I am currently planning a short trip to the UK. I'll head on to another destination afterwards.

I am fully vaccinated, so to enter the UK I understand I will need a lateral flow test followed by a PCR test on arrival/up to day 2. My onwards travel requires a PCR fit-to-fly test.

Is there any way to get this done in the UK with only one PCR test when the timing of the day 2 PCR is right for the final destination fit-to-fly certification? All the labs I have looked at seem to offer PCR tests either as fit-to-fly tests or as day 2 arrivals tests and seem to suggest that it is not possible to use a fit-to-fly certificate for day 2 or the other way around. This makes me think that the day 2 PCR will not come with a certificate that is suitable for onwards travel. On the other hand, it seems very wasteful (and expensive) to run two tests that are bound to have the exact same result unless some laboratory error happens.

I would be especially interested in whether a simultaneous day 2/fit-to-fly test is possible somewhere near Heathrow airport, but any information on this would be very useful.

  • I got a Day 2 test when I arrived in the UK just before Christmas and a pre-departure test just before I left again today, both from ExpressTest (one of the providers on site at Heathrow). The results came in a PDF in both cases, with all the information about what the test was, date and time of sample collection, and the result. The Day 2 test then had some words about being able to leave quarantine. The pre-departure test had an additional page titled "Fit to Fly certificate" with the same information on it.
    – djr
    Jan 2, 2022 at 20:57
  • I don't see any reason why the first one wouldn't be sufficient (I don't think there is an official format for the fit to fly certificate, it's just something that each company makes up) but as I haven't tried it I can't say for certain.
    – djr
    Jan 2, 2022 at 20:59
  • I have just got back from the US. The only thing that I think made the tests 'fit to fly' is that they're observed and have a passport number on the certificate. When I booked mine in the US there was a cheaper option that just gave a result. However I would doubt that a day2/8 test wouldn't require this as it is meant to marry up with the passenger locator form.
    – Dustybin80
    Jan 4, 2022 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


There's no reason why it shouldn't work.

There's no such a thing really as fit to fly test, you just need a negative test result (PCR/Antigen) and you're fit to fly, and that you get from the day 2 test.

In UK the only tests that you can't use for travel is a free test provided by the NHS.

Just make sure that your test is taken on a day that you should be able to use it as pre departure test, as some countries require from UK a test taken up to 24 hours before departure.

See uk government foreign travel advice where you'll find information on all tests you'll need when you travel from the UK.

  • 1
    I'm not sure this answer is generally correct. The thing you get from a "fit to fly" test that the airline wants to see is the formal-looking, signed certificate identifying you, the test they did and the result that the testing company sends you, but for my Day 2 test the company just sent a brief email saying the result was negative and not much else. Conversely, what the airline wanted from the Day 2 test was the booking receipt number for the test reservation, which was not provided for the "fit to fly" test. One test would serve both purposes only if you got both bits of paperwork.
    – user38879
    Jan 4, 2022 at 22:06
  • Did it have the date? Name? Results? and evidence where the test was performed (for example lab name)? If you can answer yes to these question, than you're ready to fly at least to most destinations. If the airline asks for more just have handy the governments requirements as most airline workers don't necessarily know the rules.
    – Shmiel
    Jan 4, 2022 at 22:39

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