Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) PCR home test kit instructions

Find out how to do a PCR test for COVID-19 at home and register a test kit so you can get the result.

Documents

How to test yourself for coronavirus (COVID-19) at home (easy read)

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Details

A PCR test is a test for COVID-19 that is sent to a lab.

This guide tells you how to:

  • do a PCR home swab test for COVID-19 for yourself or a child
  • register your test kit so you can get your result
  • post the completed test kit in a Royal Mail priority postbox

If you need a test kit, get a free PCR test to check if you have COVID-19.

There’s separate information on how to do a rapid lateral flow test. This is a different type of test for people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms.

If you need help to register or do the test

You can call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines) if you need extra support to register and do the test. Lines are open every day, 7am to 11pm. 119 provides support in 200 languages.

SignVideo is a free online British Sign Language interpreter service for 119.

You can use the free Be My Eyes app to get help from trained NHS Test and Trace staff. Download the app, go to ‘Specialized Help’ and select ‘NHS Test and Trace’ in the ‘Personal Health’ category.

Published 12 November 2020
Last updated 21 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. InterpreterNow has changed to SignVideo.

  2. Updated to include information about the InterpreterNow service and that 119 provides support in 200 languages.

  3. Added 'How to test yourself for coronavirus (COVID-19) at home (easy read)'.

  4. Updated to reflect changes in test kit components.

  5. NHS helpline for Scotland has changed to 119.

  6. Added information about the 'Be My Eyes' app, where you can have a live video call with specially trained NHS Test and Trace staff to help you register and take a home coronavirus test.

  7. Updated all easy read translations to correct test packaging instructions.

  8. Added translations of 'How to test yourself for coronavirus (COVID-19) at home (easy read)'.

  9. Added a link to the RNIB website for additional formats, including audio and braille.

  10. Added 2 new documents: ‘COVID-19 home test: step-by-step guide for people with visual impairments’ and an HTML version of 'Testing yourself for coronavirus: easy read'. Changed page title to make it clear that the instructions are for a PCR test.

  11. Added large print and plain text versions of the home testing instructions.

  12. Added a new document, 'COVID-19 home test: step-by-step guide for use in Wales', and an updated version of 'Testing yourself for coronavirus: easy read'.

  13. First published.