Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): international travel and managed isolation (quarantine)

Planning foreign travel, quarantine rules and information on testing for people entering Scotland.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): international travel and managed isolation (quarantine)
Testing rules for travelling to Scotland

Testing rules for travelling to Scotland

Before you travel to Scotland – who needs a COVID-19 test

You will need to take a COVID-19 test in the 3 days before you travel to Scotland if you’re travelling from a country on Scotland’s red list. This applies whether or not you’re fully vaccinated.

You’ll need to take a test if you’re travelling from a non-red list country, are over 18 and not fully vaccinated.

When boarding your plane to Scotland, you will need to provide proof that you have taken a test, and that the result of your 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 are travelling to Scotland from Spain, it is recommended that you use a PCR test prior to departure, rather than other available tests such as lateral flow, to give greatest assurance before travelling.

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.

Travel within the UK and the Common Travel Area 

You do not need to take a COVID-19 test before travelling if you’ve only been in these countries in the 10 days before you travel to Scotland

  • Ireland
  • Northern Ireland
  • England
  • Wales
  • Isle of Man
  • Jersey
  • Guernsey
  • Ascension
  • Falkland Islands
  • St Helena

Children under 18 

Children aged 11 to 17 who have been in a red list country in the 10 days before they arrive in Scotland need to take a COVID-19 test before travelling. This test can be taken any time in the 3 days before their arrival in Scotland. Proof of the child’s negative result from their test must be shown by an adult travelling with the child upon arrival in Scotland. A child travelling on their own will not be asked to provide proof of a negative test result.

If a child aged 11 to 17 has not been in a red list country in the 10 days before arriving in Scotland, they do not need to take a COVID-19 test.

Children aged under 11 do not need to take a COVID-19 test before travelling from red or non-red list countries.

If you are travelling for medical reasons

Even if you’re not fully vaccinated, 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 a COVID-19 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

Testing after arrival in Scotland

You must confirm what rules you will need to follow after arriving in Scotland. The rules will depend on whether you are fully vaccinated and where you are travelling from. Read more: red and non-red list rules.

Exempt jobs

Find out more about  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.

Scottish islands and rural areas – returning test kits delivered to your home

If you live on a Scottish island or in a rural community where there are no priority mailboxes to return international travel test kits, use a normal Royal Mail post box instead.

 


Contact

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

First published: 30 Apr 2021 Last updated: 25 Oct 2021 -