I want to fly into the UK for 1 day (from the US, also I'm a UK citizen), and then leave for another country. Do I need to pay for the test which they require me to do before or on the second day and do I need to stay in the UK for 10 days?

EDIT: It says that I still need to book the tests, but will I be fined and imprisoned if I don't take them since I will be in another country?

  • Are you going through border control?
    – jcaron
    May 31, 2021 at 17:23
  • Yes. I will stay in the UK for 1 day, going through border control.
    – use80085
    May 31, 2021 at 17:24

2 Answers 2


Yes, you need to:

  • get tested before departure
  • book and pay for the tests for days 2 and 8, even if you leave after a day
  • self isolate during your stay

You can however leave before the 10 days are over.

All the details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-quarantine-when-you-arrive-in-england

Note that those are the rules for England. They are different in the other countries of the UK.

Note that they can fine you directly at the border when you arrive if you haven’t booked and paid for your tests. I suppose you could also be prevented from boarding your first flight, though I don’t know if airlines check that.

  • but if i don't get tested, won't i be fined?
    – use80085
    May 31, 2021 at 19:12
  • Unless you stay longer then initially intended, no.
    – jcaron
    May 31, 2021 at 19:53
  • @jcaron - I'm in the same situation as OP and the rules currently state that If you will be in England for less than 2 days you still need to book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test. You only need to take the test if you are still in England on day 2.. So I'm going to have to pay for tests I'm never going to use, is that correct? If so, I just book the cheapest I can find, wherever in the country that is? Aug 18, 2021 at 19:17

The answer from jcaron is wrong. I flew to UK and left in 1 day. The border police told me I just had to write that i'm exempt and show the plane tickets for the next flight to prove I am indeed going to leave. You don't have to book a test if you're in the UK for 1 day.

  • 1
    @jcaron pointed out the guidelines as written on gov.uk website but you have seen the actual implementation. His answer isn't wrong in that sense. It makes sense to not book for tests on day 2 and 8 if someone is going to leave in 1 day and this should be updated on gov.uk if this is how it's being implemented at the border.
    – Aak
    Jun 11, 2021 at 17:03
  • 3
    I get that you selected your answer because that is what happened to you. I would point out for future readers, that indeed, JCaron's answer is what the official government website says. If you get lucky and are passed through like (I don't know how to write the OPS name, sorry) so much the better for you, however everyone should realize the actual rules say different.
    – CGCampbell
    Jun 11, 2021 at 17:19

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