What COVID test do I need and when?

What COVID test do I need and when for travel is a very good question and unfortunately the answer is always changing.

However, at Peak Pharmacy we try to ensure that everyone gets what they need when they need it done so a few quick pointers will help you along the way ……………….

Lets start from the top. Correct as of October 2021


Before you leave the UK, check the entry requirements of your destination country. Some will accept proof of COVID vaccination, some will accept Rapid Antigen tests (LFT) and others will want a PCR test.

Step 2

Depending on your COVID vaccination status you will need either a Day2 LFT or a Day 2 and 8 PCR test. If you are travelling to a red list country then now is the time to book your COVID quarantine hotel.

Step 3

Reentering the UK. Before embarking on a flight back to the UK you may or may not need to take a COVID test. Have a look at the government publication to help you work out what you need to do. The day you arrive back in the UK is Day 0. This is important for steps 4, 5 and 6

Step 4

The day you arrive back in the UK is Day 0.

If you are fully vaccinated then you do not need to quarantine and must undertake a Day 2 LFT test.

If you have not been vaccinated under an approved vaccine scheme then you will need to isolate and take a Day 2 and 8 test, with an optional test on Day 5 (Test to Release)

Step 5

For those who needed a Day 2 and Day 8 PCR test, take your final quarantine test on Day 8. If this comes back negative you may exit quarantine on Day 10.

Step 6 (Optional)

Want to leave quarantine early? Well, if you’ve not visited a Red List country then you can use the test to release scheme. If your Day 2 test has come back negative then you can take an additional test on Day 5. If this is also negative you can leave quarantine early, however, you still need to do the day 8 test.

COVID Test Checklist

Several weeks before departure (or as soon as possible if time is short)

  • Head to the FCO website and check the entry requirements for the destination country. Some countries want the test done a certain amount of time before arriving at the destination, others before departure. Some want PCR tests others want Rapid Antigen. Be aware this can change at very short notice!
  • Book your Fit to Fly test. Ensure you have thoroughly understood the entry requirements for the country you are visiting.

Closer to the departure date and the Fit to Fly appointment:

  • Book your Day 2 and Day 8 tests so they are ready in your home for when you return.
  • Recheck the FCO website to ensure no changes to the entry requirements have occurred since you last checked.
  • If applicable, research where you might get a COVID test done in your destination country so you are not panicking when trying to return to the UK.

At your Fit to Fly appointment:

  • Attend the appointment. It’s your responsibility to ensure you have booked the right appointment and have the correct type of test done.
  • Want to exit quarantine early? Then you also need to purchase and organise your Test to release kit. Now might be a good time to do that so that you can fill out your passenger locator form more accurately.

Around 24 hours after your Fit to Fly appointment you should get your result and certificate, just in time for your flight.

Bon Voyage!