Test to Release for
international travel

Pay for a COVID-19 test to find out if you can reduce your quarantine period after international travel.

What is the Test to Release scheme?

You may be wondering what the Test to Release scheme is. Currently, if you arrive from somewhere outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man you must quarantine for 10 days on arrival.

But under the Test to Release scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. If the result is negative, you can end your quarantine.


What do you need to do to take part?

  • You need to book a test with a private test provider 
  • Providers need to meet the minimum standards for Test to Release for international travel, including being an applicant with UKAS

You will be asked to enter details of your test in the passenger locator form. You must do this to take part in the scheme.


What else do you need to know?

  • You cannot take a test until you have been in England for 5 full days. 
  • You should book your test before you travel to England. This is because you’ll need to enter the details of the test when you opt into the scheme on the passenger locator form.
  • You will have to pay for the test
  • You will need to book a test for each person in your party, including children. 
  • If you decide to take part in the scheme after you have arrived in England, you will need to complete another passenger locator form.
  • The scheme is voluntary and applies to those quarantining in England only.
  • If you do not want to opt into the Test to Release scheme, you will need to quarantine for 10 days.
  • You cannot use the scheme if you have been in or through any country that is on the travel ban red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England.
  • You must quarantine on arrival in England. You can take a test no earlier than the 5th day after arrival in England.
  • This is in addition to the tests that everyone must take on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of their quarantine period.
  • You cannot use tests provided by NHS Test & Trace under this scheme. Use one of the listed test providers. You can be fined if you use a negative NHS test result to end your self-isolation period early.
  • The Test to Release scheme is for people who need to quarantine on arrival in England. You don’t need to quarantine if your job is listed as being exempt from the requirement to quarantine.
  • You can also opt into the Test to Release scheme if you have a qualified exemption and are only allowed to leave quarantine for some work-related activities. For example, seasonal agricultural workers.


What happens if you test negative?

If the test result is negative you can stop quarantine as soon as you receive the result.

And you still need to take the coronavirus test on or after day 8.


What happens if you test positive for COVID-19?

If the test is positive you need to quarantine for another 10 days. Count the 10 days starting from the day after you took the test, or from when you first had symptoms if that is earlier.

People you live with n the UK, or people you are staying with, should also quarantine for 10 days from the date of your positive test.


What happens if your test is inconclusive?

If the result from your test is inconclusive you must continue to quarantine. You can choose to take another privately provided test to find out if you can stop quarantine early.

You may be fined if you do not quarantine. The fine is £1,000 for the first time, up to £10,000 for further breaches.


What should you do if you have coronavirus symptoms?

If you have coronavirus symptoms then you should take an NHS Test and Trace test as soon as you can. You should take an NHS Test and Trace test even if you have recently received a negative result for another test.

You cannot use a test taken through NHS Test & Trace to shorten your self-isolation period. You must continue to self-isolate if the result from an NHS Test & Trace test is negative.

Read about self-isolating following a positive test result.


How Effect Doctors can help?

As an approved provider our doctors can provide you with a test. Find out more here.