Guidance: Test to Release for international travel: minimum standards for testing

Department Of Health

October 22
19:44 2021


This guidance is for private providers of Test to Release for international travel.

International arrivals who must quarantine at home or in the place they are staying for 10 days after they arrive can opt in to the Test to Release scheme to see if they can end their quarantine early. By law, all tests used for the purpose of shortening the quarantine period for international arrivals must meet certain minimum standards.

Providers must also complete a declaration that their tests meet these standards.

Published 24 November 2020
Last updated 22 October 2021 +show all updates
  1. Clarified the guidance in light of day 2 lateral flow tests for international arrivals.

  2. Updated content to reflect changes to international travel rules on 4 October 2021.

  3. Under '6. Reporting of coronavirus test results, as a notifiable disease', removed the passenger locator form reference from the additional data fields list.

  4. Update on thresholds for testing kits used for international arrivals in response to growing threat of variants of concern. Also includes guidance on minimum standards for providers and their obligations if test kits are not satisfactory after a review of current legislation relating to international travel.

  5. Updated content on who can take part in the Test to Release scheme following the changes to the quarantine and testing rules for amber list arrivals on 19 July 2021.

  6. Added 'vaccination status' to the list of data fields in section 6 ('Reporting of coronavirus test results, as a notifiable disease').

  7. Updated 'New testing, self-isolation and quarantine rules from 15 February' section and sections 3 and 10.

  8. Updated to include a link to the list of countries with travel bans.

  9. Added 'including Madeira and the Azores' to the Portugal listing.

  10. Updated to add the list of countries not eligible for Test to Release.

  11. Added clarification for providers of test to release on when tests can be provided and administered (section 10: 'Date tests can be provided or administered').

  12. Updated guidance to add ISO 15189 under '9. For point of care testing' and to reflect that the 14-day isolation period is now 10 days.

  13. Added link to request to be added to the list of providers of Testing to Release for International Travel.

  14. First published.

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