Returning from overseas? Work out what Covid-19 tests you need to take

Family returning from holiday with new Covid rules

The UK government has implemented an updated traffic light system for all international arrivals back into England from October 4 - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The UK government has implemented an updated traffic light system for all international arrivals back into England from October 4.
As COVID infections and vaccinations rate change, this changes the countries traffic light rating. Here, Daniel Cheung from Wimpole Medical, a listed UK Gov private testing centre in Upper Street, outlines what you need to do before you arrive back into the UK. Wimpole Medical is now fuly registered as a UKAS medical laboratory (Reg: 22431) for ISO 15189 and ISO 22870 accreditation.
The traffic light system will be replaced by a single RED list countries an territories according to the UK government to simply travel testing requirements.

Green country arrivals
There is no change in testing requirements for travellers returning back into the UK depending the country of return.

Amber country arrivals
Amber countries will no longer exist and any countries previously in this category will move either into the GREEN or the RED depending on the COVID status.

Red country arrivals
All arrivals from a red rated country will still have to quarantine in a UK Gov approved quarantine hotel. They will have to do the testing on day two and day eight but are not eligible to participate in the Test to Release Scheme.

What is the purpose of the testing?
The change in legislation means that testing for travellers returning from abroad should be simplified and easier.

Are Day 2/Test to Release/Day 8 testing still required?

These are still required for non-fully vaccinated travellers returning from abroad. However fully vaccinated travellers will still require a Day 2 PCR test.

Future travel
The UK Government is further announcing that travel testing for returning Day 2 PCR will be substituted with a cheaper lateral flow test by the end of October.

How do I pay for these tests?
The UK government wants all passengers to pre-book and pay for the tests prior to their entry into the UK. This is to stop people from booking their tests and arriving back into the country and not carrying out the testing.
Once the tests are booked up and paid for, a booking reference is given which needs to be used for the Passenger Location Form.

Where can I get these tests?
Only UK government listed clinics are able to offer this service, as they will be able to offer an official booking reference number. The passenger has to use the UK government website to confirm their compliance.

How do I obtain a test for my return journey back to UK?
Wimpole Medical is now stocking test kits which can be purchased for your return journey home.

How can Wimpole Medical assist?
Wimpole Medical is able to offer testing as a UK government listed private Covid provider. It is able to offer testing packages for all green and amber rated countries arriving back into the UK. This includes the Test to Release test (the Day 5 test). A combined package will offer better value for passengers who wish to travel during the summer holiday period.
Tests are bookable on the Wimpole Medical website at or by calling the centre on 0203 095 3000.