Covid Testing Requirements for International Travel
Covid testing is part and parcel of future travel. Each destination has its own requirements for entry. For Australia you need to provide a negative PCR test result 72 hours prior arriving and some countries and airlines require testing prior to departing.
PCR tests cost on average $150 each per test, (which can increase to $400 per person if last minute). None of this cost is covered by Medicare and very few are covered by travel insurance and/or private health insurance.
These travel-specific tests provide you with a certificate with your details, rather than a text message like the regular test.
The certificate includes the following mandatory required information:
- traveller name and date of birth (age at time of test or passport number accepted, if date of birth not listed)
- the test result (such as ‘negative’ or ‘not detected’)
- the test method used, for example, COVID-19 (or SARS-CoV-2) PCR test
- the date of collection for the COVID-19 PCR test.
***It is extremely important to ensure that your test result includes the four mandatory fields outlined above. If they are not complete, you will not be able to check-in and board the aircraft. Please ensure your testing facility gives this information when you get tested.
A paper-based test record is preferred. However, electronic records (such as a document embedded in an email or text message) that contain the required information can be used.
What if my flight is delayed?
If your flight is delayed, you have met the pre-departure testing requirements. You do not need a new test. However, if your flight has been re-scheduled or cancelled, you will need to provide new evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken no more than 3 days before the re-scheduled or newly booked flight. (NOTE: if you do not leave the airport precinct, including transit accommodation, you will not be required to complete another COVID-19 PCR test. Your initial test result will cover you for your entire journey to Australia).
Some countries, along with a negative test before departing Australia, will require one on arrival.
In the UK, you need a $40 rapid flow test two days after arriving, arranged through the UK government.
For Fiji, (open from December 1), all visitors need to go to an approved resort for three nights upon arrival. After 48 hours, they are given a rapid test and providing they produce a negative result, vaccinated visitors can roam freely.
What happens if I test positive?
If you do happen to test positive, you will not be allowed to fly and most countries will require you to enter their managed quarantine facility. Always practice safe hygiene…especially on flights! (Check out our Plane Hygiene Kit and Hygienic Cushion Cover for some help with hygienic flying).
You may also have primary close contacts in your travelling group. These people should not travel as you may have passed the infection on to them. A primary close contact is anyone who has had unprotected exposure to a confirmed case. You and your primary close contacts should immediately isolate and seek advice from your local health authority. Likewise if you are a primary close contact of someone who has tested positive to COVID-19, you will not be allowed to check in and board the aircraft.
Are there exemptions for pre-departure testing requirements?
Yes! Exemptions include:
- Children aged 4 years and younger at the time of check-in for the scheduled flight departure
- People with a medical condition (who can give a relevant medical certificate)
- International air crew
- People travelling from countries where COVID-19 PCR testing is not reasonably available. Australia’s Director of Human Biosecurity decides these exemptions
- Medical emergency evacuation flights
- Recovered persons (persistent shedders)
Kooshy Kids Tip for Testing:
Due to the unprecedented surge in community testing, turnaround times are extending beyond 24 hours. It’s important that you attend sample collection as soon as your destination country requirements allow.
To find out the testing requirements for your destination, visit their official government page. Airlines and/or the IATA App should also be able to provide this info.