Here’s everything you need to know about Amber Day 2 PCR testing, thanks to my tried and tested experience on my recent trip to Greece.
If you’re travelling abroad in 2021 you’ll need to organise your return testing before you leave home.
When you organise your return testing you’ll get a code, which will need to be used on your required return Passenger Locator Form. I strongly recommend you sort this before you leave, and have your code, to save the hassle when you’re there.
Don’t worry, I’ll take you through the process below.
The return testing you need to order will depend on which country you’ve been to, and where they rate on the traffic light system the UK is currently using. You can look up your destination’s status for PCR testing here.
Amber 2 PCR Testing
I recently went to Greece, which at the time (August 2021) was on the Amber List. Because I’d been double vaccinated I didn’t need to do a test on the way out, just provide evidence of my two vaccinations, which I could do on the NHS app which was downloaded to my phone. I also printed this out for ease. This was Greece’s rules, at the time.
Because of my vaccinations, I didn’t need to book the Amber Day 8 Test as well as the Day 2. If you’re double vaccinated (at least 14 days before travel), and going to an Amber List country, you only need to test on day 2.
So, I booked the Amber Day 2 PCR Test to do at home through Prenetics. It cost £79 and it will be posted to your house while you’re away, ready for your return. It will fit through your letterbox.
Prenetics are UK government approved.
– Mandatory Day 2 Covid-19 PCR Test
- Complete home test kit sent via DPD – includes a free Royal Mail Tracked 24 return envelope.
- Take your test or drop sample at one of the Prenetics 25+ UK Test Pods.
- Gold standard, highest accuracy PCR tests.
- Results in 24 hours after receipt at the laboratory.
How to do the Amber Day 2 PCR Test
The day you get home is Day 0.
The next day, Day 1.
The day after that is Day 2, when you must do your Amber Day 2 PCR Test.
You don’t need to isolate during this time.
Your box will have a barcode on the outside, which you will need to input into the site. From there you can follow the instructions on the site to help you through the process. It’s the same as any PCR test, which I’m sure you’re familiar with by now!
You have to rub the cotton swab stick on your tonsils and around, and then up your nose. Then, put the stick in the solution, break it off and seal.
Make sure to fill in your name on the forms and on your sample before you send.
The Amber Day 2 instructions will also guide you through resealing the box and getting it ready to post.
PRO TIP: If your Day 2 is a Saturday or Sunday, make sure you know where your nearest weekend Royal Mail collection is, and get it done by that time. The Royal Mail return is free, but if you need to go with DPD or Hermes you will have to pay.
Waiting for your Amber Day 2 PCR Test result
We, unfortunately, didn’t have the pro tip above and so sent on a Saturday afternoon, hoping it would be ok. It was.
We got our result on the Tuesday, thanks to the post not being taken. All clear, all good, and we could go about our lives.
The pass certificate was in our Prenetics account ready for if ever we need to produce it, and we’re safe in the knowledge that we didn’t pick anything up in Greece, or on the flight home.
If your results are positive then you’re going to need to inform the NHS, and isolate for the following 10 days too.
Top tips for travelling during the pandemic
If you want more advice on preparing to travel in 2021, click that link.
1. Check the entry requirements for your destination, and whether you have to do a PCR test in advance. Greece is one of the few countries where you don’t need a PCR test to get in, if you’ve had vaccinations.
2. I’d strongly advise against travelling without vaccinations for your safety and that of others.
3. Get the proof in the NHS app on your phone and print off your pass too. Keep this for your return.
4. Book your tests for return. You will need the code you get for booking it on your return Passenger Locator Form, so sort it before you go.
5. Fill in your Passenger Locater Form for your destination online in the 48 hours before your flight. Print and save to your phone. Double check it. I’d somehow entered Ben’s age as 13.
6. You also need a PCR or Allergen test to return in the 72 hours before your return flight to get back in the UK. You can either take a test with you to do in your hotel room and upload the result, or, you can find somewhere doing PCR tests in your destination. You may need to show proof at the airport, and you will need this for your return Passenger Locator Form.
7. You will need to fill in a new UK government Passenger Locater Form in the 48 hours before your return on the UK gov website. It requires your day 2 test code and result, your seat number and your COVID status details.
8. I’d recommend taking a tablet or laptop to do all this online – too hard on a phone!
9. Get to the airport earlier to deal with all this, especially if you’re in a popular tourist destination.
10. You’ll need to wear your mask in the airport, and on the flight. This will be enforced, and you could be fined.