I need to travel to Belarus from Berlin in the next two weeks and according to the government's website, foreigners need to present a valid PCR test that is not older than 72 hours. When I visit the website coronatest.de, it offers a RT-PCR test. From a quick google search, it is my understanding that they are the same "level" of tests except the RT-PCR test is in real-time.

My question is then as the following: Will the RT-PCR test be valid for entry into Belarus?

  • 1
    RT in RT-PCR does not mean real-time. It means reverse transcription. As far as I know, the only PCR test in use is actually an RT-PCR test, "PCR" is just a more general term.
    – jcaron
    May 21, 2021 at 11:59

1 Answer 1


Yes, they mean the same thing.

RT doesn't mean real-time but reverse transcription. This refers to the process of converting the viral RNA into DNA that the PCR method can then amplify.

Because coronaviruses are RNA viruses, any PCR-based testing for them requires reverse transcription first. All "PCR" tests that anyone talks about now are thus correctly called RT-PCR.

  • Of course, there are also real-time RT-PCR which sometimes confuses people and many use the acronym incorrectly (instead of using rRT-PCR or qRT-PCR etc.). But in any case, there is not really a distinction useful for non-researchers. Most approved PCR tests are real-time and no country as far as I know currently distinguish the exact types of PCR test for travel purposes.
    – xngtng
    May 21, 2021 at 15:17
  • Ah yes that makes sense. I think I was looking at the wrong RT. Thank you for your helpful insight :)
    – Ski Mask
    May 22, 2021 at 16:06

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