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COVID-19 Testing for International Travel - FAQs

Buying your tests

Do you test for all the variants?

Yes – the PCR testing that we conduct will detect all variants of the Covid-19 virus.

When should I order the test kits?

We recommend that you order your test kits as soon as you know your travel itinerary.

Pre-Departure / Fit To Fly tests should be ordered at least 5 working days before your flight. This it to allow sufficient time for you to receive your kit, take your sample, return it to our laboratory, and for us to process your sample and issue your result.

Please note that courier deliveries to some remote locations may take longer, and deliveries will also take longer over Bank Holiday weekends, so take this into consideration when placing your order.

When will my kits be despatched?

If you have purchased a Day 2 and/or Day 8 test, your order will be dispatched just before your arrival into the UK.

If you have purchased a UK Outbound Pre-Departure (Fit To Fly) test, or a package including this test, your order will be dispatched as follows:

  • Orders placed before 2pm Monday – Thursday will be dispatched the same day via our next-working-day courier service
  • Orders placed after 2pm Monday – Thursday will be dispatched the next day via our next-working-day courier service
  • Orders placed after 2pm on Thursday will be dispatched on Friday via our next-working-day courier service and should therefore arrive on Monday
  • Orders placed after 2pm on Friday or on a Saturday / Sunday will be dispatched the following Monday via our next-working-day courier service and should therefore arrive on Tuesday

Please note that courier deliveries to some remote locations may take longer, and deliveries will also take longer over Bank Holiday weekends.

Can you send test kits to countries outside of the UK?

No – test kits can only be sent to UK addresses.

Is there a discount for buying multiple tests?

If you need to buy a large number of tests, please call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300.

Do you offer a refund if my flight / holiday is cancelled?

Please see the FAQs on cancellations and refunds below.

What does the Fit To Fly certificate include?

The Fit To Fly certificate is a medical certificate signed by a UK General Medical Council (GMC) doctor that confirms your Covid-19 PCR test is negative and that you are therefore able to travel.

Is Day One the day that I arrive in the UK or the day after?

Day Zero is the day of your arrival back in the UK.

Day One of any quarantine period is therefore the day after your arrival back in the UK.

Can post be delivered on a Sunday?

Neither Royal Mail nor courier companies collect or deliver on a Sunday.

There is also no delivery service to our laboratory on a Sunday, so if your test is time-sensitive, you may want to deliver your sample in person to our laboratory at: 14 Webster Court, Carina Park, Warrington, Cheshire WA5 8WD.

Do I need to be in and sign for my test kit?

You don’t need to sign for your test kit, but you will need to be in if the parcel is too big to fit through your letterbox.

If you are quarantining this should not be a problem, as the sample collection kits will be delivered to your isolation address.

For Fit To Fly testing, please order in good time, so your sample collection kits can be delivered as soon as possible.

Are you open weekends?

Our Covid laboratory operates 7 days a week.

However, samples are only delivered to us Monday – Saturday (not Sunday).

If your test is time-sensitive, you can deliver your sample in person to our laboratory at 14 Webster Court, Carina Park, Warrington, Cheshire WA5 8WD

Are you UKAS-accredited?

Yes – our laboratory is UKAS-accredited to UKAS ISO 17025, the internationally recognised standard for Testing and Calibration Laboratories.

We are one of the first labs to be UKAS-accredited specifically for Covid-19 testing.

Our most up-to-date schedule can be found at: https://www.ukas.com/wp-content/uploads/schedule_uploads/00002/2773Testing-Single.pdf

Are you listed on the Government website?

Yes – we are listed on GOV.UK for:

Do you offer the Test To Release test?

Unfortunately we don’t offer this test.

Visit the government website for a list of providers: https://www.find-travel-test-provider.service.gov.uk/test-to-release

Can you come to my home address to collect the sample?

This is not a service that we offer. You will need to collect your own sample and return it back to our laboratory by Royal Mail, courier or hand delivery (if distance permits).

How soon will I get my result?

We guarantee to provide test results within 24 hours of receiving the sample at our laboratory.

