Lateral Flow and PCR Tests After Travel: A Guide

With the world still coming to terms with the Coronavirus, keeping on top of new COVID guidelines and obeying the latest travel protocols can be extremely difficult. While it’s vital that we all remain vigilant in our travel preparations, it’s also essential to take lateral flow and PCR tests after travel too. 

In this guide, we’ll be elaborating on the difference between PCR and lateral flow tests. We’ll also be looking at the new COVID guidelines that have been implemented as of January 9th 2022, and how vaccinated travellers will no longer be required to take pre-departure lateral flow tests for travel. 

With the right information on hand, getting PCR tests for travel purposes and sticking to the new COVID guidelines is a straightforward process. 

Let’s get started. 

What Is the Difference Between Lateral Flow and PCR? 

Understanding the differences between PCR and lateral flow tests can save you a significant amount of stress and unintentional health risks. 

Below are the main characteristics of the PCR and lateral flow tests. 

PCR Tests

These are strictly for people who are already displaying Coronavirous symptoms after travel. Once taken, a PCR test will be sent off to a laboratory, where it will be further evaluated for variants and other information.

Like the lateral flow test, a PCR test is in the form of a swab that’s taken from the nose and throat. However, unlike a lateral flow test, PCR tests require further analysis to pinpoint concerning variants, and give people a more accurate result. 

It’s important to take a PCR test if you are displaying any of the following symptoms:

  • A high temperature
  • A continuous cough
  • Changes to your sense of taste or smell

If you are making a long journey and experiencing any COVID symptoms, it’s important that you take PCR tests for travel purposes to keep yourself and others safe. 

Lateral Flow Tests

These are designed to be used by people who aren’t currently displaying any COVID symptoms and are intended to be taken quickly as a means to check whether an individual has been infected. 

Lateral flow tests are more commonly used at home or in the workplace, where groups of people are expected to coexist and mix. By remaining vigilant with lateral flow testing, companies and individuals can remain safer and stay on top of any potential infections spreading.

Why are lateral flow tests an essential component of the COVID battle? Because many people who carry the Coronavirus are asymptomatic (display no symptoms of the virus), and can spread the infection, without realising it. 

The New COVID Guidelines

Under the new COVID guidelines that have been implemented as of January 9th, people are no longer required to isolate themselves for 10 days if they receive a positive lateral flow test. Instead, they’ll be required to isolate for a total of five days instead. 

Changes to guidelines have impacted travel restrictions and protocols as well. In the United Kingdom, fully vaccinated travellers who arrive here will no longer be required to take PCR tests after travel. 

However, travellers will now have to book and pay for a COVID test to be taken on the second day of being here. 

What Does This Mean for Lateral Flow or PCR Tests after Travel? 

Both tests after travel are still a key part of keeping people safe and helping to reduce the risk of spreading infections, but the way in which people are required to take them has changed. 

The changes are simple enough to follow, but easy to misunderstand without straightforward information and guidance. If you travel a lot for work purposes or you’re currently planning a trip abroad, it’s essential that you’re clear on what’s now expected of you upon arrival. 

Lateral Flow and PCR Tests after Travel for Vaccinated People 

Previously, PCR and lateral flow tests for travel were required at least two days before travelling to England. Fully vaccinated travellers (defined as a person who has received two vaccine doses) coming to England must now book and pay for second day lateral flow or PCR tests after travel. 

In preparation for your trip, you’ll also be required to fill out and complete a passenger locator form. This needs to be done at least 48 hours before you arrive in England. After arrival, travellers may just take a lateral flow test if they wish, instead of a PCR. However, if you test positive on your lateral flow test, you must also take a PCR test. 

Your test must be bought from a private test provider. In other words, the free NHS COVID tests are not permitted for use here. 

To summarise, before you travel to England you must do the following three things: 

  1. Book up and pay for your COVID tests after travel
  2. Complete a passenger locator form 48 hours before your arrival
  3. Take your PCR or lateral flow tests for travel within two days of your arrival 

Lateral Flow and PCR Tests after Travel for Unvaccinated People 

While vaccinated passengers will no longer be required to take a pre-departure COVID test before boarding a flight, it will still be a necessity for unvaccinated travellers. 

Unvaccinated passengers are still required to continue taking a pre-departure test, followed by PCR tests after travel on day two and day eight. In addition to this, unvaccinated people will need to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival, much like before. 

While these changes are in line with England’s travel testing regulations, there are different rules and new international travel testing requirements for people who’ve been in a country on the red list in the last 10 days before they arrive in the United Kingdom. 

To summarise, before travelling to England, unvaccinated passengers must do the following three things:

  1. Take pre-departure lateral flow tests for travel 
  2. Take PCR tests after travel on days two and eight
  3. Self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival into the country 

Finding Lateral Flow and PCR Tests After Travel

Due to the free NHS COVID tests no longer being permitted for use under new COVID guidelines, it’s important to plan ahead and be confident that you’re prepared and following the rules to the best of your ability. 

This means finding lateral flow tests for travel and PCR tests that are easily booked and with a fast turnaround time. 

PCR Tests After Travel at The London Vaccination Clinic 

Sometimes getting the right COVID tests for travel purposes is difficult. When you’re planning a future business or personal trip, getting straight answers and access to the required tests isn’t as easy as it should be. 

At the London Vaccination Clinic, we provide COVID tests for travel without the fuss and frustrations that come with a trip abroad in this current pandemic climate. 

Lateral Flow Tests for Travel 

Our lateral flow tests for travel, business or everyday use can be taken in-clinic or delivered directly to your front door. All of our lateral flow tests for COVID are posted on the day you order, with next day delivery options if you order your lateral flow test by 1 pm. 

When your lateral flow test arrives, simply perform the self-test as stated in the easy to follow instructions and send it straight back to us. 

You can receive your same-day results in person, or have them uploaded for your convenience onto our online portal. 

PCR Tests After Travel 

To assist people who need to test themselves upon arrival in a new country or before a departure on an important flight, our PCR tests can be administered in-clinic or delivered straight to your home. 

Like our lateral flow tests, our PCR testing kits are also posted on the same day of your order, with next day delivery available on orders made by 1pm. Once posted, results are available within 24 hours of our lab confirming the receipt of your test. 

Why Choose the London Vaccination Clinic for COVID Travel Tests? 

At the London Vaccination Clinic, we specialise in keeping your staff and family members safe, secure, and up to speed with the latest COVID travel guidelines. Our personalised and professional services are efficient, friendly, and dedicated to preparing you for a safe and stress-free travel experience.  

Safety, professionalism and convenience are at the heart of the London Vaccination Clinic. No matter where you want to go in the world, our UKAS and CQC registered medical practice offers a range of fast and effective lateral flow and PCR tests after travel or before departure. 

A ‘safe to fly’ certification from us means no worries and no problems. Send us a video of you completing your COVID travel tests, and if needed, we’ll send you a fit to fly certificate for your return trip. 

Booking Your COVID Travel Test  

Book your lateral flow and PCR tests for travel in just a few simple steps: 

  • Use the London Vaccination Clinic shop to find the tests you’ll need
  • Once purchased, you’ll get an automatic booking reference number to complete your passenger locator form
  • Complete this form 48 hours before you arrive in England

That’s it!

Home test order kits will be delivered with all of the necessary instructions inside. And in-clinic order appointments can be booked online here