SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAVEL NEWS

How to book a ‘Day Two’ Covid-19 test if you’re travelling from Germany to the UK

The UK government has announced a relaxation of its travel rules for fully vaccinated travellers, but unfortunately this baffling and expensive system remains in place.

How to book a ‘Day Two’ Covid-19 test if you’re travelling from Germany to the UK
Travellers in St. Pancras International station in London in July. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/PA Wire | Yui Mok

Since the end of the UK government’s ‘amber plus’ list, fully vaccinated arrivals from Germany no longer need to quarantine, provided they meet the UK government’s definition of vaccinated (more on that below). 

And since October 4th, fully vaccinated travellers do not need a pre-departure Covid test.

READ ALSO What changes in October if you’re travelling from Germany to the UK

They will, however, continue to face the infuriating and expensive world of ‘Day 2 testing’.

The UK government says that in the future, Day 2 tests can be the cheaper antigen tests rather than PCR tests, but there is no start date for that policy.

While broadly similar, Covid-19 travel, quarantine and testing rules are slightly different if you’re heading to Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland so check out the advice before your trip.

What it means

All passengers, including children, have to take a test on or before ‘Day Two’ after their arrival in England, in addition to the pre-departure test, which you take in Germany.

But – crucially – this Day Two test must be booked before you leave Germany.

The passenger locator form, required for all arrivals into England, cannot be completed without a reference number from a test, booked through one of the UK government’s approved list of suppliers.

For fully vaccinated travellers, the Day Two test marks the end of their Covid travel requirements, assuming it comes back negative.

Unvaccinated travellers from Germany, however, must quarantine for 10 full days and take another test on or before Day Eight of their stay.

It is important to note that for test and quarantine purposes, the day of arrival is counted as Day Zero. The following day is Day One, the day after that Day Two, and so on.

Proof of purchase of the second test must be included on the passenger locator form, which everyone over age 18 must complete and submit within the 48 hours before they travel. Anyone who fails to take this Day Two test faces a fine of up to £2,000.

READ ALSO: What it was like navigating Covid travel rules to get home to the UK from Germany

How to book a test

Covid tests in the UK may be carried out at home, or by going to a clinic. Prices vary based on how many tests you require and how quickly you need the results – and many clinics offer a range of packages.

According to the government website, you’ll have a wait of 24 to 36 hours to get your test result.

However social media and the British media are awash with stories of people waiting considerably longer than that, never receiving their results or never receiving the tests in the first place.

The cost of individual PCR tests varies between £50 and £250 – though many providers offer a range of packages at different prices based on the number of tests required, where you are coming from and how quickly the results are needed, according to the Covid Testing Network website.

You’ll find the companies offer packages depending on the status of the country you are travelling from. Some companies confusingly list products only for “UK vaccinated”.

Some we found appear to have minimum spends so even if you find a cheap test you can’t buy it, while others seem cheap, but once you get through the final ordering stage extra charges bump up the total.

What’s a real pain is that you also have to book individually for each passenger who requires a test – so if you’re travelling as a family of four you will have to go through the booking process four times.

Compare this to Germany, which does not usually require vaccinated travellers to take a test either before or after arrival unless they are coming from a virus variant of concern region (which currently no countries are under German travel rules).

Antigen tests have been free to all in Germany for months. However, from October 11th, unvaccinated people will have to pay a fee for tests to access certain public spaces like indoor dining, gyms and the cinema. 

READ ALSO: Who will still get free Covid tests in Germany from October?

Confusing official list

The Westminster government lists test providers in England and Northern Ireland here.

But it is long and bewildering, and many firms listed are new and relatively unknown reflecting the rapidly shifting Covid-19 market. Unhelpfully, there’s little indication of where clinics are located, even after a search is regionalised: Yorkshire and the Humber, for example, covers quite a large area.

The government is quick to insist it does not endorse one test provider over another – but it does say that it ‘closely monitors’ performance. All private providers of Covid tests are required to meet certain standards. If they fall short they can be removed from official lists.

Better to look elsewhere

Travel firms and airlines, eager for your business, are increasingly offering discounted tests to customers who use their services, and may include links to certain suppliers on their website. They are worth a look as this may help you find a cheaper test.

It may also be worth checking the Covid Testing Network’s price comparison site, which shows provider prices for at-home and in-clinic tests within a radius of your location in England. Helpfully, it also includes a customer satisfaction score, as well as price, allowing users to make a reasonably informed decision.

Short stays

So what if you’re staying in the UK for less than two days? You still need the Day 2 test, because the passenger locator form cannot be completed without the booking reference, and you cannot enter England without the form.

So you must pay for a test even if you will no longer be in England when the time comes to use it.

Fully vaccinated

Also be aware that the UK government’s definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ is not the same as the German government’s.

You need to have been vaccinated with a UK approved vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson – and be at least 14 days from your final dose.

After much confusion, the UK has finally agreed to recognise as vaccinated people who had a ‘mixed dose’ – ie one AstraZeneca and one Pfizer.

But while in Germany, people who previously had Covid are counted as fully vaccinated after a single dose of the vaccine, but this is not the case in the UK

READ ALSO Covid-recovered plus single dose still not classed as ‘fully vaccinated’ by UK 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL NEWS

When will Germany’s €49 ticket start?

Germany announced a €49 monthly ticket for local and regional public transport earlier this month, but the hoped-for launch date of January 2023 looks increasingly unlikely.

When will Germany's €49 ticket start?

Following the popularity of the €9 train ticket over the summer, the German federal and state governments finally agreed on a successor offer at the beginning of November.

The travel card – dubbed the “Deutschlandticket” – will cost €49 and enable people to travel on regional trains, trams and buses up and down the country.

There had been hopes that the discount travel offer would start up in January 2023, but that now seems very unlikely.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany’s €49 ticket

Martin Burkert, Head of the German Rail and Transport Union (EVG) now expects the €49 ticket to be introduced in the spring.

“From our point of view, it seems realistic to introduce the Deutschlandticket on April 1st, because some implementation issues are still unresolved”, Burkert told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. The Association of German Transport Companies, on the other hand, considers the beginning of March to be a realistic start date.

The only thing that seems clear regarding the start date is that it will be launched at some point in 2023.

Why the delay?

Financing for the ticket is continuing to cause disagreements between the federal and state governments and, from the point of view of the transport companies, financing issues are also still open.

Burkert from EVG said that the federal government should be prepared to provide more than €1.5 billion for the ticket if necessary.

“Six months after the launch of the Deutschlandticket at the latest, the federal government must evaluate the costs incurred to date with the states and, if necessary, provide additional funding,” he said. 

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why Germany’s €49 travel ticket is far better than the previous €9 ticket

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn has warned that the network is not prepared to cope with extra demand. 

Berthold Huber, the member of the Deutsche Bahn Board of Management responsible for infrastructure, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that a big part of the problem is the network is “structurally outdated” and its “susceptibility to faults is increasing.” 

Accordingly, Huber said that there is currently “no room for additional trains in regional traffic around the major hub stations” and, while adding more seats on trains could be a short terms solution, “here, too, you run up against limits,” Huber said.

SHOW COMMENTS