Bespoke testing for jobs with travel exemptions

Find out about bespoke testing legally required for certain types of work.

This guidance was withdrawn on

Applies to England

You may need to take coronavirus (COVID-19) tests both before and after entering England from abroad. Check the testing requirements for entering England from abroad.

You may be exempt from some or all COVID-19 travel and entry requirements because of your job.

Check if your job has travel exemptions.

If your job requires you to follow the bespoke testing regime, you must do so. It is a legal requirement (mandatory).

There are different rules if you’re:

  • actively working as a domestic sea fisherman or woman
  • a diplomat
  • a haulier

You should check with your employer.

The bespoke testing programme you follow depends on the sector you work in.

Testing will:

  • identify cases of COVID-19, including variants
  • help stop it spreading
  • help you take suitable precautions to keep you and others safe

What you need to do

Before you travel you must complete a passenger locator form.

You do not have to do this if you’re exempt from completing a passenger locator form.

You will not have to provide a testing booking reference on the form.

At the border you’ll need to show evidence of the work you’ll be carrying out in England.

You can be fined up to £3,000 if you do not take a test when you are legally required to.

Where to get a bespoke test

You can get a bespoke test at:

Test on arrival

If you do not qualify for fully vaccinated rules, and are travelling from a non-red list country, you must take a lateral flow test on or before day 2.

The day you arrive in England is day 0.

What else you must do depends on whether you’ve been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England

Check whether you qualify for fully vaccinated rules.

Check what bespoke testing programme you need to follow for your type of work.

If you do not qualify as fully vaccinated and are travelling every day, or for no more than 2 days at a time, you must also take a lateral flow test at least once every 3 days, unless you’re a haulier who is exempt from this requirement.

Text reminders

You’ll be sent text reminders to follow your bespoke testing programme from GOV.UK.

If you’re in the UK the text will be sent from:

  • 44 (0)7984 404 870

This may display as coming from a different number if you’ve left the UK or have a non-UK phone number.

If your test is positive

There is no longer a legal requirement for people with COVID-19 infection to self-isolate, however if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result, the public health advice is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

It is advised that you do not travel, including to leave the UK.

Follow the guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection.

You will have to take a follow-up PCR test to check for new variants. You’ll have to buy this test from a private testing provider.

Check general travel rules

Read the standard rules for entering England from abroad if you do not have a job with travel exemptions.

Published 28 March 2021
Last updated 24 February 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated guidance.

  2. Updated guidance.

  3. Updated Text reminders section.

  4. Updated information on text message reminders.

  5. Updated content to reflect changes to international travel rules on 4 October 2021 (the red, amber, green traffic light system was replaced by a single red list of countries and simplified travel measures for arrivals from the rest of the world).

  6. Updated guidance.

  7. Added information on how we will contact people who are following bespoke testing regimes with text message reminders.

  8. First published.