Apply for a Coronavirus test

Who can apply for a test?

Anyone can now apply for a coronavirus test! 

You can ask for a test:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms

Coronavirus symptoms are a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.

When to apply for a test

You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms. It’s best to apply for the test in the first 3 days as it may take 1 or 2 days to arrange.

You might not get a test if you apply - it depends how many tests are available in your area.

Frontline essential workers such as NHS staff will be given priority. 

What the test involves

You’ll usually have the option of taking the test at home or at a drive-through testing site.

The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.

The test is an ‘antigen test’. It tests if you currently have coronavirus.

The test to tell if you’ve ever had coronavirus (‘antibody test’) is not available yet.

See the NHS 111 online coronavirus service for advice about dealing with the symptoms of coronavirus.

How do I ask for a test?

You can ask for a test online.

The NHS will ask you:

  • how you want to get the test – you may be able to choose between driving to a regional testing site or getting a home test kit
  • for details such as your name, mobile phone number and address

Apply for a coronavirus test

Apply for a coronavirus test on GOV.UK if you:

  • are an essential worker, including NHS or social care staff
  • are applying for tests for the residents and staff of your care home
  • have a verification code from your employer​