Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Supervised COVID Test for Travel

Depending on where you’re travelling, you might be required to have a supervised COVID test for travel. We’ve all the information you need to know.

Dr Alasdair Scott MBBS FRCS PhD

March 10th, 2022

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We know firsthand that pre-flight nerves are very real – especially these days when COVID restrictions are in place. Nothing feels certain until you’re sitting on the plane, fastening your seatbelt.

Depending on the country you’re travelling to, you may or may not have to prove you’re COVID-free. This might mean doing a supervised COVID test for travel before your flight (also referred to as a supervised ‘fit-to-fly’ test or supervised rapid antigen lateral flow test).

Thankfully, these supervised tests are a relatively no-fuss way of getting a “fit-to-fly” certificate, all from the comfort of your own home. There’s no need to visit a COVID testing clinic – you should receive your result and certificate in just hours.

If you’re in need of a supervised COVID test for travel, there are a few things you should know beforehand. We’re here to help make sure everything goes to plan and that the testing process is as effortless as possible.

What is a supervised COVID test for travel?

Let’s start with the basics. A so-called supervised COVID test for travel is an antigen/lateral flow test you have to carry out, under the supervision of a trained professional (AKA a supervisor). They’re there to observe and make sure you’re doing the test correctly.

The entire testing process is carried out via an online video call – the supervisor will guide you through the test and witness the results.

Please note the procedures for a supervised lateral flow test might differ slightly across the various test providers available but generally, the process is much the same.

Woman getting supervised COVID antigen test

When will you receive your results?

With a supervised antigen video self-test, your results will be pretty instant. The results of the lateral flow test will show within 10-30 minutes.

A negative result shows one red line. And a positive result shows two red lines.

When should you book your test?

A supervised rapid antigen video self-test might be required for a departure from the UK depending on your destination. It’s a good idea to book your test about a week in advance of when you’re departing so you make sure that your provider has availability for you and time to dispatch the test kit to you.

You’ll need to make sure that you book the video supervision slot within the required pre-departure window specified by your destination country. For example, the United States of America currently states that travellers must take their supervised test within 24 hours of departure.

Booking a supervised COVID test

When will you receive your fit to fly certificate?

Once your supervised antigen video self-test is over (hopefully it’s negative), you should upload or send a photo of the results to the provider’s system. They’ll then issue you with a certificate that enables you to board your flight. It usually takes a couple of hours after submitting your test cassette to receive your result certificate.

Do you need a supervised COVID test for travel?

It all depends on where you’re travelling to. Some countries will require a supervised COVID test for travel, whereas others don’t need it to be supervised. For example, the United States of America and Australia currently require pre-departure rapid antigen tests to be supervised.

Remember, government guidelines are constantly changing. Always double-check the COVID testing requirements of the country you’re visiting, at the time of your visit. Different countries across the globe have different regulations regarding COVID safety.

If you’re unsure, visit the GOV.UK where you’ll find information on the latest entry requirements, and travel warnings too.

Supervised lateral flow test: What else can you expect?

We want all of our customers to test with confidence. There’s a reason we’re the UK’s highest-rated provider on Trustpilot: we provide clear and reassuring information on absolutely everything you need to know about getting your COVID travel test.

Here are a few tips on feeling 100% prepared before, during, and after your supervised lateral flow test.

Be on time

You must be on time for your supervised rapid antigen test. Being late to your video call may result in you having to reschedule (and that could be a disaster!). We know the days in the run-up to your flight can be hectic, so make sure you make time for your test supervision. Remember, don’t leave your booking too late before your flight – it’s always better to be safe, than sorry.

Use our handy antigen travel test calculator to work out the earliest time you can take your sample.

Planning a supervised COVID test

Make sure you’ve got a good internet connection

Whether you use your phone, laptop, tablet or another electronic device, make sure you’ve got a stable internet access. Your supervised lateral flow test requires a good connection in order for the supervisor to efficiently observe the test.

Prepare your nose and throat

It’s no secret that lateral flow tests can be uncomfortable. However, there are things you can do to make your test as pleasant as possible:

  • Blow your nose
  • Remove any nose piercings
  • Do not eat or drink anything 30 minutes before the test

If you gag or your eyes are watering – it just means you’re doing it right!

Follow the instructions

Don’t worry if you’ve never completed a lateral flow test before – they’re pretty straightforward. Plus, the supervisor is there for a reason – they’ll guide you through the entire process from start to finish. Just follow their instructions.

Watch our short video on how to use C19 Testing lateral flow antigen tests:

Try to relax after the test

We know this is easier said than done! With time ticking down to your flight, it’s normal for you to feel the pressure. However, do your best to relax. Sit back and make a cup of tea – your certificate will be with you in no time. Getting you everything you need is just another day in the office for people like us. So trust C19 Testing for your on-time supervised COVD antigen test for travel.

Woman relaxing after taking a supervised COVID test

Other FAQs

Let’s clear a few things up with some common questions.

Do I need a supervised lateral flow test for travel to the USA?

The latest US travel restrictions state most passengers are required to show a negative COVID test result – regardless of whether they’ve been fully vaccinated or not. This test must be supervised and our rapid antigen lateral flow pre-departure test is suitable.

Full guidelines can be found on the CDC website.

Can multiple members of my party join the call?

Most supervised ‘fit-to-fly’ test providers allow all members of a travel party to join one video call. Alternatively, travellers can book separately.

What do I need for the call?

Just a phone, laptop, or tablet with internet access.

Your test provider will send you the lateral flow antigen kit – this has all the components you need to carry out the test, including a swab, buffer solution, extraction tube and a test device.

Speak to us and order your supervised test today

Testing for COVID doesn’t need to be stressful and complicated. That’s why we’re here to help. We want you to feel 100% certain you’ve booked the right test – including any supervised COVID tests for travel you may need.

Speak to our customer support team for more info on our COVID testing options. You can also submit a request query and a member of staff will respond ASAP. Our core business hours for general enquiries are from 9 am - 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

There’s our comprehensive Help Centre too. Here you’ll find the answers to the most common COVID travel testing questions. And our reviews can help you see what your fellow travellers are saying about us.

If you’re happy, you can order your supervised rapid antigen test from us today.

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