EU Traffic Light System: How to get a COVID-19 PCR test before travelling

As COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise in many parts of the world, an increasing number of countries are asking for a negative PCR test as a means of proof that travellers do not have the COVID-19 virus.

Whilst not yet a common requirement globally, it is understood that the EU could soon be turning to a Traffic Light System that will require pre-departure testing for individuals departing any of the 15 ‘red list’ countries – which includes the UK and could be extended to include Ireland.

Whilst there are currently a number of countries across the EU that do not require a negative COVID test for visitors from the UK, the implementation of this co-ordinated approach across the EU will place common requirements on all travellers from the UK, no matter which country they are visiting.

It could also be used in support of reduced quarantine in those countries which require it.

So – what is a PCR test?

PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction and is a method of testing used to detect infectious disease, including COVID-19.

A PCR test is performed in a laboratory and is indicative of an individual’s COVID status at the time their sample is taken. It does not show previous infection.

Where can I get a COVID PCR test done?

PCR tests are available at Randox Health via an in-clinic appointment, or a home sample collection.

Are home tests accepted as proof of my COVID status?

It is important to note that many countries do not accept ‘home tests’ as proof of a negative COVID-19 result. Results must show that the test was performed in a certified laboratory.

Whilst Randox Health offers a home sample collection kit, all our testing is performed using PCR methods in our certified laboratories.

If the country you are travelling to requires a PCR test result, we’ve got you covered.

How do I know if I need a COVID PCR test?

You can check the entry requirements for your destination at

Requirements are subject to change, so keep checking in the weeks and days leading up to your trip.

When do I take my sample for testing?

Your destination country will determine the time frame required for testing. For example, it may state that your sample needs to be taken and tested within 72 hours before departure / arrival. You cannot be swabbed before this time.

It is best to book / order your test in advance and take it as early as possible within your window, so that you allow for the maximum amount of time to get your test results back.

How long do I wait for my results?

Upon receipt of sample at Randox’s laboratories, you will receive your results within 24 hours.

Our rapid, accurate and reliable COVID-19 testing service will help get your trip off to a hassle-free start, with minimum disruption to your travel plans.

Visit to order your home sample collection kit or book your clinic appointment.

For further information please email or phone 0800 2545 130.

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