Guidance

How to do a coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow test

Find out how to do an NHS rapid lateral flow test for COVID-19 and report the results. Rapid lateral flow tests show the result on a device that comes with the test.

How you do the test depends on the test kit you’re using.

The throat and nose test kit has a blue and white pack.

Nose-only test kits have a:

  • blue and white pack (ACON Flowflex)
  • green and white pack (Orient Gene)
  • purple and white (SureScreen)

The pack you have may be different to one you’ve had before, so read the instructions in the pack carefully before you do the test.

Check the expiry date before you do the test. Do not use out-of-date tests. Use a test from a box which is still in date.

Find out what to do with expired tests on NHS.UK

There’s separate information on how to do a PCR home test, the test that is sent to a lab to be checked.

Videos: how to do a rapid test

There are separate videos for the throat and nose test, and nose-only tests.

Blue and white pack (ACON Flowflex): nose-only test

Watch a video demonstration of how to do a nose-only test (blue and white pack - ACON Flowflex).

Green and white pack (Orient Gene): nose-only test

This video is for Orient Gene packs of 7 test kits or 20 test kits.

Watch a video demonstration of how to do a nose-only test (green and white pack - Orient Gene).

Purple and white pack (SureScreen): nose-only test

This video is for SureScreen packs of 7 test kits.

Watch a video demonstration of how to do a nose-only test (purple and white pack - SureScreen).

Blue and white pack: throat and nose test

Watch a video demonstration of how to do a throat and nose test (blue and white pack).

Report your test result

Report all results (positive, negative or void):

  • every time you use an NHS rapid lateral flow test kit
  • within 24 hours of getting the result

Do not use this service to report results from a test kit you’ve paid for

Find out what your result means on NHS.UK.

Get help to do the test or report results

If you need extra support, you can call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines).

Lines are open:

  • Monday to Friday (including bank holidays), 8am to 6pm
  • Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 1pm

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 & Trace’ in the ‘Personal Health’ category.

If you have severe sight loss, you might find it easier to get help to do the test from a friend or family member.

Give feedback about your test kit or report harm

If any part of your test kit is damaged or missing, do not use that test kit. You can still use the other tests in the pack.

If you’ve been harmed or had a reaction using the test kit, report it as soon as possible.

Find out how to give feedback about your test kit or report harm.

Guides in different formats and languages

There are separate guides for the throat and nose test, and nose-only tests.

English

Find step-by-step guides, including easy read and large print versions:

Українська (Ukrainian)

Див. покрокове керівництво з проведення експрес-тесту:

Polski (Polish)

Znajdź przewodniki krok po kroku, jak wykonać szybki test:

中文(简体 (Chinese - Simplified)

查找进行快速测试的分步指南:

ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Punjabi - Gurmukhi)

ਰੈਪਿਡ ਟੈਸਟ ਕਰਨ ਲਈ ਕਦਮ-ਦਰ-ਕਦਮ ਗਾਈਡਾਂ ਲੱਭੋ:

پن٘جابی (Punjabi - Shahmukhi)

:اک ریپڈ ٹیسٹ کرن لئی اپنا مرحلہ وار گائیڈ لبھو

Româna (Romanian)

Găsiți ghiduri pas cu pas pentru testele rapide la:

العربية (Arabic)

:بحث عن أدلة تفصيلية حول إجراء اختبار سريع

ગુજરાતી (Gujarati)

ઝડપી પરીક્ષણ કરવા માટે પગલું-દર-પગલા માર્ગદર્શિકાઓ શોધો:

فارسی (Persian)

:افتن راهنماهای گام به گام برای انجام تست فوری

اردو (Urdu)

:ریپڈ ٹیسٹ کرنے کے لیے قدم بہ قدم رہنما تلاش کریں

Slovenčina (Slovak)

Nájdete podrobných sprievodcov rýchlym testom:

Türkçe (Turkish)

Hızlı (rapid) test yapmak için adım adım rehberleri burada bulabilirsiniz:

Cymraeg (Welsh)

Dod o hyd i ganllawiau fesul cam i gynnal prawf cyflym:

Soomaali (Somali)

Raadi hagayaasha tallaabo-tallaabo ah si aad u sameyso baaritaan degdeg ah:

বাংলা (Bengali)

দ্রুত পরীক্ষা করার জন্য ধাপে ধাপে নির্দেশিকাগুলি পাবেন এখানে:

हिंदी (Hindi)

त्वरित परीक्षण करने के लिए चरण-दर-चरण गाइड प्राप्त करें:

دری (Dari)

:راهنمای قدم به قدم برای انجام تست سریع را ببینید

پښتو (Pashto)

:د ګړندۍ ازموینې لپاره ګام په ګام لارښوونې وګورئ

Published 23 December 2020
Last updated 30 May 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated 119 phone line opening hours.

  2. Added information about checking expiry dates on rapid lateral flow tests.

  3. Added links to Ukrainian versions of 'Throat and nose test: COVID-19 rapid test kit instructions' and 'Nose-only test (SureScreen): COVID-19 rapid test kit instructions'.

  4. Updated information to reflect changes in testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) in England.

  5. Updated 'Blue and white pack: throat and nose test' video to reflect changes to self-isolation guidance.

  6. Updated wording to reflect that rapid lateral flow tests are usually for people without symptoms of COVID-19.

  7. Added Be My Eyes app information: live video call with NHS Test and Trace staff to help people to take a COVID-19 test and report the result.

  8. Updated information about the video for SureScreen tests.

  9. Updated video links to reflect changes to confirmatory PCR rules.

  10. Added guidance on how to do a SureScreen rapid nose-only test and information on how to give test kit feedback or report harm.

  11. Updated wording to clarify that this guidance is for how to do a rapid test at home or at a test site.

  12. Removed information about MP Biomedicals rapid nose-only test.

  13. Added links to translated guides.

  14. Added Throat and nose test (Innova 25) for care home staff: COVID-19 rapid test kit instructions.

  15. Added information about ordering a rapid lateral flow test and how to do an MP Biomedicals rapid nose-only test. Added Dari and Pashto translated guides.

  16. Added information about the InterpreterNow service and that 119 provides support in 200 languages.

  17. Added information about how to do an ACON Flowflex rapid nose-only test. Updated information about the different types of rapid tests, checking which test you have and reporting your result.

  18. Updated to add information about checking with test you have, the different types of test and how to do a nose-only rapid lateral flow test, including videos and instructions.

  19. Changed page title, summary and body content to make it clear that the instructions are for a rapid later flow tests. Updated information on what to do when you get your result and reporting your results

  20. Added link to the self-test instructions for use and translated versions of it.

  21. First published.