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Day 2 Covid Test

We're heading to London in a few weeks and I'm anxious about this Day 2 test we must take, even though we're vaccinated, will take the 72-hour pre-departure test, and quarantine is no longer required.

Has anyone done the day 2 test? Must kits be sent to one's hotel (not home address)? Are all tests self-administered? Any tips on selecting test providers? I almost want to back out of this trip!

Any info greatly appreciated.

Posted by
148 posts

I can understand your anxiety. There are many unanswered questions. I have to say, though, that even if you are fully vaccinated, you can still contract covid. If you test positive, you have to quarantine for 10 days. Have you examined that possibility?
I hope this link will be helpful--there are many interior links that may feel like you're going down the rabbit hole. https://www.gov.uk/find-travel-test-provider
The best of luck to you.

Posted by
2624 posts

You must book and pay for the 2nd day Covid test before you leave for London.

Posted by
103 posts

I've done day 2. I purchased my kit from Expert Medicals though there are a number to choose from. You can choose a test to do on your own at hotel, have someone watch you perform the test online or have someone do the test for you at their location.

https://www.find-travel-test-provider.service.gov.uk/test-type
https://www.expert-medicals.co.uk/collections/navigation
I had my kit sent to my daughter's home, but check with your hotel on how that would work for you. The test was easy to do myself. One swab in back of the throat and then in the nose. Follow instructions listed and then ask your hotel desk where you can mail. You get the results via email in 48-72 hours. I was in London when day 2 and 8 were required, plus I did day 5 for early release. Easier now with just day 2!
As noted above, print up your purchase receipt to show to immigration when you arrive as they want proof of purchase.
The tests before your flight departures are within 3 days rather than 72 hours which gives more flexibility.
It was stressful thinking of all the testing ahead of my trip, but all went well. Good luck and have fun!

Posted by
11 posts

Has anyone used expressmed in Heathrow? My plan is to get my day 2 test done as soon as we land since we will be traveling the nc500 away from major cities and hotels.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks so much to everyone for such helpful replies! I'm REALLY anxious about possibly contracting Covid while there. We've been planning our 30th anniversary trip to Europe for years. It's unfortunate that it's this year but prices were so low that we wanted to take advantage. Happy for those of you whose trips went well and praying about mine...

Posted by
2291 posts

If you are that anxious (understandably so!), consider this: would rebooking to a different European destination (free from this day 2 test requirement) give you less stress, assuming it is affordable for you?
Some people are really stressed out by last-minute changes of plans, and you might already be locked in on many bookings, but it is the first thought that came to mind.

Posted by
15 posts

@dreldas, I have the same question. Hopefully that'll be okay, as it certainly would be the most convenient. I'm planning on booking a test at Heathrow to take after I land, since the guidelines say the test is to be taken "on or before Day 2", and the day you arrive is designated as Day 0.

Posted by
3418 posts

I say go for this. There are so many things that "could" happen while traveling. However, I think that you are going to find that this trip will be a wonderful opportunity for you.

Posted by
835 posts

Here's what I don't understand .... the official sites says Day 0 is the day you arrive and you must take the 2 day test IF you are still in England on Day 2..... If I arrive on day 0 (from Croatia) and depart on day 1 (because have an overnight layover and must leave the airport) do I need to take a 2 day test or not?

Posted by
9814 posts

If you leave on "Day 1" you don't have to take the test but you must book and pay for the test. It's a moneymaking loophole for traveling through the UK

Posted by
70 posts

I did my most recent Day 2 test today and already received the negative results. I always use Sloane Street Surgery. They are pricey but deliver fast results and their service is always reliable.

Links to test providers are on the UK Government’s website where you complete your Passenger Locator Form.

You must purchase your Day 2 test and receive a booking code in order to complete your Passenger Locator Form.

You must complete your Passenger Locator Form prior to getting to your departure airport because the airlines must verify completion prior to issuing you boarding pass(es).

I have experienced this twice flying from the U.S. to London and once flying from Italy to London over the past few months.

Finally, you should be able to have the test sent to your hotel via mail or other means. Good luck!

Posted by
2 posts

What do I do if I get a positive or false positive result? Can I retake the test
Rigor to departure back to the US?

Posted by
25771 posts

@margiepatella

false positives are rare..

Isolate and get a PCR and wait. If you test positive with the PCR you isolate 10 days and cannot return to the USA until you have recovered and test negative. Hopefully you won't need hospital.

Rigor to departure back to the US?

I didn't understand that part of your question.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for you reply and apologies for my typo
What I meant to ask is
Should I receive a positive test result, false or not, will I have the opportunity to retake the test prior to my scheduled departure?

Posted by
25771 posts

You may or may not have enough time, depending on how close to your flight you take your test and receive the result. They won't hold the plane.

