Day 2 Test: When do I need to take my Day 2 Covid test? How much the travel test costs - and where to get one

Following changes to UK travel rules and Covid testing requirements, here's everything you need to know about getting your Day Two test after returning to the UK.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 3:19 pm
Day 2 Test: When do I need to take my day two Covid test? How much does the Covid travel test cost - and where can I get one? (Image credit: Canva Pro)

With international travel rules to and from the UK simplified following the latest UK travel update, flight bookings have already shot up in the UK and beyond as travellers look to take advantage of eased restrictions.

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But while the new travel rules mean that Day 8 Covid tests will no longer be required for those who have been fully vaccinated and are returning from non-red list destinations, Day 2 tests remain a part of the UK’s coronavirus return travel requirements.

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Here’s what you need to know about getting a Day 2 Test, including when you should take it, where you can get them and how much they are likely to cost.

What is a Day Two Covid test?

Anyone travelling to and from the UK at the moment will find that unless they are travelling to one of the seven red list destinations, for which holidays and casual travel are not permitted, they will be asked to take a PCR test after returning to the UK.

The former traffic light travel system in Scotland and across the UK required people returning from amber list countries to take a PCR test within two days of arriving back in the country, with another ‘Day 8’ test previously required several days later.

But with the traffic light system recently overhauled in favour of a simplified list of ‘go’ and ‘no-go’ travel destinations, fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK only need to take a PCR travel test within two days of arriving back in the UK.

When should I take my Day Two test?

The Day Two Covid test requirement is still causing plenty of confusion, with the name implying that it must be taken on the second day after returning to the UK.

But travellers returning to Scotland, England, Northern Ireland or Wales can take the Day Two PCR travel test within two days of their return – not necessarily on the second day.

Where can I get a Day Two test - and how much will it cost?

To ensure you can return to the UK after travelling abroad, you will need to show proof that you have booked a Day Two test with an appropriate provider.

Unlike regular PCR tests, these cannot be ordered from the UK Government website for home delivery or picked up at walk-in Covid test sites across Scotland.

Instead, you should either book your Covid-19 Day Two test via the CTM booking portal to get an NHS COVID-19 PCR test, or by visiting the UK Government’s list of private test providers located in England.

Here, you can buy tests from as little as £1.98 to be ordered for ‘self swab at home’ from the list, while booking through the CTM portal allows you to book a test for £68.

Prior to travelling back to the UK, you should have a booking reference for your Day Two test ready to display along with a completed Passenger Locator Form and proof of fully vaccinated status.

Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated must abide by different restrictions and will need to complete Day Two and Day Eight tests upon return to the UK.

Visit the Scottish Government website to find out more.

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