Apply for a coronavirus test if you're an essential worker

Use this service to apply for a coronavirus (COVID-19) test if you have symptoms and you:

There’s a different way to ask for a test if you’re not an essential worker or do not live with one (on the NHS website).

Coronavirus symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste

This test can tell you if you have coronavirus at the time the swab sample is taken. The test to tell if you’ve ever had coronavirus (‘antibody test’) is not available yet.

When to apply for a test

Apply within the first 3 days of having symptoms. The test is best taken within 5 days of symptoms starting.

You might not get a test if you apply - it depends how many tests are available in your area.

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Applying for a test on behalf of someone else

If you’re applying for someone else and they’re aged 13 and over, you must check that they are happy for you to apply for them.

What the test involves

You’ll usually have the option of taking the test at home or at a drive-through testing site.

The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.

See the NHS 111 online coronavirus service for advice about dealing with the symptoms of coronavirus.