COVID-19 Testing at Heathrow Airport

Our Thoughts

Travellers to the UK will need to submit evidence of a negative lateral flow or PCR test to enter, which must have been taken a maximum of 48 hours before the departure time.

In response to the Omicron variant, the UK now requires that all travellers show a negative COVID-19 test on arrival.

Travellers will need to submit evidence of a negative lateral flow or PCR test to enter, which must have been taken a maximum of 48 hours before the departure time. People currently only need to self-isolate until they test negative within two days of arrival.

If you are fully vaccinated and arrive in England 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

If you’re in the UK for less than 2 days, you still need to book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test. You must quarantine until you receive a negative test result, or until you leave the UK, whichever is sooner.

PCR tests must be booked before you travel, and bought privately from a government-approved list of providers. Everyone aged five and over (11 and over in Scotland) must take these tests.

In addition, all travellers coming to the UK must fill in and submit an online passenger locator form (PLF) no less than 48 hours before arriving, even if they are only passing through the UK. Completion of the PLF requires a booked Day 0-2 test. Tests cost £69 per person (as of December 19, 2021). Testing facilities offering more rapid results (within 3 hours) are also available for approximately £399.

These testing rules do not apply to travellers from Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man (unless they have been in another country in the 10 days before departure for the UK).

TLW Tip: Check if you qualify as fully vaccinated. To qualify under the fully vaccinated rules for travel to England, you must have proof of full vaccination with a full course of an approved vaccine. Check which vaccines are approved and the list of countries and territories with approved proof of vaccination.

Heathrow Arrivals Testing

At Heathrow, Day 2 tests are available once you have cleared security through Express Cignpost. There are two arrivals locations–in Terminal 2 arrivals and Terminal 5 arrivals.

The Terminal 2 Arrivals testing centre is also open to those not travelling through Heathrow. The ExpressTest testing centre is located on the ground level plaza (below arrivals). To access the site from elsewhere in Terminal 2, exit the building and descend to the ground level.

For ExpressTest in T5 Arrivals, go to level 0 (ground level), and go inside the terminal building then turn immediately right. You will find the testing centre at the far end of the building beyond Café Nero and the red coloured lift.

Andrew Taylor

For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.

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