how to Get a free PCR test in UK to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19)


Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you’re in Scotland, you might be eligible to get a free polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19).


In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you can no longer get free PCR tests to check if you have COVID-19.


Use this service to:

check if you’re eligible for a PCR test

order a PCR test to be sent to your home or book an appointment at a walk-in or drive-through test site, if you’re eligible

You should not use this service if you’ve had a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless you get any new COVID-19 symptoms.


Check your eligibility and order a free PCR test

You can order tests for 3 other people you live with if they’re eligible for a free test.


If you’re ordering for someone who’s 13 or over, check that they’re happy for you to get a test for them.


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Order or book a test by phone

If you’re eligible for a PCR test and have problems or cannot use the online service, call 119.


Lines are open 7am to 11pm.


If no tests are available online, do not call helplines to get a test. No extra tests are available through the helplines.

Getting a rapid lateral flow test

If you’re not eligible for a PCR test, you might be able toget rapid lateral flow tests instead.


Find out more about: 

rapid lateral flow tests in England

rapid lateral flow tests in Scotland

rapid lateral flow tests in Wales

rapid lateral flow tests in Northern Ireland

If you’re going into hospital

You may need to get tested if you’re due to have surgery or a procedure.


The hospital will arrange this for you. Contact your hospital department if you have any questions.

Getting tested for travel

You cannot use this service to book tests for travel.

Find out what you need to do if you’re travelling abroad.

What the PCR test involves

The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.


You can do the swab yourself if you’re aged 12 or over, or someone can do it for you. Parents or guardians have to swab test children aged 11 or under.

If you need medical advice about your symptoms

Get help at:

 England: NHS 111 online COVID-19 service

Scotland: NHS inform

Wales: NHS 111 Wales

Northern Ireland: get advice from a GP or GP out-of-hours service

Call 999 if you feel very unwell or think there’s something seriously wrong.

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