06 Jan 2022

COVID-19 testing for international travel following recent infection

Advice for travellers who have recovered from COVID-19 COVID-19 testing for international travel following recent infection
  • This updates the news item of 29 December 2021

Worldwide countries have imposed a number of COVID-19 related entry requirements. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) foreign travel advice includes details of current COVID-19 country entry requirements, information about self-isolation and requirements for testing. As these requirements can change at short notice, travellers should subscribe to updates from FCDO for their destination.

Many countries require proof of a negative COVID-19 test result for entry purposes. The type of test and specification will vary from country to country and travellers should check the exact test requirements for their destination and home country. This could include tests such as:

  • a nucleic acid test, including a PCR test
  • a LAMP test
  • an antigen test, such as an LFD (lateral flow device) test

If a traveller has had COVID-19 infection some countries may accept evidence of previous COVID-19 infection instead of a negative COVID-19 test for entry purposes. However many countries do not, and if you have recently recovered from COVID-19 but are no longer infectious, if possible, you should use a lateral flow device (LFD) test. LFD tests have a lower sensitivity than PCR or LAMP tests, so they are less likely to return a positive result from a historic infection. Please note that the LFD test must meet the minimum performance standards required for your destination country.

For travellers returning to the UK, the requirements for COVID-19 testing can be found at GOV.UK.

At the current time, proof of previous COVID-19 infection does not alter the entry testing requirements for those travelling to England. The entry requirements may vary for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. In addition previous COVID-19 infection will not exempt you from any testing requirements on your return to the UK.

To demonstrate their COVID-19 status for international travel, UK residents can access their records via the NHS COVID Pass or the local government website for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

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