Guidance: Bespoke testing for jobs with travel exemptions

Department Of Health

October 4
03:00 2021

Everyone coming to England from abroad must take one or more tests for coronavirus (COVID-19). Some will also have to quarantine.

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 you have a job with travel exemptions you must follow a bespoke testing programme. This is a legal requirement (mandatory).

There are different rules if youre:

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

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

Bespoke testing is designed to be flexible. It cant be booked in advance.

Before you travel you must complete a passenger locator form.

You do not have to do this if youre exempt from completing a passenger locator form.

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

At the border youll need to show evidence of the work youll be carrying out in England.

You can be fined up to 2,000 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

Everyone coming to England from abroad must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2.

The day you arrive in England is day 0.

What you else you must do depends on:

  • whether youre fully vaccinated under an approved vaccination programme (or qualify for fully vaccinated rules for other reasons)
  • whether youve been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England
  • what sector you work in

Check whether you qualify for fully vaccinated rules.

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

If youre 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.

Text reminders

Youll be sent text reminders to follow your bespoke testing programme from GOV.UK.

If youre in the UK the text will be sent from +44 (0)7860 099 071.

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

If your test is positive

If any of your tests are positive you must self-isolate for 10 days from the day after you took the test.

Youll be sent more advice with your test results.

You will have to take a follow-up PCR test to check for new variants. Youll 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 4 October 2021 +show all updates
  1. 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).

  2. Updated guidance.

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

  4. First published.

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