Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Required to Enter England

Last updated: 19th July 2021


To enter England from abroad, you will need to have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test before travelling to England. The test must be taken within 72 hours of your departure, and failure to produce a negative test certificate may result in you being unable to board your ferry.


If you arrive in England without proof of a negative test result you are committing a criminal offence and could be fined £500. Everyone travelling to England must follow these guidelines, including UK citizens.

What type of coronavirus (COVID-19) test can I use to travel to England?

Acceptable COVID-19 tests for travel to England include:

  • a nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests

  • an antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device

Where information about providers of tests is available locally, the government’s FCDO travel advice pages will be updated with this information, so check the country that is relevant to you.

The test you take must meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml. It is your responsibility to ensure that your chosen test meets these requirements.

Your test result must be written in English, Spanish, or French. Translations will not be accepted, and you must be able to produce the original certificate that states you have tested negative. This can be in the form of a printed copy or as a text message or email. The certificate must include the following information:

  • your name, which should match the name on your travel documents

  • your date of birth or age

  • the result of the test

  • the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider

  • the name of the test provider and their contact details

  • the name of the test device

Are there any exemptions?

You are exempt from taking a coronavirus (COVID-19) test before travelling to England if:

  • You are under 11 years old

  • You’re travelling for urgent medical treatment or are accompanying someone who is travelling for urgent medical treatment, and it is not reasonably practicable for you to obtain a negative COVID-19 test in the 3 days before departure
  • If you have a medical condition which means you cannot take a test – you must present a note from a medical practitioner at check in and to Border Force staff on arrival in England
  • If your journey to England starts in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Ascension, Falkland Islands or St Helena
  • There are also some occupations which are exempt. Please check the list on the government website.

Self-isolating on your return to England

From 19th July 2021, updated rules will be in place for entry in to England regarding the red, amber, green lists. What you must do when you arrive in to England from abroad depends on where you have been in the 10 days before you arrive and your vaccination status. Find out more by visiting our traffic light system page or the site. 


Read more about having to produce a negative coronavirus test result before travelling to England on the government's website or visit our Essential Travel Information page for the latest entry requirements in to England.


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