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Started by vodkaandcoke2 on Nov 30, 2021 1:49:21 AM
So how quickly can you get a PCR test and result when you arrive in the UK?

I have a friend arriving in the UK in December and they only have a couple of weeks here. So they want to get the PCR covid test done and a result as quickly as possible.

They will probably isolate in their hotel room (I think) until they get a result, but obviously they don't want to be locked down for too long. It's really hard getting info about this. Any shortcuts?

vodkaandcoke2 - 30 Nov 2021 02:02:52 (#1 of 27)

Also, how does the day 2 test thing work?

Does the test have to be on day 2, or just before day 2?

This page seems to think that "You can take one of these tests once you have cleared security." Does that mean immediately?

vodkaandcoke2 - 30 Nov 2021 02:21:06 (#2 of 27)

Ah, it seems you can get a test as soon as you land.

"Despite the name, you can actually do the test on or before day 2. This rule is stated on the UK government website here." "This means that you can get tested as soon as you land in the UK. Most airports have testing centres, and getting it done when you arrive means you don’t need to worry about doing it on your actual day 2"

hailesaladdie - 30 Nov 2021 08:03:30 (#3 of 27)

This is quite a good explainer for the various options. Worth getting a recommendation, as it's a bit wild westy out there.

Sabacious - 30 Nov 2021 08:52:17 (#4 of 27)

I also have a friend arriving in December, although she’s probably now going to cancel due to all the faff. There are companies at the major airports who will test you and promise a four hour turnaround (expensive) or result within 36 hours (less expensive). Now you have to self-isolate until the test result so I imagine the former are going to be increasingly popular and I wonder if they will still be able to fulfil that turnaround time or will be overwhelmed.

As Haile says it does seem a bit Wild West, I wouldn’t know which company to recommend.

hailesaladdie - 30 Nov 2021 10:13:41 (#5 of 27)

Unfortunately (given their relationship with the current administration) Randox seems to come out as one of the most reliable.

vodkaandcoke2 - 30 Nov 2021 13:21:27 (#6 of 27)

The 3-4 hour tests are apparently not currently accepted according to one of the sites I looked at earlier.

Catspyjamas17 - 30 Nov 2021 13:22:57 (#7 of 27)

Also how do you self-isolate if you take an early flight and can't check in until 2pm? How can you isolate at an airport?

spartak - 30 Nov 2021 13:26:29 (#8 of 27)

Planning to visit my mum in Scotland for the first time in 2 years next March. The posts here are already more helpful than Many thanks and I’ll stay subscribed.

vodkaandcoke2 - 30 Nov 2021 13:27:37 (#9 of 27)

Communication isn’t this government’s strong point.

As opposed to grifting.

quattrobhoy - 30 Nov 2021 13:54:19 (#10 of 27)

My experience was with a Lateral Flow test. It works as below...

  • Passenger MUST complete a Passenger Locator Form prior to flying (UK Immigration stipulates within 48 hours of SCHEDULED ARRIVAL time).
  • PLF contains flight/registered address/mobile/passport/vaccination/associated (and already ordered/supplied to destination) test details.
  • PLF MUST be shown in order be issued with boarding pass and to board plane.

UK Immigration therefore assumes all is in order with passenger upon arrival. This meant very little queuing in the arrival hall.

Once at the registered address...

  • Passenger must take the test that was supplied
  • Passenger must register result (photo of passport and LF test) with with PLF details on supplier's site. Supplier is accredited to accept this
  • Test supplier verifies test (looks at picture) and (presumably) validates the other associated info in PLF; notifies UK Immigration; responds to passenger with certified result.

We had our LFTs supplied before departure abroad. We took them the morning following our late evening arrival, and we had our certified results, by email, within two hours.

The major difference is that a PCR test is not all done at home. It is a lab test using the material swabbed from each passenger's nose. Therefore the post collection process is likely to be to send the PCR to the supplier, await the lab result (while isolating at home) and then, when released as clear, to continue what you had planned. There will be logistical delays due to shipping and processing.

The only likely complication - other than a positive test - is for a fellow passenger to have a positive test which might necessitate a further PCR test (which a friend who returned the the UK a couple of weeks ago had to take following contract from Test & Trace) to confirm no infection from travelling on the plane.

hailesaladdie - 30 Nov 2021 15:09:42 (#11 of 27)

> Therefore the post collection process is likely to be to send the PCR to the supplier, await the lab result (while isolating at home) and then, when released as clear, to continue what you had planned.

There's a couple of options - some testing companies have sites at airports which you are allowed to visit on arrival. Some have local sites - not sure on the validity of visiting these. Some offer courier pick-up at a specific time, and most seem to offer results by the end of the following day. Some remote tests need to be done over Zoom, to show you're doing it properly and that you are the person taking the test, but I'm not sure if these fall into that category.

solomongursky - 30 Nov 2021 15:18:31 (#12 of 27)

How can you isolate at an airport?

Maga hat.

jayemdee - 04 Jan 2022 03:13:26 (#13 of 27)

When I visited the UK from the US for three weeks in October/November I went on the government website and booked my pcr tests at one of the recommended clinics, which luckily weren't far from where I was staying. Cost £100 each time, but were quick and I got the results the next day.

CaptainBlack - 04 Jan 2022 09:41:28 (#14 of 27)

You're only allowed to get one privately. NHS not good enough. It's a racket.

Ginmonkey - 04 Jan 2022 09:47:14 (#15 of 27)

Why should the NHS fund people's optional travel choices?

Travel PCRs should be private.

quattrobhoy - 06 Jan 2022 10:43:51 (#16 of 27)

Now going to become privately organised Lateral Flow Tests again.

  • Have it delivered before you depart.
  • Complete the Passenger Locator Form within the 48 hours in advance of your scheduled flight arrival time
  • Go home
  • Take test as per instructions
  • Send off image of result
  • Await confirmation of result.
Our negative LFTs were approved in a couple of hours, after which we were free to live our lives normally.

hailesaladdie - 06 Jan 2022 10:54:13 (#17 of 27)


Pre-departure testing and isolation requirements removed.

Tinymcsmithy - 06 Jan 2022 11:01:05 (#18 of 27)


Because there’s this pandemic thing going on and poor people want to visit their family as well.

I mean, Libertarianism has some interesting aspects, but this is the kind of situation where it becomes daft.

cozzer - 06 Jan 2022 11:08:36 (#19 of 27)

So they can afford to pay for an air ticket, but not for a PCR test?

HouseOfLametta - 06 Jan 2022 11:15:00 (#20 of 27)

It's ok, the tax payer can.

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