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Coronavirus testing rules for international travellers who arrive in Wales.

First published:
15 January 2021
Last updated:

Introduction

You must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test for all travellers aged 11 and above taken within 72 hours before departure to travel to Wales from abroad.

If you do not present proof of a negative test result, you may not be able to board and could be fined £500 on arrival into Wales.

From 15 February 2021, all passengers aged 5 or above travelling to Wales either directly or via the rest of the UK will also need to take two additional COVID-19 tests after they arrive back in Wales.

If you do not present evidence of your booked tests, you may not be able to board and could be fined £1,000 on arrival in Wales (for the first offence).

Passenger locator form

You must complete a passenger locator form before you travel to Wales.

Some people travelling for work purposes do not have to complete the passenger locator form.

Taking a coronavirus test before you travel to Wales

From 4am on Monday 18 January 2021, you must have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test to travel to Wales

You must take a test even if you are a UK citizen.

You must take the test in the 3 days before you start your journey to Wales.

For example, if you travel on Friday, you must take a test no earlier than Tuesday.

You will need to present the proof of your negative test before you board to travel to Wales.

If you don’t present proof of a negative test result certificate, you may not be able to board any form of transport to travel to Wales.

If you arrive in Wales without proof of a negative test result, you could be fined £500.

Test providers and type of test

You will need to find a test provider. You must make sure that the test provider can meet the standards for pre-departure testing.

The test must:

  • meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral  loads above 100,000 copies/ml
  • this could include tests such as:
  • a nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests
  • an antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device

It is your responsibility to ensure the test meets the minimum standards for sensitivity, specificity and viral load details so you must check with your test provider that it meets those standards.

You may not be able to travel if the test does not meet these standards. It is your responsibility to ensure you get the right test that meets the above requirements.

Where information about providers of tests is available locally, FCDO travel advice pages will be updated with this information. If you need consular assistance should contact the nearest consulate, embassy or high commission.

Outbound Travel - If need to show a negative test to be able to travel out of Wales or the rest of the UK you must use a private test provider.  You cannot use the NHS Test and Trace service.

Information that the test result must include

Your test result must be in one of the following languages English, French or Spanish. Translations will not be accepted, and you must provide the original test result certificate. It must include the following information:

  • your name, which should match the name on your travel documents
  • your date of birth or age
  • the result of the test
  • the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
  • the name of the test provider and their contact details
  • the name of the test device

If the test result does not include this information you may not be able to board, and may not be able to travel to Wales.  If you arrive without a test result that includes this information, you will be committing a criminal offence.

Test results

If your test result is positive, you must not travel. You must follow local rules and guidance for positive coronavirus cases.

If the result is inconclusive, you must take another test.

If you have had COVID-19 it is advisable to use a lateral flow device test.

British nationals who need consular assistance should contact the nearest consulate, embassy or high commission.

Test to Release scheme

There is no Test to Release Scheme in Wales so negative tests taken elsewhere do not avoid or reduce the period of isolation required in Wales.

Getting a test in a country you transit through

It is your responsibility to make sure you have a valid test result to show when you board. You should not rely on being able to get a test in a country that you will transit through as part of your journey to Wales. It is possible that local or entry restrictions will mean you are not able to get a test.

If you don’t have a test result because you were unable to get one in a country you transited through, and you are not permitted to enter the transit country, you will be allowed to board your transport to Wales. But you could be fined £500 on arrival in Wales for not having a valid test result.

Exemptions – people who don’t need to take a test before they travel

Travel from some countries

You do not need to take a test if you began your journey to Wales from:

  • England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Jersey or Guernsey
  • Ascension, Falkland Islands, St Helena

For a limited time period, you also do not need to take a test if you began your journey to Wales from:

  • Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia or Barbados (until 4am Thursday 21 January 2021 – you will need a test to travel on or after this date)

Children and medical reasons

Children aged under 11 do not need to take a test.

You do not need to take a test if you are travelling to the UK:

  • for urgent medical treatment or are accompanying someone who is travelling for urgent medical treatment, and it is not reasonably practicable for you to obtain a negative COVID-19 test in the 3 days before departure
  • if you have a medical condition which means you cannot take a test – you must present a note from a medical practitioner at check in and to Border Force staff on arrival in Wales

Exempt jobs

Some people travelling for work purposes do not have to take the pre-departure tests.

Read more about job exemptions to see if they apply to you.

Self-isolating when you arrive in the UK – travel corridors

Even though you have provided a negative test for entering the country, you must follow the rules for self-isolating when you arrive in Wales.

If you have been somewhere that is not on the travel corridors list in the 10 days before you arrive in Wales, you will need to self-isolate, regardless of your pre-departure test result.  Read more about travel corridors and how long you need to self-isolate.

Taking two coronavirus tests after you have arrived in Wales

Booking your post-arrival testing package

A ‘travel test package’ of NHS tests must be booked before your arrival in Wales via the CTM booking portal.  

CTM are the booking agent for NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect tests which are processed through the UK Lighthouse lab network.

Wales is using NHS tests, rather than private tests, because they are processed by NHS laboratories and results are sent directly into NHS Wales’ systems. This helps identify any harmful variants and makes contact tracing easier. 

Costs for the tests are:

  • Amber country arrivals - two PCR tests that cost £170 in total.
  • Green country arrivals – one PCR test that costs £88.

All travellers aged 5 and above must book a testing package.

You will need show evidence of your booked tests before you board.

If you arrive in Wales without proof of test booking, you could be fined £2,000.

Testing during isolation

Day 2 test

You will need to take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 of your quarantine. The day you arrive will be treated as day zero. This first test is designed to help identify any potentially harmful variants of COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity. You will not be allowed to shorten your quarantine period if you receive a negative test result, as you may still develop COVID-19. Tests will be taken at home during your isolation.

Day 8 test

You will need to take a COVID-19 test on or after day 8, unless you received a positive result from your day 2 test.

Period of isolation required depending on test results.

Day 2 test result

Day 8 test result

Last day of isolation

Negative test result

Negative test result

End of day 10

Negative test result

Positive test result

End of 10 days from date day 8 test taken

Negative test result

Result not received by day 10

End of day 14 or day on which day 8 negative test result is received whichever is the soonest

Negative test result

Test not taken

End of day 14

Negative test result

Inconclusive test result

End of 10 days from date day 8 test taken

Positive test result

Not required

End of 10 days from date day 2 test taken

Inconclusive test result

Test not taken

End of day 14

Inconclusive test result

Negative test result

End of day 10 or receipt of a negative test

Inconclusive test result

Positive test result

End of 10 days from date day 8 test taken

Inconclusive test result

Inconclusive test result

End of 10 days from date day 8 test taken

Test not taken

Negative test result

End of day 10

Test not taken

Positive test result

End of 10 days from date day 8 test taken

Test not taken

Test not taken

End of day 14

Exemptions – people who don’t need to take the two tests after arriving in Wales

Travel from some countries

You do not need to take these tests if you began your journey to Wales from:

  • England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands

Children

Children under 5 do not need to take the day 2 or day 8 test.

Exempt jobs

Some people travelling for work purposes do not have to take the post-arrival tests.

Read more about job exemptions to see if they apply to you.

If you get coronavirus symptoms

You should order a test if you develop at least one of these 3 coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms at any point:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed