How to get a Covid-19 test in the UK and France
Travel between the UK and France is extremely restricted at the moment but if you are doing it you will need to take a PCR test for Covid-19. We explain how to get a test in both countries.
This article was first published on December 28, 2020. It was updated on February 19, 2021 to reflect current measures
Anyone travelling between France and the UK will need to have an up-to-date negative Covid-19 test result before they will be allowed to enter the country. The test should be taken no longer than 72 hours before departure.
Getting a Covid-19 test in the UK
If you are normally a France resident but currently in the UK, you will need a Covid-19 test before you can return.
There is a network of free official testing centres throughout Britain, open daily, but you will need to book online first. Results are often available via email the next day but can take up to three days.
Access to these public test centres is for people with symptoms only, and the UK government has said people planning to travel to another country, including France, should take a private test.
How much are private tests?
The UK government published a non-exhaustive list of private Covid test centres. The network of Boots pharmacies are among those also offering tests priced €120.
These may offer either mail-order testing, where you are sent a kit to do your own swab, that you return by post, or in-person testing.
It must be noted an adviser on the French coronavirus advice line said that France does not accept self-administered tests.
Getting a Covid-19 test in France
To find a laboratory test you search the interactive map on the sante.gouv.fr site to find one near you you, what type of tests they offer - PCR or antigen - and how you can book an appointment.
For walk-in centres this is done on a regional basis, so head to the website for the Agence Régional de Sante (ARS) for your area. Many local mairies and prefectures also have lists of the walk-in centres in the area or dates for the travelling pop-up testing sites.
If you have symptoms you should self-isolate while waiting for the result of your tests.
How much is it?
The tests costs €54 and are fully reimbursed for anyone registered with the French health system. The majority of walk-in centres are free at the point of delivery, but some ask for payment and the patient is then reimbursed the full amount.