The new rules on travel into the UK mean that incoming travellers now have to pre-book at Day 2 PCR test and generate a code to put onto the Passenger Locator Form (PLF).
Note that although this test is referred to as a ‘Day 2’ test, it is a test that must be taken on or before Day 2.
The day you arrive in the UK is Day ‘0’ with the next day ‘1’ and the second day ‘2’.
This means you can take the Day 2 test as soon as you arrive, and receive the results more quickly, this shortening the time you have to spend in quarantine. Many providers call it a ‘Fully Vaccinated Arrivals Day 0-2 PCR Test’.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is, at the moment, you can’t get a rapid (3-hour) PCR test for this Day 0-2 test…. we’re hoping that will change, but read on…
What are the new rules?
They are on the government website, but at the time of writing (and we will update these as they change), they are as follows:
If you are fully vaccinated and arrive in England after 4am Tuesday 30 November from a country that is not on the red list, you:
- must self-isolate
- take a PCR test before the end of day 2 after you arrive (lateral flow tests will not be accepted)
- can leave self-isolation if your PCR test result is negative
Of course you can order a PCR test to your home and then post off the sample, or you could use a walk-in centre close to where you live or work. The government website has a list of providers.
Note that to travel to the UK you need to complete a PLF. To complete that form, you must have booked a Day 2 test with an approved provider which will then send you a code. You cannot wait until you arrive in the UK to do this, since the PLF requires a code from an approved testing provider to prove you have booked a test.
Gatwick arrivals testing
You can take your pre-booked PCR test once you have cleared security.
Gatwick has several test locations and there are also several operators, though there is not an onsite testing site which can be walked to from the terminal.
ExpressTest offer Day 0-2 fully vaccinated PCR tests from £69pp. You can take this test anytime up to 2 days after you arrive at the drive-through centre located on Perimeter Road South.
If you are driving from the airport, or have the use of a car, you can use the drive through for ExpressTest by Cignpost.
Location: Car Park X, Perimeter Road South, Lowfield Heath, Gatwick Airport, RH6 0PQ
How much does it cost?
For a drive through test with CignPost, it is £69, though there is a voucher code to save £10
Save £10 on your PCR Day 2 Arrivals test using discount code LGWBTT10 at checkout.
How quickly will you get the result?
Express Cignpost says
“We aim to deliver your RT-PCR test results by 10pm the day AFTER your test. If it is not yet 10pm UK time then please wait until this time has elapsed before contacting us.”
The government have set a qualifying criteria for acceptable Day 2 tests, as it stands now Rapid PCR does not qualify in it’s current form and is therefore not yet approved for Day 2 arrival.
— Collinson (@Collinson) November 29, 2021