Since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, traveling in and out of several countries has not been the same. Many countries have had to place traveling restrictions to curb the rampant spread of the virus. Worse even, several mutations and the emergence of new coronavirus strains mean that more stringent traveling measures are now in place as you travel. Although the entry of coronavirus vaccines is giving people hope, it is fair to say the war against the pandemic is not yet over.  The UK was among the big casualties of the early waves of the COVID 19 pandemic. It is no surprise it has issued a number of travel restrictions.

For example, whether you are a UK citizen or a foreigner, traveling into the UK requires that you provide your COVID test results. Only those with negative test results can step on the UK soil. This is the new norm and anyone traveling or planning to travel to the UK must adhere to this COIVID test requirements. Let’s tell you more about traveling to the UK and the COVID test requirements.

Mandatory Test 3 Days before Travelling


Before boarding service for the UK, you are required to provide the COVID-19 test results for the past 72hrs. Without the COVID 19 results, you cannot be allowed to board that service.  So if you are planning to travel to the UK, you need to get tested three days before taking that flight or service. For example, if you are traveling on a Friday, you should take your COVID test on Tuesday. If your journey is long and you will stop in other countries, take tests in the country immediately before taking the final service to England. Remember the test must be done three days before the journey. For example, if you are traveling through Austria then Belgium, you need to take your tests in Belgium 3 days before traveling to the UK. If the results turn out to be negative, then you have a green light to board the service. However, a positive COVID-19 result locks you out of the UK.

Type of Tests Required

Before taking a COVID-19 test, first, check that your test provider meets the pre-departure testing standards. The COVID-19 virus mutation has called for rapid and effective testing. You cannot just go to any test provider and expect to be allowed to the UK. The test provider should meet the pre-departure testing threshold. Otherwise, your test results, irrespective of being negative, won’t be accepted. For any COVID test to be considered okay, the respective test provider must meet specific test standards. The specificity and sensitivity at viral loads of above 100,000 copies/ml should be greater or equal to 97% and 80%, respectively. The nucleic acid tests and antigen tests are some of the tests that meet this requirement.  It is your responsibility to ensure that the test provider meets these standards of specificity and sensitivity at the given viral loads.

Test Result Information


Before boarding the respective service to the UK, you must avail the test results with the required information. For a test result to pass the test, certain information must be included. First, the required COVID-19 test results should be written in either English, French, or Spanish. Translations are not accepted. The original test result notification must be provided and should include your correct names, date of birth or age, test result, the date the test samples were received by the respective test provider, the name and contacts of the test provider, and the confirmation of the device used for testing. Without these details on your test result notification, you might not be able to board the service to the UK. However, if you manage to board, you might be hit with a £500 fine.

Providing Proof of Negative Test Results

When you receive your negative test results, you need to present them in an acceptable format. As per the UK regulations, you can provide your negative test results in two ways. You can either submit it as a printed document or as an email or text message. For the email or text message, you can show them the results on your phone. It is, therefore, important that your device has sufficient power. If you do not provide proof of your negative test results, you might not be able to board the respective service to the UK. However, if you manage to board, you are risking a £500 fine upon arrival.



It is not mandatory for everyone to take tests before traveling to the UK. If you are traveling from some countries or territories like Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Falkland Islands, the Isle of Man, Jersey, St Helena, and Ascension or Myanmar, you don’t need to take a test. Also, children below the age of 11, people traveling with urgent medical reasons, people with medical conditions preventing them from taking the COVID-19 test, and those doing some jobs like haulers, border and customs, and civil aviation inspectors, among others, are exempted.

Wrapping up

Whether you are vaccinated, traveling from a country or territory on the green list, or a UK citizen, you need to take a coronavirus test before traveling to the UK. These COVID test requirements are mandatory, and breaching them might attract a massive fine. It will also make your life harder on transit. So if you are planning to travel to the UK, make sure you adhere to these COVID test requirements to avoid issues with authorities.