tests or test results on time or at all, failing to respond to customer complaints , refused or delayed payment of refunds and have unfair terms. The results of their investigation will be released in due course.

Don’t worry, however, if you’re already using Dante for testing. Your results will always be accepted as valid.

The other testing company under investigation is Expert Medicals.

They are also being investigated for failing to submit tests and results, failing to respond to customer complaints, and refusing to issue refunds when due.

You can find the list of government approved test providers here.

Who should I contact for more information?

The UK Citizens Advice Bureau can help via their website.

You can also send an email [email protected] for more advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many of our readers have questions about UK travel requirements.

We pose these questions to the departments responsible for the rules. Their answers are below.

I was not asked for proof of a negative test, PLF or day 2 test booking when I arrived in the UK. Who is responsible for verifying this?

According to the government, airlines are responsible for verifying that passengers follow guidelines.

What should I do with my day 2 test results if they are negative?

“There are no specific reporting guidelines as it is done by the labs, but passengers must self-isolate for 10 days if they receive a positive test result,” the spokesperson said.

Does this apply to travelers entering the UK from Ireland?

In theory, Irish and UK citizens traveling between the UK and Ireland are not considered “international travelers” due to the common travel area.

At this time, these guidelines have not changed and UK or Irish citizens traveling from Ireland to the UK are not required to complete a Passenger Tracking Form (PLF) or take a COVID-19 PCR test. .

However, non-UK and non-Irish citizens entering the UK will likely still need a PLF test and a PCR test.

Advice on this is still changing, so we recommend that you contact your travel provider for clarity.


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