With the recent spread of Omicron in the UK, positive cases have increased exponentially. NHS guidance is not to take a PCR test in the 90 days following the initial positive because it is possible to test positive on a PCR test up to 3 months after the initial positive (although this is not always the case).
However, this does not apply for international travel, meaning you will need to take a Covid test, or may be able to provide proof of recovery instead.
If you have recently had Covid, you might feel apprehensive about planning a trip, as a PCR test could still return a positive result. However, you may have other options for travelling.
In this article we will look at what to take into account when travelling after recovering from Covid.
Some countries accept a recovery certificate if you have recently recovered (within the previous 3-6 months) instead of a negative Covid test. They might also accept a positive result that is 11 to 180 days old. Some countries that accept this are Austria, the US, Canada. To view recovery certificate providers, click here.
To find out if your destination allows recovery certificates, use our comparison tool to view guidance for pre-departure testing here.
A number of travel destinations accept both antigen and PCR tests. Antigen tests are not as sensitive as PCR tests therefore this can be a good option for recently recovered people wishing to travel abroad.
Returning to the UK
To return to the UK you will need to take a test in the 2 days before your service to return to the UK departs. This test can be either an antigen or PCR test. We have compiled a list of UK providers who offer antigen tests you can take with you on your trip, and take before you return to the UK.
You will also need to take a day 2 PCR test on or before day 2 after your return to the UK. You will need to purchase this test even if you have recently recovered from Covid. There are no exceptions for this test, so if you think you could test positive due to residual Covid, you should plan accordingly, as you will need to isolate as normal if you test positive.
At CTN we present guidance for arrival testing (including day 2 PCR providers) as you work through our comparison tool:
Written by Isabel Barrios Pérez-Coca
Published on 22/12/2021
Isabel is a Data and Research Specialist and is involved in the operation, research, data management and logistics of running the website.
The information within this article is accurate at the time of publishing.
Information about testing requirements, entry requirements to the UK and travelling abroad during Covid-19 is CTN’s understanding of the requirements from multiple sources including the UK Government website at the time of publishing - always check full requirements including mandatory documentation and quarantine rules before you travel! By using our site, you confirm that you accept our user terms and conditions and you agree to comply with them. We amend these terms from time to time. Every time you wish to use our site, please check these terms to ensure you understand the terms that apply at that time.