COVID PCR Tests Still Required For Many Destinations

PCR tests LondonBritish holidaymakers planning to travel abroad this summer are being warned to check the local requirements and restrictions at their destination.

In the UK, many COVID restrictions ended in the middle of March, including travel restrictions for those coming into the UK. Many of us have become used to a freer way of life and we’ve started to forget about COVID restrictions as things return to normal (or a new normal).

However, many overseas destinations still have COVID restrictions in force and there have been a number of cases of travellers being caught out by not having the necessary tests or proof of vaccination prior to travel.

The requirements vary widely, so it’s important to check the detail:

  • Many countries have scrapped pre-travel test requirements, yet still require proof of vaccination
  • For those that still require pre-travel testing
    • Some countries accept lateral flow tests while others require PCR tests
    • Where lateral flow tests are accepted, they most often need to be done formally (i.e. not a leftover NHS test or one purchased online)
    • Similarly PCR tests generally need to be carried out at an independent testing centre
    • There is usually a timeframe stipulated, so tests must be carried out within a certain number of hours prior to departure. It’s important to plan this into your pre-travel preparations. Most countries that require PCR tests say they need to be done within 72 hours of arrival, but some destinations allow 5-7 days. Where Antigen (rapid flow test) is accepted, it usually has to be done nearer the time, e.g. 48 hours before travel
  • Requirements can also vary depending on vaccination status – some destinations offer exemption for ‘double jabbed’ or ‘triple jabbed’ travellers, and this is usually depending on when the most recent vaccination took place

These regulations are subject to change so it’s important to keep checking prior to travel. Just this week there have  been changes to the restrictions for those travelling to Turkey and Tunisia.

The UK government  website is an excellent resource and you can also check the destination’s official information as well as tour operators such as

If you are travelling to more than one country, even if just for a very short visit, you’ll need to check whether any different requirements apply for other destinations.

COVID Tests in London

Pre-Travel PCR Test

The Smart Clinics offers PCR ‘fit to fly’ pre-travel swab tests at all its London clinics:

  1. Book to have your PCR test at one of 4 conveniently located clinics. Please time your appointment carefully in accordance with the requirements of your destination
  2. We’ll call prior your appointment to run through pre-testing checks and check you are not showing any current symptoms of COVID
  3. At your appointment, a GP will take a swab using a long swab stick; usually from the inside of your nose and the back of your throat. That sample is then sent to an independent external laboratory
  4. The GP will inform you of the outcome of the test and give appropriate advice depending on results

Results normally take 48 hours but can be up to 72 hours at busy times. Our advisors will give latest information on this and help work out when is best for you to visit, based on your chosen destination. Regulations and requirements for travel vary by country and are changing rapidly, so please do check with your airline, travel agent and insurer to get the latest travel advice based on your destination.

Other Coronavirus testing services, London

In addition to the PCR test, The Smart Clinics also offers 2 further test options, both of which are carried out by a GP:

1. Simple Blood Test – Abbott IgG Antibody or Roche Antibody SPIKE Lab Test
  • Blood sample test for antibodies
  • High levels of accuracy and confidence in the results
  • 24 hrs turnaround time for results – tests sent to an external lab
  • Available for patients aged from the age of 16 upwards at all clinic sites
2. T-Spot COVID Test
  • Blood sample test for the body’s immune response to a COVID Vaccination
  • High levels of accuracy and confidence in the results
  • 72 hrs turnaround time for results – tests sent to an external lab
  • Available for patients aged from the age of 16 upwards at all clinic sites

➜  COVID Tests at The Smart Clinics

The Smart Clinics

The Smart Clinics is best known for its unique membership based private GP service with access to a friendly team of experienced doctors, which entitles individuals, families and corporate members to unlimited GP access for a monthly fee. Private dentistry is also available as an optional extra and available in their Chelsea clinic.

The Smart Clinics brings together a host of medical professionals offering patients high quality health services in a choice of accessible London clinic locations:

For more information contact us on or call  020 7052 0070.

Contact Us

Make An Appointment

Services are available through our a affordable membership packages or on a drop in 'pay as you go' basis. High quality medical healthcare is readily available:

  • Longer appointment times
  • No waiting lists
  • Evening and weekend appointments
  • Telephone, video and in-person consultations


Call our team on 020 7052 0070

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