The nature of travelling both to and from the UK has changed dramatically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

People in the UK are hopeful that easing of lockdown restrictions could mean a summer holiday is possible, with a travel traffic light system proposed to make international travelling easier.

For those entering the UK, there are currently rules in place that you are responsible for, including a 10-day quarantine and the booking of Travel Test Packages

Here is all the information you need to know on Travel Test Packages and how to book one…

What is a Travel Test Package?

A Travel Test Package is a home Covid-19 test kit bundle for international travellers arriving into England, from a country not on the UK Government’s travel ban red list. 

For travellers arriving into the UK from a country not on the red list, you are required to both quarantine for 10 days and be tested twice during that time.

The first test will be taken on or before day two of the quarantine period and the second test will be taken on or after day eight.

The Travel Testing Package must be ordered before arrival in the UK, and travellers must provide the booking reference number on the passenger locator form required for entry into England when booking.

Tests will arrive with simple instructions on how to use the equipment, as well as provide the means for sending the tests back.

How do you book a Travel Test Package?

NHS app will be used for international travel certification

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Travellers are responsible for booking and paying for their own Travel Test Package.

While the Government isn’t responsible for booking the test, you can find a whole list of independent Travel Test Package providers on the Government website here.

You will find a breakdown of expected prices via that link, with different packages ranging from £100 to nearly £400.

While the contents of the package may vary from service to service, most will include the following items:

  • A swab collection kit
  • Instructions on how to accurately collect your swab samples
  • Return postage labelling for you to send each of your swab samples on to our laboratory in Royal Mail priority mail boxes
  • Priority next day delivery of your swab test

The Government does not endorse any individual provider and recommends you do your own research to select the right service for you.

How do I quarantine in the UK?

When you arrive in England, you must travel directly to the place you’re staying and not leave until 10 days have passed.

You may use public transport to travel to your final destination but only if you have no other options.

Before you travel you must:

  • Take a COVID-19 test and get a negative result during the 3 days before you travel
  • Book and pay for a Travel Test Package
  • Complete a passenger locator form with details of where you will home quarantine when you arrive and the travel test package (if you are arriving from a non red-list country) booking reference number

You will have to make sure you do your day two and day eight tests during your quarantine.

You will not be able to leave quarantine until you have received a negative result from your day eight test and quarantined for 10 days.

If you test positive for either the day two or day eight test, you must quarantine for a further 10 days from the day after you took the test – you will receive further advice alongside your test results.

If you are staying in a managed quarantine facility instead of your own pre-arranged place and test positive, you will need to quarantine for a further 10 days from the day after you took the test, but you will not be charged for extending your stay.

Can I travel to the UK from a red list country?

If you have been in or through any of the countries in the red list in the previous 10 days, you will be refused entry to the UK.

If you are a British or Irish National, or you have residence rights in the UK, you will be able to enter, but you must quarantine in a government approved hotel for 10 days.

Here are the countries currently on the red list:

  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Ecuador
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

How much will I need to pay for a quarantine hotel?

You will need to agree to book and pay for a quarantine package before you complete your passenger locator form and board your return journey to the UK.

The package includes the costs of transport from the port of arrival to the designated hotel, food, accommodation, security, other essential services and testing.

This is how much you will need to pay:

  • Rate for one adult in one room for 10 days (11 nights) – £1,750
  • Additional rate for one adult (or child over 11) – £650
  • Additional rate for a child aged five to 11 – £325

MORE: Travel traffic light system: Which countries could be on the green list?

MORE: How far can I travel in the UK right now?

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