Changes to travel Covid testing rules: what Covid test requirements are there for landing at Gatwick Airport?

England has now ditched the requirement for ‘pre-departure’ tests for inbound international travellers - so what are the new rules?

Gatwick Airport PCR testing: how to book an on-site Covid test

As of 4am on January 7 2022, fully vaccinated travellers arriving at Gatwick Airport (and all major English airports) are permitted to enter the UK without producing a negative ‘pre-departure’ PCR or Lateral Flow Test.

Travellers will, however, have to submit a ‘day-2 test’ - that is to say, a test taken within 48 hours of their arrival in the UK. While previously this had to be a PCR test (which is analysed in a lab), now the less expensive rapid antigen Lateral Flow Test (LFT) is permissible.

Travellers no longer need to quarantine until they receive the result of their day 2 test - however, if their LFT test is positive they will then be required to take a PCR test.

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How can I get a Covid test when travelling through Gatwick?

Gatwick Airport now operates as an ExpressTest centre allowing travellers and locals alike to get tested for coronavirus.

ExpressTest centres are operated by the UK Government’s Department of Health and Social Care. They offer test results accepted in most countries of travel (be sure to check your intended destination).

What Covid tests are available at the Gatwick ExpressTest centre?

London’s Gatwick Airport is one of the UK Government-approved testing sites offering walk-through, drive-through and pre-travel testing for PCR and lateral flow tests

Gatwick Airport’s ExpressTest centre offers a variety of different Covid tests according to your needs – with tests available for NHS as well as the general public.

Gatwick Airport also provide arrival tests for travellers flying back to the UK from green and amber list travel destinations.

Walk-through Covid testing at the airport is open from 8am to 9pm, offering PCR and rapid lateral tests.

Members of the public requiring a PCR coronavirus test can also get these done via walk-through testing.

Drive-through testing is open between 7am and 10pm.

Those seeking lateral flow tests for a valid travel certificate are warned to check which countries are accepting these as a form of safe entry, as not all countries accept lateral flow tests as proof of not having Covid.

The latest Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office travel guidance provides up to date travel information on entry requirements for a range of countries, as well as their travel list status on the UK traffic light travel system.

How do I book into the Express Covid test at Gatwick Airport?

Tests carried out at the Express Covid Test Centre at Gatwick Airport can only be accessed by advance bookings.

Even if you are attending the airport to receive a lateral flow test at the walk-through facility for travel, it is recommended that you book in advance to avoid lengthy queues and possible delays to catching your flight

Those wishing to attend the walk-through testing site at the Express Test centre in Gatwick can book these at: https://www.expresstest.co.uk/book-a-test/testing-centres/gatwick-airport-walk-through/.

Here you can select your coronavirus test, and can choose a suitable date and time for screening.

Drive through testing can also be booked in advance for groups of up to five people by going to the Express Test website, with at https://www.expresstest.co.uk/gatwick-airport-drive-through/

How much do the Airport Express tests cost?

There are different costs for Covid-19 tests at the Gatwick ExpressTest centre depending on which type of coronavirus test you need, and whether you attend walk-through or drive-through testing.

At the ExpressTest walk-through facility, lateral flow tests are available for £35per person – with results taking roughly 20 minutes and sent to you by email.

Lateral Flow Tests are not as widely accepted as PCR tests internationally.

Meanwhile, PCR tests at Gatwick Airport cost £99 per person for the general public, £69 per person for flight passengers.

The results of PCR tests, considered to be more reliable in determining whether someone has Covid-19, should be supplied by 10pm on the following day, but ExpressTest warn that these could take up to 48 hours to receive.

Does the on-site testing occur before or after security?

The testing is done after you pass through security and immigration, so factor that into your timings when booking.

Gatwick Airport’s ExpressTest Walk-in screening site is at Gatwick North Terminal

Their Drive-Through screening site is located on Perimeter Road South. Use postcode RH6 0PQ, from which you should follow the ExpressTest signs to the entrance of the testing centre

Visit Gatwick Airport’s ExpressTest information page to find out more.

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