Covid PCR test: How to book day two arrivals tests at Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports

The compulsory PCR test requirement for arrivals within the UK was introduced on November 30, 2021.

Travellers returning to London must now take a pre-departure test and a PCR test within two days of arrival, to try and halt the spread of the Omicron variant.

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Coronavirus testing rules for travellers arriving in the UK have been changed again, and people returning to must now take a pre-departure test before setting out on their journey.

This is in addition to the existing requirement to take a post-arrival PCR test within two days of your arrival in the UK.

Arrivals have to isolate while waiting for the result of their day two tests.

Health secretary Sajid Javid has said: “In light of the most recent data we are taking further action to slow the incursion of the omicron variant.

“Vaccines remain our first line of defence – the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones. Please get vaccinated or get boosted as soon as you can.”

Some Londoners may have been on holiday when the rules change, so will need to book last minute tests when returning to the UK.

If you take a test at the airport as soon as you arrive, you should be able to get out of isolation quicker than ordering a test online.

Read on to find out how you can book at an arrival test at London’s airports.

What are the rules around day two arrivals tests?

The test must be a PCR as this is currently the most accurate way of detecting the virus.

It must be booked ahead of travel and completed within two days of your arrival in the UK.

Travellers will need to get a reference code from their testing provider to include in a passenger locator form for returning to the UK.

You must remain in isolation in your home or where you are staying until you test negative.

If you take a test at the airport as soon as you arrive, you should be able to get out of isolation quicker.

Arrival tests at Heathrow

If you are flying into London Heathrow, the Hillingdon airport has launched a range of private testing options for passengers.

Test providers offer arrival and departure tests, which must be pre-booked and fees apply.

Day two PCR testing at Heathrow is available via drive-through and within the terminal, and offers next day results by 10pm, although it could take as long as 48 hours to receive.

Self-swab PCR tests which offer results within 24 hours are also available to book.

Prices range from £64 to £69, and you can use the code HEATHROW10 at checkout to receive a 10% discount.

Gatwick Airport PCR testing at arrival: how to book on-site PCR test

Arrival tests at Gatwick

If your trip is ending at Gatwick Airport, there are a wealth of test providers to choose from at the Crawley, West Sussex, site.

ExpressTest offers PCR and lateral flow day two arrival tests at the drive through centre on Perimeter Road South (RH6 0PQ), and also has a walk-in base in the North Terminal.

You can also book an ExpressTest click and collect take-home test for arrivals for £19.99.

Save £10 on your PCR day two arrivals test using discount code LGWBTT10 at checkout.

Passengers can also get a private PCR swab test at the Boots store located in the South Terminal arrivals area.

Medical firm Collinson also has a drive through facility in the airport parking and hotels (APH) car park, offering PCR, antigen, and LAMP testing.

All tests need to be pre-booked, and fees apply. For more information on departure testing and red list arrivals, please visit the website.

Arrival tests at London City

For anyone flying into London City Airport, the site hosts a testing centre in partnership with medical firm Collinson, a minute’s walk from the main terminal.

Arriving and departing passengers can take PCR, LAMP, antigen and antibody after and ahead of flights.

An arrivals day two PCR test with discount code LCYTEST and results within 48 hours costs £55.20, while a rapid PCR with discount is priced at £66.

Tests must be pre-booked and fees apply. For more information, please visit the website.

Check the UK government’s latest travel advice, your destination’s travel advice and the airport’s Covid-19 rules before you travel.