Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for staff after international travel

Steps employers must take to help their staff get tested for COVID-19 if they regularly travel across UK borders.

This guidance was withdrawn on

If your employees are fully vaccinated, they will not need to take a COVID-19 test before they travel to England or after they arrive.

If you’re an employer that requires staff to travel regularly across UK borders you must:

  • make sure any of your staff who are not fully vaccinated understand what COVID-19 tests they must take after international travel
  • take reasonable steps to support them in taking these tests

You have a legal obligation to do this if:

  • you employ more than 50 people
  • any of your employees, including agency workers, follow the bespoke testing regime

Make sure employees understand what tests they need to take

If you have employees that are not fully vaccinated, you should make sure they understand that if they are travelling for work, on their arrival in England they follow the appropriate testing regime for their job role.

Your employees may need help understanding whether their job qualifies for an exemption, or what bespoke testing programme they need to follow. You can direct them to the guidance on jobs that qualify for travel exemptions.

If the employee’s job does not qualify for an exemption and they are not fully vaccinated, they will need to take an arrival travel test. They will need to order their travel tests from a private provider.

What happens if a test is positive or unclear

You must also explain what will happen in the following circumstances as part of this process:

Positive test result

There is no longer a legal requirement for people with coronavirus (COVID-19) infection to self-isolate, however if your employees 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 they do not travel, including to leave the UK.

If the test they took was a bespoke testing LFD, they are required to take a day 2 PCR test (also known as an arrivals test) from a private provider.

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

Unclear test result

If their test result is unclear, it is not possible to say whether they had the virus when the test was done.

It is advised that they take another bespoke testing regime test.

They are no longer required to self-isolate.

However, if they have symptoms of COVID-19, they should arrange to have a PCR test and avoid contact with other people where possible.

Testing in the workplace

You may want to put in place workplace testing for your employees.

If you’d like to set up workplace testing, read the guidance on how to plan and carry out the testing.

Testing outside the workplace

Where workplace testing is not appropriate, employers should support the employee to get tested by:

  • making sure the employee knows what type of test they need, and where to get tested
  • allowing them the time they need to get tested

Employees can access rapid lateral flow tests by:

  • ordering a home testing kit online or by dialling 119
  • picking up tests from a pharmacy to do at home

Read more about accessing rapid lateral flow tests on NHS.UK.

If you employ seasonal agricultural workers

If you employ seasonal agricultural workers you should make sure your employees are able to get tested without leaving the farm.

You can do this by:

Published 28 March 2021
Last updated 24 February 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect latest testing rules.

  2. Updated guidance.

  3. Updated to reflect current testing rules. Added a link to content providing detailed guidance on workplace testing. Updated and clarified content on how to access tests.

  4. First published.