The current requirements for travellers arriving in the UK from abroad depend on their COVID-19 vaccination status. If you are not vaccinated, you must order a government-approved Day 2 and 8 test package. Learn more about Day 2 and 8 tests to help answer any questions you may have.
What is a Day 2 and 8 Test?
The purpose of a Day 2 and 8 test is to tell you whether you currently have a coronavirus infection. It is a diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that analyses a nasal swab for genetic material from the coronavirus. The result may come back “positive, “negative,” or “inconclusive.” Inconclusive tests should be retaken.
Who Needs a Day 2 and 8 Coronavirus Test?
All non-vaccinated arrivals into the UK are required to self-isolate for 10 days and take a PCR test on or before day two and on or after day eight. For the isolation period to end after 10 days, you must receive a negative test result and not exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms.
If you’re spending less than 10 days in the UK, you will need to quarantine for the duration of your stay. You must still book and pay for your Day 2 and 8 travel tests, even if you will no longer be in the country on the dates of your tests. However, you only need to take the tests if you’re still in the UK on days two and eight.
If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to self-isolate after arriving in the UK. And instead of a Day 2 and 8 test, you only need a day 2 test.
What Qualifies as Fully Vaccinated?
To qualify as fully vaccinated for travel to the UK, you must have proof of vaccination with a full course of an approved vaccine. Your final dose must have been administered at least 14 days before your arrival. A booster dose is not required to be considered fully vaccinated. However, proof of natural immunity is not accepted as an alternative to full vaccination or a negative COVID test.
It’s important to note that not all vaccines qualify under the UK vaccination programme. The approved vaccines include:
- Janssen (single-dose vaccine)
- Novavax (Nuvaxovid and Covovax)
- Pfizer BioNTech
- Sinopharm Beijing
If the vaccine you received is not on this list, then you must order a Day 2 and 8 test package.
How Does Day 2 and 8 Testing Work?
Here are the steps you must follow to complete testing:
- Order your test package online before travelling to the UK. This way, you can enter the required details on your passenger locator form.
- Provide the information requested to register the test with the UK Government. You’ll be asked to give personal information and the details of your trip.
- Have the test package sent to your isolation address. Make sure someone is there to accept the parcel, which is shipped the day after ordering for next-day delivery. The Day 2 and Day 8 tests will arrive together.
- Follow the instructions to collect a sample with a nasal swab on or before day two of your arrival. Then, mail your sample to the test lab in the prepaid envelope provided. Repeat this step on or after day eight.
- Expect each result within 24 hours of the lab receiving your swab.
- Complete your 10-day quarantine as per UK Government rules.
Where are the Tests Carried Out?
Your Day 2 and 8 test package will be sent to your isolation location. Expect free delivery and return labels to forward your samples to a UKAS ISO-accredited lab. There, your swabs will be analysed in the same way tests from the NHS, Government and Public Health England are analysed.
When and How Do I Get My Results?
You can expect your results to be emailed to you within 24 hours of your sample arriving at the lab. Keep in mind that the Royal Mail occasionally experiences service delays, which your test provider and lab have no control over.
How Accurate are the Results?
Day 2 and 8 COVID tests from CT24 are considered the gold standard in detecting coronavirus infections. These are the same tests the NHS, Government and Public Health England use. Assuming correct sampling technique, these tests are 99.7% accurate, cutting down on false negatives and inconclusive results.
What are My Options for Self-Isolating?
You must isolate at the location you provide on your passenger locator form. Stay in one place for the full isolation period, where you can have food and other necessities delivered. This may include:
- In your own home (if you’re returning from travelling abroad)
- With family or friends (in your own ventilated room, remaining separate from other people in the household)
- In a hotel or other similar temporary accommodation (managed quarantine hotels are only required for people arriving from red-listed countries)
When you arrive in the UK, go directly to your isolation location. Avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary. If you have a long journey and must stop overnight, quarantine yourself from others before continuing your journey. Provide the address of this overnight stop on your passenger locator form to comply with UK laws and regulations.
Follow these guidelines during isolation:
- Avoid contact with anyone who didn’t travel with you.
- Do not visit shared areas such as restaurants, bars, gyms and sports facilities.
- Do not have visitors unless they are providing medical care, veterinary care or critical public services.
- Don’t leave the isolation location for any reason unless you are at risk of harm, such as if the build is on fire or you become a victim of domestic violence.
If you break the government’s quarantine rules, you may face a penalty of up to £10,000.
What if I Test Positive?
If you test positive for COVID-19 on your Day 2 test, you must self-isolate. This is true whether you are fully vaccinated or not. In addition, if you are staying with non-vaccinated family or friends, they must also quarantine for 10 days starting from the date of your positive test result.
The standard self-isolation period is 10 days. However, if you take rapid lateral flow tests (LFT) on days five and six, you may stop isolating on day six—as long as the following three statements are true:
- Both of your lateral flow tests came back negative.
- You performed the tests at least 24 hours apart.
- You do not have a fever.
If you test positive on day five, wait 24 hours before doing the next test.
What if I Test Negative or Inconclusive?
If you are non-vaccinated, you must continue isolating through day 10, even if your Day 2 and 8 tests come back negative. However, under the Test-to-Release scheme, you can choose to pay for an additional private COVID-19 test to be taken on day five. If the result is negative—and the result of your Day 2 test was negative or inconclusive—you can end your quarantine immediately.
Be aware that you must still book and take the mandatory Day 2 and 8 travel tests, even if your Test to Release result is negative.
Book Your Day 2 and 8 COVID Test
Are you a non-vaccinated UK visitor looking for free delivery and fast results on Day 2 and 8 COVID tests? CT24 has the packages you’re looking for. Our company is set up to offer simple and effective testing solutions for anyone who needs it. We are a government-approved supplier of Day 2 and 8, Test-to-Release, Fit-to-Fly and other COVID tests for UK visitors, with over 30 years of healthcare industry experience to back us up.