Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested in Scotland

Published: 11 Jan 2021
Last updated: 7 Sep 2021 - see all updates

Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test, how to get tested and the different types of test available.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested in Scotland
If you do not have symptoms (lateral flow tests)

If you do not have symptoms (lateral flow tests)

Free, fast and regular testing for people who do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) is available to everyone in Scotland.

Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not show symptoms, so can spread the virus to others without knowing.

Regular testing using lateral flow devices (LFDs), also known as rapid tests, helps to find positive cases in people who have no symptoms, but who are still infectious. If people who test positive self-isolate, we can break the chain of transmission and limit the spread of COVID-19.

You should take a rapid lateral flow test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days).

If you are planning a trip abroad read about: international travel testing

Who can get a rapid LFD test

Everyone is Scotland can get rapid lateral flow devices (LFDs) for testing at home twice a week.

You must not use a LFD test if you:

  • have symptoms - you must self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test through NHS Inform
  • have been told to self-isolate
  • have tested positive for coronavirus in the last 90 days

If you currently get LFD tests from your nursery or childcare provider, school, college, university or workplace, you should continue to ask them for your LFD tests.

You need to be 18 or over to collect or order the test kits. Anyone aged 12 to 17 should ask an adult to collect or order a test kit for them, they should then self-test and report their result under adult supervision. We do not recommend regular testing for children who go to primary school, or who are younger than primary school age.

You should still get tested if you have been vaccinated. While vaccines reduce the risk of infection after 14 to 21 days, you could still become infected. No vaccine provides 100% protection against a virus. We are keeping the evidence about the impact of vaccination on transmission under review.

Get a rapid LFD test

There are a number of ways you can get a rapid LFD test.

If you currently get rapid LFD test kits from your nursery or childcare provider, school, college, university or workplace you should continue to do so.

Collect a rapid LFD test kit from your nearest pharmacy

One pack of seven LFD tests can be collected per person. If you are collecting on behalf of a household, you may receive one pack for each household member.

Please check the opening times of your local pharmacy to collect your packs of LFD tests. You do not need to book an appointment.

Please do not enter a pharmacy if have COVID-19 symptoms. If you have symptoms you must self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test through NHS Inform.

Order online for home delivery

Your order will contain one pack with seven LFD tests inside, and it will be delivered to your home in one to two days. You can only order one pack per household each day.

If you’re ordering for another household in addition to your own household, you should:

  • complete a separate order
  • use their personal details including name, address, date of birth and email address

If you cannot place an order online, you can order by calling 119.

Collect a rapid LFD test kit from your nearest COVID-19 test site

Up to two packs of seven LFD tests can be collected per household. If you are collecting for multiple people, up to four packs of seven LFD tests can be collected.

You can collect your packs of LFD tests from a COVID-19 test site between 8am to 8pm. You do not need to book an appointment.

Carry out a rapid LFD test at a test site

You may be able to visit a community asymptomatic test site if they are available in your area.

Check the targeted community testing page to see if there is a community asymptomatic test site in your local authority.

How to take a rapid LFD test

Find out how to take a rapid LFD test (video) on NHS Inform.

You should take a rapid lateral flow test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days).

Report your rapid LFD test results

You must report your result the day you take a rapid LFD test. Report your lateral flow test results on gov.uk.

More information on how to report your result, as well as information on what to do if your result is positive, is available of NHS Inform.

A negative LFD test result is not a guarantee that you do not have COVID-19. You must continue to follow coronavirus guidance and restrictions in place in your area.

Workplace testing

If you are an employer not included in an existing testing programme, you may wish to encourage your staff to take part in regular testing by ordering their own LFD tests. 

All businesses and organisations with 10 or more staff in Scotland (including employees and formal volunteers) can sign up for asymptomatic workplace testing.


First published: 11 Jan 2021 Last updated: 7 Sep 2021 -