Mandatory negative COVID test to be required for travellers to the UK

The UK government has announced the need for international arrivals into the UK by plane, train or boat, including UK nationals, to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure from 4am on Monday 18 January 2021.

UK arrivals to provide negative COVID test - © <a href='' target='new window o' rel='nofollow'>Mark Hodson</a> - Flickr <a href='' target='new window l' rel='nofollow'>CC BY 2.0</a>
UK arrivals to provide negative COVID test - © Mark Hodson - Flickr CC BY 2.0

Although details are yet to be released, it is thought that any test will need to be polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or possibly Lamp or lateral flow tests.

Grant Shapps, the UK Secretary of State for Transport, said that travellers "can't board... without having that negative test."

Anyone arriving without proof of a negative test would likely face an immediate fine of £500.

Those arriving from a country that is not on the UK's travel corridor list will still have to quarantine for 10 days, regardless of any negative test result.

There are a few exemptions, including:

  • children under 11
  • arrivals from the Republic of Ireland

More details, including the type of test required, are yet to be released but you can keep an eye on developments via You can also find out more about testing options in general over in our complete guide to COVID-19 testing for travel.

Posted on Friday 8 January 2021

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