Scotland’s travel testing policy updated to include private providers

Posted: 8 September 2021 11:20 am

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Scottish travellers returning home from abroad will now have the option to order tests from the government’s booking portal CTM or from a private provider.

From 6 September 2021, people travelling to Scotland from green or amber list countries no longer have to book their COVID tests for travel exclusively through the NHS agent CTM. They now also have the option to book and pay for tests from one of the private providers listed on the UK government’s website.

This brings Scotland in line with Northern Ireland, which also gives travellers the option to pay £68 per NHS COVID PCR test supplied by CTM or to choose a private provider for their travel tests.

The decision to give travellers in Scotland more choice about travel tests follows the Scottish government’s monitoring of private COVID test providers for performance and reliability to ensure the safeguarding of public health.

More flexibility

“The step provides more choice and flexibility for travellers and will provide a boost for the tourism and aviation sector,” said Humza Yousaf, the Scottish cabinet secretary for health and social care.

“We have had regular engagement with the UK government to understand the measures being taken to ensure test results will be communicated rapidly and reliably to both individuals and to contact-tracing services.”

Currently, anyone travelling to the UK (England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland) needs to take a pre-departure test at least 72 hours before they return and at least one PCR test after they arrive back, regardless of whether or not they’ve been double-vaccinated. The exception to this rule is children, with different age limits depending on which part of the UK they’re travelling to and the tests they need to take.

If you plan on travelling abroad and would like more information on what tests you might need, see our comparison of COVID tests for travel.

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