Guidance overview: Finding and choosing a private coronavirus (COVID-19) test provider

Lists of and information about private test providers, to help you get the private COVID-19 tests you need.

Documents

List of general population COVID-19 testing providers

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Providers of day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 tests for international arrivals

List of Test to Release providers

Details

You can get a free NHS COVID-19 PCR test if you have:

  • coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms
  • been advised to take a test by a medical practitioner or a government agency
  • been in contact with someone who’s tested positive

If you’re asymptomatic (you don’t have symptoms), you can get a free NHS COVID-19 LFD test.

If you need a test for any other reason, you must order a test from a private provider.

Reasons why you might want to use the services of a private provider could include:

  • for international travel – so you can enter another country, or after entering the UK from abroad
  • if you’re an elite athlete and need to be tested before taking part in an event
  • if you’re an employer who wants to partner with a provider to offer testing to your staff

Who this guidance is for

The guidance and information on this page are for anyone who needs to order a COVID-19 test from a private provider.

Finding and choosing a private provider

‘Finding and choosing a private COVID-19 provider’ sets out what you should know before you look for a private provider or book a test, including information on:

  • minimum standards
  • UKAS accreditation
  • the provider lists we publish on GOV.UK
  • what we’re doing to protect consumers

Lists of private providers on GOV.UK

The lists published on this page are of providers that have demonstrated compliance with the government’s minimum standards for the type of commercial COVID-19 testing service they offer. These are:

  • general population COVID-19 testing
  • day 2 and day 8 travel tests
  • Test to Release travel tests

The lists are not exhaustive. Some providers have decided to opt out from being published on these lists.

If you’re arriving in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland

There are different rules. If you will be travelling on to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in the 10 days after you arrive in the UK, you must follow the rules for testing and quarantine in those places. Find out what you need to do if you’re:

Pre-departure travel tests (‘fit to fly’)

There is no separate list of providers offering pre-departure travel tests (often called fit to fly tests by providers). This is because the testing requirements are set by the country you want to travel to, and sometimes the airline you’re flying with. For example, some countries require PCR tests, while others accept rapid lateral flow tests (also known as antigen tests). Each country sets its own rules.

In practice, many providers from the general population providers list and the day 2 and day 8 list offer pre-departure travel tests. Make sure you know the type of pre-departure test you need to take before you book anything.

Check entry requirements for countries you want to travel to.

The government does not comment on commercial practices of specific companies or cases. Neither do we endorse, recommend or approve any private test provider. Providers on the GOV.UK list have demonstrated compliance with the relevant minimum standards for their commercial provision of testing. This includes applying for and being on their journey to achieving accreditation through the 3-stage UKAS accreditation process if they are providing sample collection and/or test analysis services.

Guidance for providers

If you are a private provider and would like to be added to a list, read our separate guidance for providers.

Published 14 December 2020
Last updated 7 December 2021 + show all updates
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  226. Added Avante Health Ltd to the list of Test to Release providers. Added Pall Mall Medical to the list of general testing providers.

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  228. Added Agilis Health Ltd, Heathrow Medical Services LLP, Randox Laboratories and The London Clinic to the list of Test to Release providers. Added AlphaBiolabs, Breathe Assured, Heathrow Medical Services LLP, Randox Laboratories and The London Clinic to the list of general testing providers and amended Chronomics email address.

  229. Changed the email address for Chronomics in the 'Providers: test to release' section to test-to-release@chronomics.com.

  230. Added NPH Group MDNA Life Science Partnership and Qured to the list of Test to Release providers, and removed Axiom. Added BioGrad Laboratories, NPH Group MDNA Life Science Partnership, Prenetics and Qured to the list of general testing providers. Amended phone numbers for Concepto Clinic and DNA Workplace. Added email address for SYNLAB.

  231. Added Axiom Laboratory and Concepto Clinic to the list of Test to Release providers, and removed Medicspot. Added Concepto Clinic to the list of general testing providers.

  232. Added Collinson and Private GP Clinic to the list of Test to Release providers, and removed Axiom Laboratory. Added Biogroup Laboratory, Collinson and Private GP Clinic to the list of general testing providers.

  233. Added Nationwide Pathology and Synlab to the list of Test to Release providers, and removed Samedaydoctor. Added Chronomics, DNA Workplace and Synlab to the list of general testing providers. Removed The Private GP Clinic from both lists.

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