If you’re traveling abroad, you may need to show proof of a negative lateral flow test. A lateral flow test, also called a rapid antigen test, is an easy-to-use COVID-19 test that gives results in under 30 minutes.
Notably, COVID-19 lateral flow testing for international travel isn’t offered by the NHS. Testing for travel reasons is offered by a private test provider, such as HandStations.
If you’re wondering how you can get proof of a lateral flow test or any other travel certificate for international travel, read on as this article provides detailed information on the same.
The best protection you can get against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccination is open for everyone aged 5 and over in the UK.
If you don’t have a negative lateral flow test proof, you can use a COVID-19 vaccination certificate to travel abroad. Besides, some countries’ entry requirements require that international travelers show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Proof of vaccination certificate can help demonstrate your COVID-19 status when traveling abroad as it shows your vaccination records including any booster dose you might have received.
If you’re a UK resident, you can apply for a proof of vaccination certificate for international travel if you have received at least one of the UK-recognized COVID-19 vaccinations.
The COVID-19 vaccines that are currently approved in the UK include
If you were also vaccinated as part of a clinical trial in the UK, your clinical trial site should provide you with a letter showing your COVID status as fully vaccinated.
If you aren’t fully vaccinated, you can still show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
COVID-19 certificates can also be used as proof of a lateral flow test. The COVID certificates available in the UK are provided by the Department of health, and they include:
Vaccination certificate – As mentioned earlier, you can apply for a proof of vaccination certificate if you have received at least one of the vaccinations accepted in the UK. This certificate shows all the vaccinations you have received, the doses, including booster shots, and the dates you received them. If you can’t access your vaccination certificate online, you can get a paper version of the same from the ministry of health
COVID-19 recovery certificate – If in the last 180 days you tested positive for COVID-19 after a PCR test, you may be eligible for a COVID-19 recovery certificate also referred to as the fit-to-fly certificate. Unfortunately, an LFT test result cannot get you a recovery certificate. However, if you take an NHS PCR test and it turns out to be positive, you can get a COVID-19 recovery certificate from the NHS status app. You can also get a COVID-19 recovery certificate from a private test provider, provided you show them proof of an officially registered positive COVID-19 test. For those traveling abroad, the test is available ten days after your positive COVID-19 positive test, and it’s valid for 180 days. Notably, it’s possible to have both a vaccination and recovery certificate
The NHS COVID pass can be used as proof of a lateral flow test. This document shows your COVID-19 status as it has your vaccination status and test results. You can use the NHS COVID pass for international travel or enter England’s indoor events and venues that require proof of COVID-19 status.
The NHS COVID-19 pass is available for:
The NHS COVID pass is available for UK residents aged 18 years and above on the NHS website. You can also get a digital version of the NHS COVID pass using the NHS App. To access the COVID-19 pass on the NHS App, you’ll need to register with the app first. Registration involves providing an email address and a mobile phone number so that you can log in to the app.
Remember to check that your passport’s surname and first name match how they appear on the NHS COVID-19 pass before you travel. In case they are different, talk to your GP so that they can have them changed before you travel.
Notably, the COVID pass is valid for 48 hours after a negative rapid LFT or PCR test. If you’re fully vaccinated, or you have had a positive PCR test result, the pass is valid for 30 days but the 30-day period refreshes every time you log in to the NHS App.
A paper version of the NHS COVID-19 pass is also available. You can get one sent to you via post by requesting one online or by calling 119. Those eligible for the NHS COVID-19 pass letter include UK residents aged 5 years and over who are fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine that is recognized in the UK. The NHS COVID-19 pass letter is sent to you 5 days after getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, and it’s valid for 2 weeks after your last vaccination. Children aged between 5 and 11 years are eligible to get an NHS COVID-19 pass letter as proof of recovery if they have had a positive PCR test in the past 180 days.
In closing, if you’re traveling abroad, you may be required to show proof of a negative lateral flow test. Some countries also require a COVID-19 vaccination or a recovery certificate. We advise that you check your destination’s entry requirements before traveling to know the COVID-19 travel documents you’ll need for entry.