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Currently, the UK government says (in https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england):

Type of test

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 PCR test
a LAMP test
an antigen test, such as an LFD (lateral flow device) test

You must check with your test provider that the test meets the standards. You may not be able to travel if it does not.

Travel from Spain and its islands - if you are travelling to England from Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands (Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca), you are advised to take a PCR type test before travel.

Does anyone know how to interpret "advised" (my emphasis) in this context?

My local tourist office says that they have been told that several British people have travelled from my area of Spain to England (and back) with a negative LFD test result.

A local test provider says that their LFD test is suitable for travel to England.

However, I suppose you could say that this is anecdotal evidence.

Does anyone have anything more definitive?

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  • well, what's the specificity and sensitivity of the LFD test in question.
    – chx
    Aug 26, 2021 at 7:26
  • @chx The test is fine. But that's not my question. Aug 26, 2021 at 18:04
  • The word "advised" normally means that something is recommended but not required. Is there a reason you think it should be interpreted differently in this context?
    – Kevin
    Aug 26, 2021 at 22:42

2 Answers 2

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I looked into extensively as I will be returning to UK from Spain later this month. I can confirm that lateral flow test is acceptable to enter uk. The government would prefer and advise that you use a pcr test but the regulations do not require a pcr test. This has been widely discussed in the British press. I strongly advise that you only rely on info on the gov.uk site. Many newspaper articles are incorrect or only tell half the story. Note by the way that the test can actually be taken in the 3 days before the day on which plan to depart for UK. LFD tests are available for 32 euros in Granada and if you look around you should see similar prices elsewhere

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Yes, I decided to go for a lateral flow test. It cost €30 and gave me a negative result in fifteen minutes. At Malaga airport, Ryanair boarding gate staff glanced at the certificate but did not read it. At the destination, passport staff did not want to see anything except my passport. They said my certificate was already in their database (really?).

By the way, when filling in my UK Passenger Locator form, when I selected Spain as my origin, a question popped up asking whether I had been to any Spanish islands. I selected NO, so I don't know what the consequences of having been on an island might be.

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