Do I Need an Antigen Test to Travel
Do I need an antigen test to travel? That is the illusive question that our team at Official Rapid Tests, and many others, get asked daily. With travel returning to as much as 80% of pre-COVID levels, it is evident that people are ready to pack up and get away after a couple of long years with no sun-filled breaks.
You may think that the days of impromptu trips and last-minute organising are behind you but that is not the case as many countries return to their original travel rules. However, a large amount of people do still find post-COVID travel complex so we are here to iron out the questions and give you the full picture of what travel in 2022 looks like.
With travel having dropped by 93% between 2019 and 2020, our mission is to make hopping on that plane a reality for you with up to date information and government approved antigen tests. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how you can make that dream trip a reality!
What is an Antigen Test?
An antigen test is one of the ways in which a patient can be tested for the COVID-19 virus. By nature, antigen tests are known as ‘immunoassays’ which are created to be able to detect the presence of a specific viral antigen, in this case COVID.
The COVID antigen tests is conducted by a medical-grade swab being run across the back of the nose and throat to collect saliva samples. This is where live particles of the virus are most easily able to be found and is the process that we are all familiar with. The results pick up proteins that relate to the various strains of COVID which can be identified via the associated lateral flow strips. This does mean the test can only show if the patient is currently infected with a strain of the virus, but you can choose to undertake an antibody test if you want to find out if you have experienced the virus previously and not been aware.
Antigen tests are a preferred method of testing for the virus due to their high success rates. With the tests being correct in identifying as many as 95% of cases, they are the method of testing which provide the most comfort and justification to governments when allowing people to travel. The tests are also easy to complete with patients being able to administer themselves or they can be conducted easily at COVID testing centres. Due to the high levels of success and quick results, there are also a number of antigen test clinics across the UK which provide a speedy service.
The swift results mean that positive cases can be stopped in their tracks with patients do not have the chance to spread the unwanted virus amongst fellow travellers.
Do I need an antigen test to travel to the UK?
As of March 2022, you no longer need to undertake any form of COVID testing to enter the UK. This is a far cry from the strict rules and procedures that came into force once the pandemic was in full swing, with the country being locked off from visitors for a number of months.
The official government websites does however state that you do still need to follow individual guidance that is specified by travel or transport providers. In some cases, this may mean that an antigen test is still needed to be able to prove that you are fit to fly.
Relaxation of rules and a more laid-back approach to the pandemic has provided financial benefits for the UK, as 38% of visits to country in 2022 have been due to people taking holidays. This doesn’t mean that the UK is lax when it comes to COVID, we are just one of the countries that has found a way to manage the virus and proceed to live with it as a part of our everyday lives.
What countries require an antigen test?
Each countries rules and regulations when it comes to COVID travel are different, so you must always check the current requirements when you wish to travel abroad. You will be thrilled to find out though that as of October 2022, there are 124 countries confirmed as not requiring any COVID tests to fly or enter the country. As with the UK though, this doesn’t mean you won’t be required to provide an antigen test or proof or vaccination when you enter the country so its always worth making extra provisions when you choose to travel. You may even be asked to provide a proof of COVID recovery certificate as more countries start to look at antigens and previous infections as they best way to determine if someone is safe to enter the country or not.
The first country that returned to their pre-pandemic ways was Mexico who opened all routes of travel for tourists back in 2021. They were closely followed by El Salvador, Norway, and Slovenia who set the travel trend for the rest of the entry-test free countries. Most countries re-opened for travel business as normal in March 2022, which seemed to be the turning point for the pandemic in many ways.
We expect to see most other countries adopting the same rules over the coming months but don’t expect antigen and PCR testing to disappear anytime soon. This is because even through everything seems rosy, cases of the virus continue to rise, and nobody wants the financial or lifestyle restrictions to come back into effect that we have managed to escape from.
How can I get an antigen test if I am asked for one?
If you need an antigen test to travel or for any other reason, we make it simple for you. Gone are the days of having to travel miles to visit a test centre or wait around for a lengthy delivery as at Official Rapid Tests, we have made the process simple.
Rapid tests, as the name would suggest, are designed to be carried out and provide you with the results quickly. You should always ensure you take the test within 72 hours of needing to travel as you will be provided with a fit to travel certificate which is officially approved by the UK government.
The steps you should follow if you need to take an antigen test are the following:
- Order your antigen test online. We offer next day delivery but still recommend you leave yourself a few days grace in case of delays to postage which are outside of our control. You will then be delivered the full testing kit and be given details on the following steps that you need to take.
- Once you are ready to do your test, just follow the instructions that are provided. You can then upload the photo of your test and passport to our portal in a matter of seconds.
- Just 15 minutes later the magic has happened, and your result will be available. Alongside confirmation of whether you have the dreaded virus, you will receive a signed certificate confirming the status. This official document contains your full traveller ID, confirmation of the result, your unique COVID test number which can be searched via the official government database, and the signed approval that you are fit to travel.
Depending on the reason for your test, you will likely need to provide the certificate when trying to enter your desired location. We recommend you should therefore save a copy on your smartphone or have a few printed copies available so that you can instantly prove your virus-free results.
One of the most important components of our antigen tests is the registration of your results. Unlike a lateral flow test that anyone can take and try to use as confirmation of being COVID free, the registration is the only government official place that results can be recorded. Whether its for a PCR test, antigen test or video test, this is the portal that travel officials have access to which further backs up your test certificate. In cases of COVID test fraud, this can be double checked to ensure you face no delays or travel issues with your journey.
By also taking the testing process into your own hands, you can be in control of the time in which your results are received. We all remember the long interruptions that people faced when the pandemic was in its peak. Just like checking your passport is in date and ensuring you have the right travel plugs, you should consider having an antigen test certificate as one of the checks that you mark off the list before you take a trip.
Do I need an antigen test to travel?
As we have outlined, this depends on where you are going and when. The best way to be prepared is to check the guidelines of where you will be attending and possess an antigen test certificate just to be on the safe side. Our antigen tests are only £19.99 which covers the full test and signed official certificate.
Giving you peace of mind that you are safe to travel, our tests mean the world is once again your oyster!