So, Can You Use A Lateral Flow Test For Travel Abroad Or Not?

Travel is top of people’s minds as restrictions continue to ease. What do you want to know? Ask your Covid travel questions here.

Can you use a lateral flow test for travel? That’s one of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received from readers via our online form, where we’re inviting you to submit your queries about travel in a time of corona. And we’re sorry, folks, but the answer is “it’s complicated”.

Firstly, each country sets its own rules on travel, so before you leave the UK, you need to research the expectations – and regulations – of the country you’re heading to.

It’s worth noting that the vast majority of countries with testing requirements in place specify that travellers must take a Polymerase Chain Reaction test, or PCR test, before travelling. So no, a rapid lateral flow test won’t cut it.

Unlike lateral flow tests (which can give results in 30 minutes at home), PCR tests must be sent to a lab for analysis and usually take a couple of days. They’re preferred by most countries because they offer a higher level of accuracy than lateral flow tests. The rules get a little tricker when you’re returning to the UK, though.

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