If you test positive that means that you have sufficient load of virus to have caught the virus. You are required to immediately isolate. You will need to locate and arrange and take a PCR test which is much more accurate but slower than the antigen test because it has to go to a lab. You must remain isolated until the results are back. You must not fly until you test negative.

Sorry I wasn't clear before.

Posted by
25771 posts

margiepatella, I think it best if we check exactly what you are talking about. The previous answer from ramblin' on got me to thinking.

Unfortunately you jumped on this thread from valencia so she is getting all the notifications about your situation instead of you.

And the thread was talking about the Day Two test on arrival in England from any other country.

I interpreted your question to asking about the up to three days test to return to the USA from England. That's what I've based my answers on.

Which are you asking about?

Posted by
4998 posts

To cover as many bases as possible, for a vaccinated person who’s also taken further precautions where warranted (mask, maintaining distance, washing hands, etc.), I remember a suggestion to blow one’s nose prior to getting swabbed in a test. That could help get rid of viral particles that somehow might have made their way into your nose, and thus help to provide an accurate result.

Posted by
89 posts

Blowing your nose is the first thing that you are advised to do on the instructions with all the different kits that I’ve done.
I imagine it’s to get rid of any uh ‘mucus’ in your nose which would otherwise be on the swab and muck up the test!

Posted by
5 posts

Just to clarify, if you have a negative COVID-19 test 2 days prior to flying and are fully vaccinated, you are still required to have a test at day 2 that cannot be Ellume or Binax and are again required to have a third test 2 days prior to returning to the US that can be either or done in an office/surgery? Thanks for clarifying!

Posted by
48 posts

Does this 2 day test rule apply if your just landing in the UK and taking a connecting flight?

Posted by
4998 posts

The message above from Frank II seems to indicate that just changing planes at the London airport means you don’t have to submit to a Day 2 test, nor submit results, but you still have to arrange for, and pay for, a test to be taken - even though the test won’t be taken.

If you leave on "Day 1" you don't have to take the test but you must book and pay for the test. It's a moneymaking loophole for traveling through the UK

That doesn’t seem fair, and maybe his message is for people who actually depart the airport on Day 1, then return to the terminal later that day to fly elsewhere. Otherwise, that’s like having to order, and pay for, an entire meal + dessert at a restaurant, when all you wanted was a cup of coffee. And they never bring you the food, just the coffee.

Posted by
15 posts

maybe his message is for people who actually depart the airport on Day 1, then return to the terminal later that day to fly elsewhere.

This is my understanding. If you stay airside for your connecting flight, you don’t have to book a “Day 2” test.

Posted by
9814 posts

There was a hint today from the UK Health Secretary that there may be changes to testing rules for Covid. The Transportation Secretary is expected to announce the changes this week.

HInts are that Antigen tests will be accepted over the more expensive PCR tests for arrivals. Whether or not there is a Day 2 change we'll have to wait and see.

https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-health-secretary-signals-end-pcr-covid-19-tests-travel-2021-09-14/

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this thread. From this and other I've learned a lot:

  1. If traveling to UK, get signed up for updates on Gov.UK website. I understand that changes are made approx every 3 weeks so things might get tighter or relaxed and it's important to know.

  2. For our pre-departure tests, we used CVS, which apparently was fine. My husband did the PCR and got rapid antigen. Both results arrived on-time and were accepted. We had to produce the results at the airport but we had already uploaded them into our travel documents on United Airlines' website. I definitely recommend uploading everything possible, and also, printing documents. My husband chose not to print and sort of had a time finding them again on his phone. Maybe more tech savvy folks wouldn't have that problem.

  3. I couldn't figure out all of the cheapest options for Day 2 testing and was also fearful of using self-testing kits. Therefore, I went with the most convenient option, which, for us, was testing right at the airport (LHR) after our arrival. Since testing could be done from 0-2 days after arrival, we paid for and scheduled appts for about 1 hour 45 mins after arrival time.

This was enough for us to get through Customs, grab our bags and find the testing spot, which turned out to be a feat. For us, Heathrow required lots of walking, asking questions and backtracking LOL. We were on time for our test and a line had already formed. Test was conducted and we got our results the next day. However, we never received any calls and were never asked for copies of our results. Cost for the two tests was 138 GBP or about $191.

  1. For our return flight, we tested at the City & Travel Clinic at 21 Knights Bridge (https://thecityandtravelclinic.com/). This spot was very close to the "Tube" station and we were in and out within minutes. People there were very kind and helpful and we got our results that same day, including the "Fit to Fly" certificate. They have five locations around London. We received: Antigen Test - Fit To Fly - (Immediate Results) 10 minutes @ £49.99.

Overall, these testing requirements were a costly, inconvenient headache.