If your test is time-sensitive, you may want to deliver your sample in person to our laboratory at: 14 Webster Court, Carina Park, Warrington, Cheshire WA5 8WD.

Test kit and taking the sample

What is in the kit?

Each kit contains:

  • Instructions and test registration sheet
  • Throat / nasal swab contained in sterile packet
  • Plastic tube containing a small amount of liquid
  • Biohazard bag containing a white absorbent pad
  • Clear specimen transport bag
  • Pre-paid tracked return polythene envelope

Where are the components from?

All of our sample collection kit component suppliers are UK-based and the kit is fully assembled in the UK.

Do I need to register online?

Yes, YOU MUST register each test online. If you do not do this, you will not get your test result.

Full instructions on how to register your test are in each test kit.

What happens if I make a mistake or error on my order form or on my test registration form?

It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you complete all your details fully and accurately.

Any mistakes or errors will cause a delay to your result being issued.

There is a £25 administration fee to correct any mistakes or errors, or to amend your order in any other way.

Can I eat / drink / smoke before taking my sample?

We advise that you do not smoke, drink, eat, chew gum or brush your teeth immediately prior to collecting your sample.

What samples are required and how do you do it?

Each test requires you to take nose and throat swab samples using the swab provided in the test kit.

Full instructions on how to take your sample are included in each test kit.

What happens if I send you an inadequate or blank sample?

Our laboratory will detect if you have sent us an inadequate or blank sample. In these circumstances, you are required by law to take another test so that we can obtain a viable result. You will be liable for the cost of this additional test and you will not be eligible for a refund for the original test.

It is therefore very important that you collect and send us a full and proper sample. Full instructions on how to do this are included in each test kit.

Do I need to test my children?

Fit To Fly test:

  • Please check the entry requirements and restrictions for the country you intend to travel to determine whether or not a Fit To Fly certificate is needed for children travelling to that country.
  • Visit the government website for full details of all international requirements and restrictions: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Day 2 & Day 8 test:

  • Children 4 and under do not need to take the Day 2 or Day 8 tests.

Test To Release tests:

Returning the samples

How do I return the samples back to you?

Your kit contains a pre-paid and tracked Royal Mail 24 polythene envelope.

You should post this back using one of Royal Mail’s designated Covid-19 priority post boxes.

Follow this link to find your nearest priority post box: www.royalmail.com/services-near-you.

Please note that AlphaBiolabs cannot be held responsible for any delays or disruptions to Royal Mail’s postal service when returning your samples.

If you want to guarantee AlphaBiolabs’ receipt of your samples, you can deliver them in person to our laboratory at: 14 Webster Court, Carina Park, Warrington, Cheshire WA5 8WD.

Can I send my samples back by courier and how much does that cost?

If you prefer to send your samples back by courier, you will need to arrange and pay for this yourself. The price will depend on the courier and the service you choose.

If you want to guarantee AlphaBiolabs’ receipt of your samples, you may want to deliver them in person to our premises located at 14 Webster Court, Carina Park, Warrington, Cheshire WA5 8WD.

Are you open at the weekend?

Our Covid laboratory operates 7 days a week.

However, samples are only delivered to us Monday – Saturday (not Sunday).

If your test is time-sensitive, you can deliver your sample in person to our laboratory at 14 Webster Court, Carina Park, Warrington, Cheshire WA5 8WD.

Getting your results

When will I get the results?

We guarantee to provide test results within 24 hours of receiving the sample at our laboratory.

If your test is time-sensitive, you may want to deliver your sample in person to our laboratory at: 14 Webster Court, Carina Park, Warrington, Cheshire WA5 8WD.

How do I get my results?

Your result will be emailed to the email address you provide when you register your test online.

Where we have your mobile number, we will also send you a text notification of your result.

Who sends the result to the authorities? What do I do with the certificate?

Due to a Covid-19 infection being a notifiable disease, we report all positive results to PHE within 24 hours.

Fit To Fly test:

  • You must keep the result of your test and any Fit To Fly certificate that is issued.
  • You will need to show these to the relevant authorities when leaving the UK and upon arrival in your destination country.

