I’m travelling abroad, what tests do I need?
What if I am travelling with children?
Check if your destination requires children to take a PCR test before entering the country using the government’s search tool. You can purchase a HALO test for this purpose.
The government’s travel regulations may differ in Scotland and Wales. HALO is not available in Northern Ireland or outside the UK.
Our travel advice is intended as a guide only – rules change frequently and it is your responsibility to ensure the advice we have provided is still relevant at the time of travel. HALO cannot be held responsible for any changes to this advice.
What is HALO™?
HALO provides family-friendly, saliva-based PCR tests and Lateral Flow tests for COVID-19 that are approved for travel by the UK government and the MHRA. We are an approved ABTA testing partner and our tests are accepted worldwide (customers should check local rules). We even have our own QR code system to prove authenticity
PCR is by far the most accurate, sensitive and specific test for Covid-19. Most PCR tests are swab-based: The Lancet says saliva sampling is actually better, as well as simpler and less painful. Just spit in a tube, scan it with the HALO app and you’re done. The Sunday Times calls us “the best spit test on the market”.
HALO invested in our own gene sequencing RT-PCR lab facility based in the Imperial College campus at White City, London – unlike many providers who depend on centralised labs which are often overwhelmed. HALO is the only test service to partner with UCL and the Francis Crick Institute to detect and protect against new variants.
How do I take the test?
You can follow instructions in this video or in the app
How are the tests delivered and collected?
Please note: These are the delivery and collection details for PCR Tests. If you are purchasing an Antigen Lateral Flow Test please see our dedicated page for details.
Step 1: Delivery
Your test is couriered to you the next day (if purchased prior to 5pm, Monday to Friday). If purchased after 5pm, your test kit will be dispatched the next business day. Tests purchased on Saturday or Sunday will be dispatched on Monday for delivery on Tuesday.
At checkout, you also have the option to specify a different delivery date in the future.
Please note: HALO services only mainland UK excluding the Highlands and cannot deliver to Northern Ireland, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands.
Step 2: Book your return courier
Once you’ve received your Test, you should book your return courier for the day you need to take the Test. You can do this online here or through the HALO iOS mobile app. Your return courier must be booked before 5pm for next business day collection. The return courier is included with the purchase price of the Test.
Weekend and same-day collection is also available for an additional fee – which varies depending on your location. Please call us on 0330 390 4586 to arrange. The call centre is open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 8am-4:30pm Saturday and Sunday.
Step 3: Take the Test
Take the Test on the day of collection – to do so you can follow instructions in this video or in the app.
Step 4: Getting your Test to our lab
If you booked a return courier, they will collect your test at the agreed time.
How and when do I get my PCR Test results?
You will be notified of your result via email and through the app within 24 hours of your test arriving at our lab in London after your collection. (Arrival times at our lab vary depending on your location, but is by the next business day at the latest.)
If you haven’t received your results after this period please call us on 0330 390 4586. The call centre is open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 8am-4:30pm Saturday and Sunday.
What if I need an urgent PCR or Lateral Flow test?
Fast-track Heathrow service
Fast-track PCR (4 hr results) and Lateral Flow (20 min results) tests are available at Heathrow Terminal 5. They are both approved by the UK government and can be used for outbound travel depending on the rules of your destination.
For anyone travelling to the United States, we also offer a LAMP test which is a CDC approved pre-departure test with results being available within 90 minutes of taking the test.
Tests for delivery (PCR)
We have an Express Courier Service that has a faster turnaround time than our standard delivery service – currently available to any customers who live within the M25.
Our driver will deliver your test(s), then wait 15 minutes before delivering your completed test(s) straight back to our lab. You will receive your results within 24 hours – often much quicker than that.
The cost of our Express Courier Service is:
£215 for one test
£295 for two tests
We can also arrange for more tests and services further afield. Please call us on 0330 390 4586 to book our Express Courier Service and to find out more. The call centre is open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 8am-4:30pm Saturday and Sunday.
My PCR test result was inconclusive. What should I do?
At HALO, our NSR (New Sample Required) rate is lower than other Test providers. A very small percentage (less than 1%) of Tests come back inconclusive. In this unlikely event, you will need to book another test as soon as possible.
Please call us on 0330 390 4586. Our call centre is open from 8am – 8pm Monday-Friday, and 8am – 4:30pm on Saturday and Sunday.
The most common reasons for an inconclusive result include:
- Too little or too much saliva in your sample
- You were dehydrated while taking the test
- If you have poor oral health
- You ate, drank or smoked in the 30 minutes before taking the sample
- There was a foreign object in your sample such as lipstick or food
What's the difference between PCR Tests and Antigen Lateral Flow Tests?
Antigen Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) directly detect a protein that is contained inside the virus particle. The more virus there is, the easier it is for an LFT to detect this protein. But that means that when you are newly infected and the virus is just starting to multiply inside your body, an LFT test may fail to detect the low levels of virus present. This might happen (particularly) before you have any symptoms.
But LFTs are useful for identifying those people who are already infectious, probably symptomatic, and so have a large amount of virus in their system. RT-qPCR, which is simplified to PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), is more sensitive, because it makes copies of the genetic material of the virus, and even very small amounts of the genetic material will trigger an ‘exponential’ duplication: it is a ‘chain reaction’, a bit like the detonation of an atom bomb!
Consequently, PCR is so sensitive it can identify newly infected people more certainly than LFT, before they become symptomatic and before they become infectious to others. PCR is also more ‘specific’ than LFT. LFT can fail to distinguish between the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) virus and other related coronaviruses. Some common colds are caused by non-SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses, and there is potential for a lower specificity to confuse LFT and generate a false positive.
This is much less likely with PCR, which remains the diagnostic gold standard. Air travel is obviously a high risk for becoming infected. We believe that relying on the result of an LFT immediately after travelling on an aircraft is questionable: LFT is unlikely to identify anyone who has become newly infected. Even RT-qPCR would be challenged by someone very newly infected, but it is likely to identify the newly infected before LFT, due to its higher sensitivity.
Can I use an Antigen Lateral Flow Test as a "fit to fly" pre-departure test?
You can use our Antigen Lateral flow tests as a pre-departure “fit to fly” test IF the destination and airline allow a self declared test. Please check with your airline and the arrival rules for your destination.
How do I make a complaint?
The Contact Centre is available on 0330 390 4586 (Mon-Fri 0800-1730, Sat/Sun 0800-1630)
Can I get a refund?
We are unable to offer refunds for tests once the HALOV validation code for the Passenger Locator Form has been issued (This is sent via email immediately after a successful transaction). This is in line with other providers and Government policy to prevent fraudulent use of the code.
If there is a problem with your test (damaged pack contents, delivery issues) we will send a replacement. If you no longer wish to travel, you will be able to use the pack for another journey within nine months.
In either case please contact our Contact Centre with your details and outer pack barcode ready. The Contact Centre is available on 0330 390 4586 (Mon-Fri 0800-1730, Sat/Sun 0800-1630) and through Live Chat on the website www.haloverify.com/contact You can also email us at email@example.com
If you are a business customer please contact Business Support on 020 3365 2388 Mon-Fri 0830-1700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Still have a question?
Our contact centre is available on 0330 390 4586
Monday to Friday: 8am to 5:30pm
Weekends: 8am to 4:30pm