Testing for people travelling to Scotland
You will need to buy a COVID-19 test and take this test in the 3 days before you travel.
When boarding your plane, you will need to provide proof that you have taken the test, and that the result of the test was negative. You may also be asked to provide proof of a negative test when you arrive in Scotland.
The type of test you will need to buy
The test you buy must meet standards of ≥97% specificity and ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.
Suitable tests include:
- a nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests
- an antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device, though many lateral flow devices may not meet the standards needed – you must check the test you buy meets standards of ≥97% specificity and ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml
You may not be able to travel if the test you buy does not meet these standards.
If you are travelling from abroad, the foreign travel advice pages on gov.uk will have the latest updates about where you can buy COVID-19 tests in the country you are travelling from.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, you should contact your nearest consulate, embassy or high commission.
What your test result must include
Your test result must be in either English, French or Spanish.
You must provide your original test result certificate. This can be a paper test result, or an original result you have had in an email or text message.
The test result must include:
- your name, which should match the name on your travel documents
- your date of birth or age
- the negative result of the test
- the date the test sample was collected or received by the company or business who did the test
- the name of the company or business who did the test and their contact details
- the name of your test device
If your test result does not include all these things, you may not be able to travel to Scotland.
Positive test results
If your test result is positive, you must not travel. You must follow local rules and guidance for positive COVID-19 cases.
If the result of your test is not clear, you must take another test.
Previous positive test results
If you have recently tested positive for coronavirus and more than 10 days have passed since your positive test, you may be concerned that you will test positive pre-departure and this will prevent you from travelling. Evidence of prior infection does not remove the requirement to provide a negative pre-departure test to travel to Scotland, or once in Scotland. This is to mitigate against the risk of re-infection with a different variant of coronavirus.
If you have had Covid-19 in the last 90 days, we would recommend that you select a lateral flow device (LFD) for pre-departure testing, as LFDs are significantly less likely to give persistent positives for someone who has tested positive within the previous 90 days. As above, LFDs must meet the minimum standards of 97% specificity and 80% sensitivity.
Getting a test in a country you are travelling through
You will need to show your test result when you board a flight to Scotland.
If you do not have a test result because you were not able to get one in a country you travelled through, and you are not able to enter the country, you will be allowed to board your transport to Scotland.
If this happens, you may be fined £480 on arrival in Scotland for not having a valid test result and you must self-isolate for 10 days.
When you do not need to take a test
If you're travelling from one of these countries or territories, and have not travelled outside these countries for 10 days or more before leaving for Scotland, you will not need to take a test:
- Northern Ireland
- Isle of Man
- Falkland Islands
- St Helena
Children and medical reasons
Children under 11 do not need to take a COVID-19 test before travelling.
Children aged between 11 and 18 must take a COVID-19 test before travelling. Proof of the child's negative test result must be shown by an adult travelling with the child upon arrival in Scotland.
You do not need to take a test if you:
- are travelling to the UK for urgent medical treatment, or supporting someone who is travelling for urgent medical treatment, and you're not able to take a COVID-19 test in the 3 days before your journey
- have a medical condition that means you cannot take a test – you must present a note from a doctor or other healthcare provider when you arrive - this must be in English or have been translated into English
- have a disability that means you're not able to take a COVID-19 test
- could not get the test at any point of your journey, or in the last 3 days before you left for Scotland - you may be fined if you were able to buy a test but chose not to
You do not need to take a test if you're travelling because you are:
- a border or customs official
- defence personnel, visiting forces or a government contractor
- a haulier
- air, maritime or rail crew
- a civil aviation inspector
- someone transporting human cells or blood products
- a seaman, or the master of a ship
- an inspector, or a surveyor, of ships
- a specialist technical worker doing emergency work
In some circumstances, you may not need to take a test if you are:
- an official of a foreign government
- a UK government official conducting essential state business, work or policing
You can find out more about these job exemptions if you need to check whether they apply to you.
Test to Release scheme
Test to Release is not available to those travelling to Scotland.
If you have been vaccinated
The rules on managed quarantine and self isolation apply even if you have had a COVID-19 vaccine. This is because we do not know if COVID-19 vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus.