COVID-19 Travel Testing with TDL

COVID-19 testing and other measures are required for travellers who have been in a ‘Red List’ or ‘Non-Red List’ country in the 10 days before they arrive in the UK.

Note that Private Providers are not permitted to offer travel testing services to arrivals from Red-list countries.

TDL provides 'Fit to Fly', ‘Day 2/Day 8’, and 'Day 5 Test to Release' services.

This page provides:

  • An overview of travel testing measures
  • Services offered by TDL
  • The process for TDL clients acting as Providers of Fit to Fly, Day 2/Day 8, and Day 5 Test to Release services.

Note that we only offer travel testing through our clients , not to individual members of the public.

 

Overview of travel testing measures

See GOV.UK for the latest rules for entering EnglandWalesScotland and Northern Ireland

 

UK departures

 

Red list country

Non-Red list country  – Not fully vaccinated*

Non-Red list country  – Fully vaccinated*

TDL offers Fit to Fly PCR and antibody tests prior to leaving the UK

Check rules of destination country and travel carrier Check rules of destination country and travel carrier Check rules of destination country and travel carrier

 

UK arrivals

 

Red list country

Non-Red list country  – Not fully vaccinated*

Non-Red list country  – Fully vaccinated*

Passenger locator form

Yes Yes Yes

Pre-departure test before travel to UK**

Yes. In the 72 hours before travel. Yes. In the 72 hours before travel. No

Hotel quarantine

10 days N/A N/A

Quarantine at home or in the place you are staying

N/A 10 days No

Day 2 COVID-19 PCR test

Yes Yes Yes

Day 8 COVID-19 PCR test

Yes Yes No

Day 5 Test to Release PCR

No Yes N/A

 

Blue Box 15X15px  TDL services (see below)

* See Gov.uk for eligibility requirements for travellers to qualify as full-vaccinated
**Travellers who are returning to the UK within 72 hours can use the result of a COVID-19 Fit to Fly test  taken in the UK before travel. A private test provider must be used for the test and not an NHS test.

 

TDL's travel testing services

The Regulations for Travel Testing are complex and continue to change. The DHSC updated the private sector provider minimum standards for travel testing on 31 August 2021:

At this time the intention for TDL’s testing service will be to provide:

  • General testing
  • Fit To Fly (FTF) in accordance with TDL's COVID-Specific SLA. A specific SLA covers the details of TDL's FTF service.
  • Test to Release (Day 5 TTR) in accordance with TDL's COVID-Specific SLA. A specific SLA covers the details of TDL's Day 5 TTR service.
  • Day 2/Day 8 - this is also covered by a separate SLA. TDL must process and confirm acceptance of your completed SLA for Day 2/Day 8. Do not request or send samples for Day 2/Day 8 until this has been completed. Samples cannot be processed without acceptance of this SLA. 
  • Viral Genetic Sequencing of positive Day 2 samples. This service is available to laboratories making direct referrals to TDL for sequencing. Please contact Lisa.Levett@tdlpathology.com for further information.

The COVID-Specific SLAs set out the requirements, responsibilities and obligations for Providers of these testing services.

Do please remember that both General Testing (including FTF) and Day 5 TTR require that you make a self-declaration with the DHSC as a Private Provider of these services (see below).

The TDL Travel Portal for COVID-19 was updated on 4 October 2021, in line with the latest DHSC and PHE requirements. To ensure that traveller eligibility criteria are met through your service, please take note of all DHSC updates to the Day2/Day 8 testing and Day 5 Test to Release minimum standards for relevant changes, including changes to the wording of the notification of test result, which you are required to give to the traveller. Please also remember that TDL does not provide a service direct to the traveller – TDL provides the laboratory analysis that supports your practice’s testing service.  

All TDL COVID-19 PCR tests meet the required performance standards of ≥99% specificity, ≥99% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.

 

Process for TDL clients acting as Providers of travel testing

Both General Testing (including FTF, and Day 5 TTR require that you make a self-declaration with the DHSC as a Private Provider of these services.

For Day 2/Day 8 testing services, TDL will update the TDL self-declaration with DHSC for named clients once we have confirmed acceptance of your completed SLA in writing to you.

Test to Release (Day 5 TTR) requires additional obligations by you, as a Provider. It is a legal requirement that Providers self-declare to DHSC of their intention to offer Day 5 TTR. The Provider's details must be included on the Government-approved list, even if there is an individual preference not to appear on the DHSC website. TDL chooses not to be listed on the DHSC website. It is a requirement that Providers fulfil the DHSC minimum standards for private sector providers of COVID-19 testing for test to release for international travellers.

Step 1

TDL requires all Providers for FTF, Day 2/Day 8, and Day 5 TTR testing to complete and return a specific TDL COVID SLA for each option.

Step 2

The SLA must be signed by you, and returned to TDLTravel@tdlpathology.com.

Step 3

Fit to Fly: If you wish to undertake Fit to Fly testing only, then on receipt of the signed Fit to Fly SLA, TDL will create a login for you, the Provider, on the travel testing portal for Fit to Fly which TDL will then send to you and you will move to Step 6.

Day 2 / Day 8: If you wish to undertake Day 2 / Day 8 testing, TDL will contact you on receipt of your signed SLA.

Test to Release: If you wish to undertake Day 5 TTR , then steps 4 and 5 apply to you and TDL will provide you, the Provider, with information needed to complete a new DHSC self-declaration for Day 5 TTR with TDL.

Step 4

As part of this Day 5 Test to Release self-declaration, you may be asked to provide the DHSC with an independent validation , which TDL will provide to you. This validation confirms that TDL fulfils the DHSC Day 5 TTR minimum standards regarding validated technical methods for Day 5 TTR.

The collection of the traveller's travel and quarantine information, and the sending of this travel-specific data to PHE, is a hugely important legal requirement and therefore you must complete this fully on the TDL requesting portal for every Day 5 TTR test. Any Day 5 TTR swabs received by TDL without this information will be rejected by the laboratory and not tested.

The Day 5 TTR swabs should be self-collect by the travellers in quarantine. Day 5 TTR testing by TDL will not impact on any separate UKAS accreditation application you may have in progress.

Step 5

Once you have received confirmation from DHSC that Due Diligence has been approved for your Test to Release self-declaration, you will forward this to TDLTravel@tdlpathology.com to allow us to create a login for you on the travel testing portal for Test to Release, which TDL will then send to you.

Step 6

TDL will confirm that testing for FTF, Day 2/Day 8, or Day 5 TTR may start for your practice.

Results for COVID-19 PCR will be provided within a 24-hour TAT from receipt in the laboratory. TDL is monitoring anticipated volumes and scalability for travel testing.

 

We believe the current situation will remain subject to change.

 

The information provided is solely for use by clients of TDL only.