UK travellers to France can take British antigen test for return trip

Carrying a British lateral flow device in your luggage may save you time looking for a test provider in France

7 December 2021

You can take a lateral flow test kit with you from the UK to use to return from France Pic: Kauka Jarvi / Shutterstock

By Liv Rowland

Visitors from the UK can bring a British lateral flow test kit with them to use for their ‘pre-departure’ test to return to the UK, officials confirm.

With the return of an obligatory pre-departure test for entering the UK today, we checked the rules on using a UK test for this, avoiding the need to find a provider in France.

A spokesman for the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care said this is possible, bearing in mind certain provisos:

  •  It is not permitted to use ‘NHS’ lateral flow self-test kits such as those available from some British pharmacies, with the result self-registered on a website. “Our gov.uk website is clear that NHS tests cannot be used for this purpose,” the spokesman said.

  • A test obtained from a private provider is acceptable if they, as a minimum, carry out a photo verification of the negative result and report it back to the UKHSA health agency. In which case the photograph must identify the test as being the provider’s test, show the unique test booking reference of the traveller, and a clearly visible result. It is not enough for the test to be verified only over video.

The spokesman said that some travel companies sell such tests, often abbreviated to LFD (lateral flow device), as part of their travel package.

Those going for very short stays in France and returning to the UK can also make use of the same negative UK test result they used for travel into France, for their return trip.

For this to apply, you must depart France within the two days of taking the test in the UK, eg. if you took it on a Friday and travelled on the Saturday, you could come back with the same test on the Sunday if you were just staying one night.

The UK does not offer a specific list of lateral flow test providers, but some of the same providers listed by the government for day two and eight tests also provide these to be sent out to your home. See here for more information. 

You can also do a web search for providers, using terms including ‘lateral flow’ and ‘fit to fly’.

Previous articles

Travel between France and UK: Three tests now needed 

Covid-19: Rules for travel to and from France

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