Day 2 & Day 8 tests:

  • AlphaBiolabs has a legal requirement to send the results of all Day 2 & Day 8 tests to Public Health England and we will do this.
  • You must also keep the results of your tests in case the authorities ask to see them.

Test To Release test:

  • You must keep the result of your test in case the authorities ask to see it.

What happens if I get an inconclusive result?

In the event of an inconclusive result, we will dispatch another sample collection kit and you will be invited to collect another sample free of charge.

What happens if I order the wrong test or no longer need the test?

If you notify us before we dispatch your kit, we will provide a full refund.

If we have already dispatched your kit(s) there is a £20 administration fee payable per kit. This administration fee covers the cost of the kit and all consumables, assembling the kit, dealing with your enquiry, packing and dispatching your kit, as well as the courier fee that we incurred.

What happens if I make a mistake or error on my order form or on my test registration form?

It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you complete all your details fully and accurately.

Any mistakes or errors will cause a delay to your result being issued.

There is a £25 administration fee to correct any mistakes or errors, or to amend your order in any other way.

I’ve bought a package and tested positive on Day 2. Do I get a refund for my Day 8 test?

If you test positive on your Day 2 test and you also ordered a Day 8 test from us, we will refund you for this test.

However, if we have already dispatched sample collection kits, an administration fee of £20 per test will apply.

My result was inconclusive. Do I have to purchase another test or is it free of charge?

We will provide you with an additional test free of charge.

I tested negative on my Test To Release test. I then did the Day 8 test and got a positive result. How could this happen?

You either had a Covid-19 infection that was not detectable at the time of your Test To Release sample collection, or you have become infected since you took your Test To Release sample.

If you receive a positive Day 8 test result, you must follow Government guidelines and quarantine for an additional 10 days.

I bought a package but no longer need the Fit To Fly test, as the destination doesn’t require this. Can I have a refund?

Yes. However, if we have already dispatched sample collection kits, an administration fee of £20 per test will apply.

Where are your walk-in centres?

We are currently not offering Covid-19 testing for international travel via our walk-in centres.

All tests must be done via the postal service or by courier.

Where are your testing centres?

AlphaBiolabs undertakes all Covid-19 testing at our custom-built UK laboratory to ensure the highest standards of sample handling and testing.

Can I have a discount for large orders?

If you have a requirement for a large amount of testing, please call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300.

Do I also need to take a lateral flow test 24 hours before departure?

No, not when leaving the UK.

However, you must check government guidance to see what the testing requirements are for your travel to the UK.

You currently have to take a supervised lateral flow or PCR test in the 3 days before you start your journey back to the UK.

Please note that we DO NOT provide this test.

Please see the government website for more information.

I only need a stand-alone Day 8 test – can you provide this?

No – we cannot provide a stand-alone Day 8 test.

What are the guidelines for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales?

Please see the relevant government websites for full details:

What information will I need for the passenger locator form?

You’ll need:

  • Your passport details or the travel document you’ll use when you arrive at the UK border
  • Your travel details, including times and dates
  • The address where you will stay in the UK (if applicable)
  • Booking reference number(s) for the coronavirus test(s) you must take after arriving in the UK
  • The invoice number for your quarantine hotel booking if you need one
  • If you’re arriving in England and using Test to Release, you’ll also need the name of the test provider you booked with

Full details are provided on the government website:

https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk

I’ve been vaccinated, am I exempt from the PCR travel tests?

The rules are quite complex and subject to frequent change.  We therefore recommend that you visit the Government website to find out what test you need and what you must do on your return to the UK.

Do you have any discount codes?

We do not offer any discount codes for Covid-19 testing. If you have found a discount code on another site, it will unfortunately be fake. As a UKAS-accredited and government-listed laboratory we focus on the quality, reliability and accuracy of our service.

You can view our range of Covid-19 tests for international travel here.

Alternatively you can call our Customer Services team on 0333 600 1300 or email covid@alphabiolabs.com.