Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you have any of these 3 coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, use this service to get a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test as soon as possible:

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

You can order a PCR test kit to be sent to your home or book an appointment at a walk-in or drive-through test site.

If you have symptoms, you and everyone you live with must immediately self-isolate. Do not leave home until you get your test results, except to post a test kit or for a PCR test appointment.

You should not use this service if you’ve received a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless you develop any new symptoms.

Getting a PCR test if you have no symptoms

You can also use this service if:

  • you’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive
  • you’ve been asked to get a test by a local council or someone from NHS Test and Trace
  • a GP or other health professional has asked you to get a test
  • you’re taking part in a government pilot project
  • you’ve been asked to get a test to confirm a positive result
  • you’ve received an unclear result and were told to get a second test
  • you need to get a test for someone you live with who has symptoms
  • you’re in the National Tactical Response Group

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Getting a rapid lateral flow test if you have no symptoms

If you have no symptoms and are not eligible for a PCR test for other reasons, you can order rapid lateral flow tests to be sent to your home.

If you’re not sure about different test types, you can find out which COVID-19 test you should get.

If you’re going into hospital

You may need to get tested if you’re due to have surgery or a procedure.

The hospital will arrange this for you. Contact your hospital department if you have any questions. ​

If you’re arriving in England from abroad

You cannot use this service to book the 2 tests you need to take when you’re in quarantine.

You must book a test from a private provider.

Get tested as soon as possible if you have symptoms

Book a visit to a test site to have the test today. Test sites are open 7 days a week. Order a home test kit if you cannot get to a test site.

England and Northern Ireland

You need to get the test done in the first 8 days of having symptoms.

On days 1 to 7, you can get tested at a site or at home. If you’re ordering a home test kit on day 7, do it by 3pm.

On day 8, you need to go to a test site - it’s too late to order a home test kit.

Scotland

You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms. This allows you the best chance of preventing the spread of COVID-19 to others. After 5 days you should still book a test if you have been advised to do so by a healthcare professional.

On days 1 to 4, you can get tested at a site or at home. If you’re ordering a home test kit on day 4, do it by 3pm.

On day 5, you need to go to a test site - it’s too late to order a home test kit.

Wales

You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms.

On days 1 to 4, you can get tested at a site or at home. If you’re ordering a home test kit on day 4, do it by 3pm.

On day 5, you need to go to a test site - it’s too late to order a home test kit.

Order or book a test by phone

If you have problems or cannot use the online service, call:

  • 119 if you’re in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • 0300 303 2713 if you’re in Scotland

Lines are open 7am to 11pm.

If no tests are available online, do not call helplines to get a test. No extra tests are available through the helplines.

What the PCR test involves

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

You can do the swab yourself (if you are aged 12 or over) or someone can do it for you. Parents or guardians have to swab test children aged 11 or under.

Getting a PCR test for someone else

If other people you live with have symptoms, you can order tests for up to 3 of them.

If you’re applying for someone who’s 13 or over, check that they’re happy for you to get a test for them.

If you need medical advice about your symptoms

Get help at:

Call 999 if you feel very unwell or think there’s something seriously wrong.