My family and I (all US citizens) are traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland but our flight lands in London, England. We are taking a train from London to Edinburgh the day we arrive and we will quarantine at the flat we have rented there. We do not plan to spend much time in England.

The English quarantine website states:

Find where you can get the COVID-19 tests you need to take if you’re arriving in England from abroad.

You must book your tests before you travel and leave enough time for them to be delivered to your address in England.

The website then provides a list of various test providers with a large range of prices and locations:


The Scottish website says:

If you’ve been in an amber list country in the 10 days before travelling to Scotland, you must:

  • book and pay £170 for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests - you must book your testing kit using the CTM Booking Portal – any other type of testing kit, such as free NHS kits or those sold by private businesses, cannot be used for these tests

It then links to a CTM portal to select your quarantine package which contains the following language:

For travellers arriving into England


For travellers arriving into Scotland

If I follow the "arriving into England" links then I just go back to the list of providers that the UK website linked to. If I follow the "arriving into Scotland" links then I am directed to the CTM North portal which requires you to select a port of entry in Scotland. As we did not enter the UK through a Scottish port, it would seem that this portal does not apply to us.

Do we need to follow the English rules or the Scottish rules?

The English test kits are a small fraction of the cost, and the Scottish portal would basically require me to falsify my travel itinerary. Most of the language I've found suggests strongly that my port of entry is what determines which rules I should follow, so I'm leaning strongly toward the English rules. But I don't want to violate Scottish law if they require all foreign travelers, regardless of entry point, to follow their rules.

Is there any official documentation or authoritative travel advice that clarifies this question for us? Perhaps we are expected to quarantine for 10 days in England (though this only appears to be required when traveling from a red list country)?

  • You are arriving in England. That is where your immigration will happen, and the link says there are different rules for those arriving in other regions of UK. Having arrived, you could change your plans about where you go in UK (subject to any travel restrictions) for unexpected reasons, so the journey to Scotland is another matter. The rules are constantly changing though, and in England lockdown restrictions are likely (but not certain) to ease towards the end of July. Jun 22, 2021 at 17:11
  • Thanks @WeatherVane. The instructions are to "quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days". For us, that's the flat that we have rented in Scotland for the month of July. So the journey to Scotland is at the heart of my question.
    – JDB
    Jun 22, 2021 at 17:35
  • Also, we have to order our tests before we arrive, so I need to know whether to order the tests in England and have them shipped to Scotland or to order the tests in Scotland (which doesn't seem to be possible since I'm entering through England). If we are supposed to be doing our 10-day self-quarantine in England then that would be very helpful to know, but none of the government websites state explicitly that this is required for travelers from amber-list countries.
    – JDB
    Jun 22, 2021 at 17:39
  • 3
    Try contacting the email address given under the section “Circumstances not covered by this guidance” on gov.uk/guidance/how-to-quarantine-when-you-arrive-in-england
    – Traveller
    Jun 22, 2021 at 23:01
  • Did you ever find a definitive answer to the your question? I'm having similar difficulties. Travelling from France using the Eurotunnel (Folkestone) but isolating in Scotland. I phoned CTM and they didn't seem to have an answer (and initially told me that I only needed a day 2 test!!)
    – LABH
    Jul 21, 2021 at 17:44

3 Answers 3


I work in Wales (despite living in England), so keep up with things there much more than Scotland, but the position is similar. I was going to make this a comment but it grew too much.

Essentially you have to comply with both (though not at the same time). This in practice would mean complying with the stricter regulations, but here they're very similar. The difficulty is in the transition. The long transfer and partially devolved restrictions* make this particularly tricky.

Note that your quote says "If you’ve been in an amber list country in the 10 days before travelling to Scotland" and not "if you're travelling from an amber list country", so you are required to quarantine if you go to Scotland within 10 days of arriving in the UK. Anyway you'd need to quarantine on arrival in England. The English regulations state that you must quarantine at the address on your passenger locator form, going directly there. They also state you shouldn't be travelling on public transport unless there's no alternative.

You've found a gap in the system, and contacting CTM (the contracted test provider) in advance will be necessary. You may also need to contact the authorities in Scotland. Their advice page includes an email address [email protected], which should hopefully be able to point you in the right direction.

England has a test to release scheme. If you opted for that and a shorter quarantine in England, you may still have to complete the 10 days in Scotland.

* Note that some details on gov.uk webpages are for England only (as public health is the responsibility of the nations making up the UK), while others affect the whole country. The London-based UK government have often been unclear when they're speaking for England, and when they're speaking for the UK.

  • Don't forget if you get a definitive answer you can (and should) change your acceptance - someone with more knowledge may come along later. Jun 23, 2021 at 12:21
  • 1
    Thanks Chris. You point out some important points that have helped my understanding of the situation. (I'm new to this community, but I do regularly maintain my posts on other sites and if I get a better answer I will adjust it appropriately.)
    – JDB
    Jun 23, 2021 at 15:00

I can't say with confidence that I've done everything correctly, but here's what I ended up doing and I didn't get turned away at the border:

First off, there's an error in my original question:

INCORRECT: If I follow the "arriving into England" links then I just go back to the list of providers that the UK website linked to.

Not sure how I got mixed up (too many web pages open at the same time, probably), but following that link delivers you to a page where you can purchase a test, but with a different list of arrival ports.

Scotland requires that you book your tests through CTM, probably because CTM has a more sophisticated system for tracking people via their passport number, etc. I ended up selecting "England" on CTM's portal and "London Heathrow" as my port of entry. I purchased the tests and had them delivered to my Scottish address.

The tests were delivered the day I arrived in Scotland, and I had no problems either at the border in London or submitting the tests and getting my results back (other than that tracking the tests required a UK mobile phone number... they wouldn't accept my US mobile number).

All I can say is that it "worked for me" but "your mileage may vary".


I specifically asked gov.scot and had a reply from "Operational Management Team, Health Protection Division, Scottish Government".

I was arriving England, but staying Scotland. Specifically I was asking about children as the English rules require children over 6 to be tested, but the Scottish rules say over 12 - so which rules am I to follow?

They said: "You will need to follow the UK Government rules as you are arriving into England. The rules with regard to testing for children are different in the rest of the UK. Please click here for further information: Entering the UK - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)"

The above should be the answer.

For completeness... My country since changed to Amber (fully vaccinated) and so I need a test on day 2 return. They have explicitly said above to follow the English (UK) rules, so I have booked day 2 with a different company than CTM (allowed under English rules).

Waiting to see what happens now re no CTM.

  • It's worth differentiating, however, between the testing requirements for entering the country and the testing requirements while staying in the country. The rule you reference (6 vs 12) is for the pre-flight testing. The answer may be different for the testing requirements after you have arrived (and are staying in Scotland, as Scotland will not, for example, accept England's early-release program, or so I've read)
    – JDB
    Aug 12, 2021 at 18:12

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