IF you are planning to go abroad in the coming months you’re going to need a PCR test.

Unfortunately, they’re not available on the NHS meaning your holidays abroad will be a little more expensive thanks to the tests.

The UK government announced a traffic light system where certain countries are placed on a ‘green’ ‘amber’ and ‘red’ list based on how say they are to travel to and return from.

However, it doesn’t matter if you are travelling to a ‘safer’ green country or a high-risk red country- you will still be required to take at least two Covid-19 tests.

You must also follow these testing rules even if you have been vaccinated.

Here’s everything you need to know about PCR tests- including where you can go for a test in the West Midlands:

What are the Covid test rules for each tiered country?

Green list destinations

Before travel to England you must: take a Covid-19 test.

On arrival in England you must: take a Covid-19 test on or before day two after you arrive.

Children age four and under do not need to take this test.

You don’t need to quarantine unless the result is positive.

Amber list destinations

Before travel to England you must: take a Covid-19 test.

On arrival in England you must: take two Covid-19 tests- one on or before day two after you arrive and another on or after day eight.

You must also quarantine at home for 10 days, regardless of the test result.

Red list destinations

Before travel to England you must: take a Covid-19 test.

On arrival in England you must: quarantine in a managed hotel and two Covid-19 test on or before day two after you arrive.

What type of Covid test can I take?

You must make sure that the test provider you choose can meet the standards for pre-departure testing- failing to do so could mean you are not allowed to travel.

The test must meet performance standards of ≥97% specificity, ≥80% sensitivity at viral loads above 100,000 copies/ml.

This could include tests such as:

  • a nucleic acid test, including a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or derivative technologies, including loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) tests
  • an antigen test, such as a test from a lateral flow device (but not every country accepts these tests- so check before getting one!)

How does a PCR test work?

The inside of your nose and back of the throat will be swabbed using a long cotton bud.
After collection, the swab is sealed in a tube and then sent to a laboratory.

This can be done by yourself, if you are aged 12 or over, or someone can do it for you. Parents or guardians should swab test children aged 11 or under.

Where can I get a PCR test in the West Midlands and how much do they cost?

The government has advised people to book a PCR test privately and not use the NHS testing service.

However, they have also created a comprehensive list of companies that provide PCR tests, with prices for tests ranging from £45-£500.

Some of these are ‘supervised’ and staff will take a sample for you.

However, others are unsupervised and you will have to take a sample for yourself.

The government does not endorse or recommend any specific test provider - you should do your own research about them and their terms and conditions.

Here are some businesses, as listed on the Gov.uk website, which offer PCR tests for the West Midlands:

At a testing site (supervised and unsupervised)

Listings are ordered from least to most expensive.

At home (unsupervised)

Listings are ordered from least to most expensive.

In Worcestershire specifically, one provider that is offering PCR tests is Worcester Travel Clinic at Claines Pharmacy on Ombersely Road; their 'test to release' prices start from £99 and it can be done in the clinic or it can be a postal kit.

You will get results by 8pm the next day. 

City Doc Medical Limited, which has a branch in Malvern, are also offering at home tests for £80, according to the Government website.

Can I get a PCR test anywhere else?

Absolutely- the government’s list is not exhaustive.

Airlines want to combat the sometimes extortionate PCR test prices by offering testing kits for customers on their package holidays.

Here are some of the airline’s prices:


They’ve teamed up with government-authorised providers Chronomics to offer easy and affordable testing packages for all TUI package holiday customers this summer.  

They tests are currently available for £20 per person with delivery and return costs for the tests included in the price.

British Airways

This airline launched pre-departure tests from Qured from as little as £33.


EasyJet has partnered with Randox to provide £60 testing kits to customers.

This is how you can order a test:


Passengers can get discounted Covid testing kits for £60.


Thanks to their third party providers, Jet2 can offer discounted tests that start from £75.

Birmingham Airport

The airport offers a PCR Fit to Fly Test for £80.

They aim to deliver results by 10pm the next day- but results can take upto 48 hours.

Their lateral flow tests are £50 will take approximately 30 minutes- but not every country will accept a lateral flow test and may prevent you from visiting.

Customers can book a PCR test at Birmingham Airport here.