Last reviewed 23 December 2020

Passengers arriving in England are now able to choose to pay for a private Covid-19 test and potentially shorten their self-isolation by up to half if they test negative.

Available as an option for all passengers arriving into England by plane, ferry or train if they have been in a ”non-exempt” location in the past 10 days, the move will ensure that passengers who receive a negative result on or after day five can immediately finish self-isolation.

However, they must continue following the current domestic rules in their local area.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the move will give passengers the confidence to book international trips in the knowledge that they can return home and possibly isolate for a shorter period.

Those opting into the scheme having to book and pay for a test from a private provider (see Government’s list of approved Covid-19 test providers).

Those listed have declared that they meet the Government’s minimum standards for providers of Test to Release for international travel or minimum standards for private sector providers of general Covid-19 testing.

“The Government does not endorse or recommend any particular private test provider,” the official notice states. “Individuals should conduct their own research about available providers, the tests they supply and their locations.”

Airlines UK, the trade body for airlines, reported that there had been “teething problems” when the scheme launched but said that it expected these to be resolved soon.