‘Reasonable time’ means leaving enough time between getting your result and checking in on time for your travel.
How long before I travel do I need to take a test?
The time window you need to allow yourself varies according to several factors such as:
- the requirements of your destination country and/or airline - some countries require tests to be taken closer to your departure time (or arrival time at destination);
- how long it takes to get tested;
- how long it takes to get the results for your required test;
- when check-in closes for your mode of travel - international travellers will not generally be permitted to check in until they have produced a negative test result.
For tests that can be taken the same day as travel (Antigen Lateral Flow, 4hr PCR and LAMP) we recommend a minimum of 90 minutes between delivery of your results and check-in closure time.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have sufficient time to be swabbed, receive your results, check in and clear security.
All Tests - Queuing
Some of our busiest test centres (including airports) may require queuing once you arrive, so please leave yourself enough time to account for this. Our delivery times are based on the time you are swabbed, not your appointment time. This is to ensure you receive your results well in advance of when you need them - especially if required to check in for travel.
On The Day Tests
4hr PCR, LAMP and Antigen Lateral Flow Fit to Fly Tests can all be taken on the day. If the result is negative, you could potentially travel on the same day, but you need to check that the test type is the correct one for your destination and airline (See article: Which test do I need?). Remember that receiving your results before your travel departure time is not enough; you need to have the results before check-in closes.
NOTE: The delivery deadline for results for Same Day PCR is midnight, so this test is not suitable for same day travel.
Standard PCR and Same Day PCR Fit to Fly Tests
We recommend that you are tested 72 hours before your flight departure to allow sufficient time for your test results to be processed. However, you must check that this is appropriate given the regulations in your destination country. Some countries require tests to be taken closer to your departure time. (See article: Which test do I need?)