Guidance

Get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test if you’re an HGV or van driver

You must take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test before you leave the UK for some countries – check which countries require them and how to get a free test.

Changes to testing for journeys to France

Drivers returning to France from the UK on a round-trip who have spent less than 48 hours in the UK do not need to test negative for coronavirus before travelling. Cross-channel operators will give drivers evidence of the time of their trip to the UK. Drivers will need to show this at check-in for the return journey.

French authorities will recognise proof of a negative coronavirus test taken in Ireland if the test was taken less than 72 hours before departure from the UK for France.

Check if you need a test

You must test negative for coronavirus before you travel from the UK to:

Check FCDO travel advice for any country you’re planning to enter.

You must take the test before you leave the UK. You’ll need to show your certificate of proof of a negative test at the UK and EU border, as well as to the carrier.

You must do this if you’re:

  • a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver or HGV crew
  • a van or other light goods vehicle (LGV) driver

It applies to both UK and non-UK drivers.

If you test negative, you’ll get a certificate of proof. You’ll need to show this before you can leave the UK.

You can get a free coronavirus test if you’re a professional coach driver who is driving abroad for work.

When to get a test

If you need a test, you must get it before you leave the UK.  

Each country sets its own rules for when you must take your test.

Get tested before you reach the port you’re leaving the UK from.

Country When you must take the test
Denmark In the 24 hours before you arrive in Denmark.
France In the 72 hours before you depart the UK.
You do not need to take a test if you are returning to France after spending less than 48 hours in the UK.
You can take a test in Ireland if it is carried out in the 72 hours before you depart the UK for France.
Germany In the 48 hours before you depart the UK.
Netherlands In the 24 hours before you depart the UK.

Where to get a test

You can either get:

  • a private test from your company (if it has bought them from an authorised test provider)
  • a free coronavirus test at most haulier advice sites

You cannot use an NHS test result to leave the UK because it does not give you the proof you need to travel.

Most haulier advice sites are:

  • located at motorway services and truck stops
  • open between 6am and 9:30pm, 7 days a week

Visit a site as early as possible in your journey. Check the latest traffic updates from Highways England to help you plan.

If you’re leaving the UK via Kent, you should take a test before you reach Kent. This applies if either:

Check the opening times for the site you want to use before you travel.

You do not need to book in advance. 

Find a site

If you’re using the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel

A negative test result remains valid for entry to France for 72 hours. This gives you enough time to get tested before you set off, or at the start of your journey.

Get a test before you enter Kent. You’ll then be fast-tracked past any queues.

You’ll also need a valid Kent Access Permit.

If you’re carrying dangerous goods

You must take a coronavirus test before you enter Kent if you’re carrying:

This is because these types of loads are not allowed at the sites in Kent. You’ll be refused access if you’re carrying them.

Check with your transport manager or consignor if you’re not sure if your goods fall into any of these categories.

When you get to the test site

Protect yourself and others by keeping a safe distance and wearing a face covering.

Avoid leaving your vehicle except to use the rest facilities or when asked to by a member of staff.

If you already have a valid negative test, let a member of staff know. If you do not need to take a test, you’ll be directed to your departure point and will be able to continue your journey.

If you do need to take a test, a member of staff will give you a test kit.

Take the test

The test involves taking a swab at the back of your throat and the inside of your nose using a long cotton bud.

You do the test yourself. Staff will watch you, and the test kit has instructions for you to follow.

After you’ve taken the test

Return to your vehicle and wait for 30 minutes for the results when you’ve taken the test.

If your test result is negative 

You need to collect your certificate to prove your negative result if you test negative.

Staff will then direct you to your departure point and you’ll be able to continue your journey.

You’ll need to show your test result to:

  • enforcement officers in the UK
  • border officials in the countries that require them

Keep the result safe. If you lose it, you’ll need to take another test.

If your test result is positive 

You cannot continue your journey if the test result is positive.

What you do next depends on where you can safely self-isolate.

A small number of test sites will immediately carry out a second test to confirm the result if you’ve tested positive for coronavirus.

If you can safely self-isolate in the UK

You can safely self-isolate in the UK if you have a home in the UK, or if you can stay with family or friends in the UK.

  1. Return your vehicle to your depot or place of work. Do not share the vehicle with anyone.

  2. Go home and self-isolate. Your household needs to self-isolate too.  

  3. Book a free NHS coronavirus test within 48 hours to confirm the test result. 

If the NHS test result is positive, you and your household will need to complete the full self-isolation period.   

If your NHS test result is negative, you and your household can end your self-isolation period.  

If you cannot safely self-isolate in the UK

If you do not have anywhere to stay in the UK, it means you cannot safely self-isolate.

You’ll be given hotel accommodation so you can safely self-isolate and support staff will arrange a second coronavirus test for you to confirm the result.

  1. You’ll be directed to a hotel to self-isolate.

  2. Park your vehicle in the hotel car park.

  3. Arrange with your company for any perishable or dangerous goods to be picked up by another driver. Staff at the hotel will tell you how to do this safely.

  4. Support staff will arrange for you to have a second coronavirus test to confirm your result. Most people get their result within a few days.

If your second test result is negative, staff will direct you to a test site for another coronavirus test. Once your negative test has been confirmed, you’ll receive a certificate and will be free to continue your journey.

If your second test result is positive, you’ll have to self-isolate at the hotel for 10 days. After 10 days, you’ll receive a certificate to show you have completed your isolation period and will be free to continue your journey.

You will not have to pay for the hotel accommodation and food.

You should not leave the hotel without permission while you’re self-isolating.

Other documents you need for international road haulage

You need to have the right:

You must have a valid Kent Access Permit if your HGV is both:

  • leaving Great Britain from the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel
  • over 7.5 tonnes

The permit also makes sure you have the right documents for EU import controls.

Apply for a Kent Access Permit.

Published 17 February 2021
Last updated 21 February 2021 + show all updates
  1. From 11.00pm 21 February, hauliers do not need to test negative for coronavirus if they are returning to France after spending less than 48 hours in the UK.

  2. First published.