COVID19 PCR test for travellers looking to leave the UK
The COVID-19 PCR Fit to Fly Certificate** is required by airlines and international destinations before travel. By taking the test before you go on holiday, visit family or travel for work, you will ensure that you do not have the virus and prevent accidentally spreading it.
What is the COVID-19 PCR test?
The COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is the gold standard when it comes to detecting the presence of COVID-19 in your body. Used by the NHS, it can detect if there’s even a small amount of the virus in your body.
The test involves taking a swab from your nose and throat, sealing it inside a tube and then sending it to a lab for analysis. Although the test may feel slightly uncomfortable, it’s entirely painless and takes only a few seconds.
How does the PCR Fit to Fly Certificate work?
1. Book an appointment with your local participating branch of Whitworth Pharmacies.
Please let us know when you plan to fly and we can advise when your PCR test should be done. Participating branches are:
2. Come for your PCR Fit to Fly test
On the day of your appointment, come into Whitworth Pharmacy and tell a member of our friendly staff that you are here for your Fit to Fly test. They will take you into a private consultation room and swab the back of your throat and nose. You are then free to leave and we will send the test of for you.
3. Receive your results
You will receive your results via email. An email that confirms a negative result will act as your Fit to Fly certificate- keep it somewhere safe so you can provide it when required for travel.
Who is the test suitable for?
The COVID-19 PCR Fit to Travel test is suitable for adults and children over 12. It is not suitable for anyone experiencing symptoms of coronavirus.
If you are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus such as a high temperature, a new and continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of taste and smell, do not come into our pharmacies.
Stay at home, get a free NHS COVID-19 test, and follow the latest government guidance.
Is the PCR ‘Fit to Fly’ test the same as ‘Test to Release’?
The PCR Fit to Fly test is suitable for those travelling abroad who need to provide proof of negative COVID-19 status. Many airlines and international destinations have made this test mandatory before travel.
However, this isn’t the same as the Test to Release test. This is required after arrival in the UK to allow you to leave quarantine early. Our in-pharmacy COVID-19 Fit to Fly test isn’t eligible for this scheme.
Understanding your PCR fit to fly test results
You will receive your test results within 24-48 hours of taking the test.
If the test results are negative, you do not have COVID-19 and can travel. You will receive an email confirmation which will act as your certificate. Please double check airline guidelines and international travel regulations as the rules can change at short notice.
If your test is positive, you should self-isolate immediately, cancel your travel plans and follow UK government guidelines.
Although it is unlikely to happen, your test may come back inconclusive or void. This means it’s unable to say if you have the virus. If this is the case, you will need to take another test. This could affect your travel plans which we cannot take responsibility for.
1. How long does the test take?
The test is very quick and easy. It usually takes just a few seconds.
2. What if I get a positive result?
If you have a positive PCR test, you cannot travel. You must self-isolate and follow current government guidelines.
3. How long before travel should I take the test?
Every airline and international destination has its own rules about when the PCR test should be carried out. Please check with the airline and the foreign office travel information for country-specific information.
*Available at selected branches of Whitworth Pharmacy
**Please note this test is not suitable if you think you have COVID-19 or you are showing any signs of COVID-19.