why need pcr test birmingham


We’re hopefully seeing the return of international travel for UK residents, and while this is good news, it is coming with some additional admin! If you want to explore the world once more, you’ll likely need a Fit to Fly certificate that proves you are COVID-19 free. Some countries will accept a rapid antigen test, but to make sure you can fly anywhere, you’ll need a PCR test. Today we’ll guide you through what a PCR test is, why you likely need one to travel, and where you can get one.

What is a PCR test?

A PCR test, which stands for a polymerase chain reaction test, tests for COVID-19. While a rapid antigen test or lateral flow test simply tests for COVID-19 in your bodily fluids in your nasal cavity and/or the back of your throat, a PCR test looks for the presence of viral RNA. This can be found in the body before antibodies form, so it’s one of the most accurate ways to detect COVID-19. Fortunately, a PCR test is taken in the same way – it requires a simple nasal swab, but the sample must be analysed in a laboratory.


why need pcr test birmingham


Why do I need a PCR test?

PCR tests are necessary for anyone looking to travel to or from the UK to a wide range of other countries – you can find out what the country you’re travelling to requires at Fit to Travel NHS. Not all countries require a Fit to Fly certificate and not all require a PCR test, though a negative PCR test is the best show of proof available.

If you are feeling anxious about travelling during Covid, check out our tips for travelling safely here:
Travel Safely


Is a PCR Fit to Fly test the same as a lateral flow test?

No, though they are completed similarly. You can complete either with a simple swab at the back of the nose. However, the PCR test must be analysed in a laboratory; you cannot see instant results as you can with at-home lateral flow tests. You can find further information about lateral flow testing here:

Find Out More


Some countries accept Rapid Antigen tests as proof of a negative result, however these tests must be purchased through a private provider. This is because they must be accompanied by a Fit to Fly certificate for travel. You can check the requirements and travel advice for each country here.

Can I use a PCR test as proof that I’m fit to fly?

Yes, provided you get a Fit to Fly travel certificate with your test. These certificates include your details along with the credentials for where you were tested, your passport number, when your test was taken, and the time and date of the report.

Can I get a PCR test for free?

Yes, if you have symptoms or believe you have been in contact with someone who has the virus. You can find a free PCR testing facility here – however, you likely won’t get a Fit to Fly certificate and you may have to wait weeks for your results. It is often best to get a PCR test is a private service if you’re planning to travel soon. The cost of the test ranges from affordable to relatively expensive, depending on where you choose to be tested.



Where can I get a travel PCR test in Birmingham?

You can find a certified testing facility on the government Find a Travel Test Provider site or, if you’re not looking to travel, you can find a facility here.

Get A Travel Test


This post was written on behalf of Saydon Pharmacy by Pharmacy Mentor.