Do children need a PCR test to travel?

UK travel: Expert on increase in people travelling abroad

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The summer holiday season is now well underway, albeit with a wealth of restrictions and rules in an attempt to lower the spread of COVID-19 in the UK and globally. Families itching to get away for a long-awaited break can now book trips abroad to a number of destinations on the green and amber lists – but what are the rules surrounding testing for children?

While rules have recently changed for fully vaccinated holidaymakers, who do not need to quarantine when they return from green and amber list countries, there are still plenty of other rules that must be followed when travelling outside of the UK.

The UK has its own rules about testing prior to travelling, with PCR tests required before and after your trip if you are an adult.

The UK is not currently vaccinating those under the age of 18, along with a number of other countries in the world, so most other countries do not require your children to be vaccinated either.

But the rules around testing are a little more complicated, with different testing rules applying to different ages of children.

Do children need a PCR test for travel?

The rules depend on where you are travelling to.

Most countries require tests or proof of vaccination upon entering – but these rules don’t necessarily apply to children.

Currently, most countries on the green list say that children over the age of 11 need to take a PCR test before travelling.

It is rare that children under 10 need to be tested before travel, but you should check with your destination country a few days before departure.

Whether or not your child will need to take a test will vary on the method of travel as well.

For example, the Eurotunnel says that all children over the age of 11 will need to take a test.

If you’re unsure about whether or not your children need to take a test, you should double-check the entry requirements of the country you are visiting.

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What about reentering the UK?

The Gov.UK website stipulates different rules for different situations when travelling with children.

Children under the age of 10 do not need to take a test prior to reentry into the UK.

However, after arriving in the UK, day two and day eight tests must be taken by all children over the age of four.

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