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What happens at a rapid lateral flow test site

If you do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be able to get tested at a test site near you. The test you need is called a rapid lateral flow test.

You may need to book an appointment, so check before you go. If you're unable to visit a test site, you may be able to get a test another way.

There's separate information on what happens at a PCR test site. PCR tests are usually for people with symptoms.


If you have symptoms or are self-isolating, do not go to a rapid lateral flow test site. Get a PCR test if you have COVID-19 symptoms on GOV.UK

Prepare for your test

You will need to bring:

  • photo ID, such as a driving licence or passport
  • a face covering to wear at the test site
  • your test booking confirmation, if you have one

If you have a smartphone, bring it with you so you can register at the test site when you arrive.

You may want to bring a bottle of water, as test sites cannot provide drinks.

When you get to the test site

It usually takes no more than 10 minutes to do the test. You may need to wait to have the test during busy times.

A staff member will meet you when you arrive. They will explain how to sign in and register your test online.

You'll be asked to wait until you're called to do your test.

You'll then be guided to a testing bay, where you'll find a testing kit, instructions and other items to help you do the test.

At most test sites, you'll do the test yourself. A trained helper will then process it for you.

If you need help, a trained helper can guide you. Find out how to do a rapid lateral flow test.

After the test is done, you can leave the test site following the one-way system.

What happens next

Find out how you get your test result

Page last reviewed: 21 October 2021
Next review due: 28 October 2021