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How to do a COVID-19 test at home for international travel


Here's where you can book COVID-19 at-home tests approved for travel and how they work.

As well as the usual affair of visas, bookings and travel insurance, we now have to contend with vaccine passports and entry requirements, which often include having a negative COVID-19 test result.

You can't just rock up at your state or territory's nearest free PCR testing clinic either because you don't get the documents to certify your negative test.

That's where at-home private COVID testing kits for travel come into the picture.

How do at-home COVID tests work?

You'll only need a pre-departure COVID-19 test to travel to some countries. Some may require that you get tested within either 48 or 72 hours of departure.

It's important to check these rules before you travel. You may need a PCR test for travel to some states and territories within Australia, though most states have either scrapped testing requirements or moved to allow rapid antigen tests.

Airlines are responsible for checking you have proof of a negative test and may not let you board the plane without it.

Once you've determined that you need a PCR or RT-PCR test, you can search for a private pathology clinic that conducts them.

An experienced pathology collector will travel to your home or accommodation to perform the test. The collection process is the same as any other PCR test, with the pathology collector swabbing your throat and nose.

They'll then take it back to the lab to process.

What are the turnaround times for a result?

Most laboratories have your results available within 24 hours of collecting your sample as they're performing tests 7 days a week.

How do I receive my results?

Clinics offer certified test results that include a dated report that meets airline and government travel requirements.

Some clinics offer a QR code that will allow the airport and border agents to scan and verify your COVID test results and certificates.

Are COVID-19 tests for travel covered by Medicare?

No, pre-departure tests for travel are at the expense of the traveller with no Medicare rebate available.

Where can I buy at-home COVID-19 test kits for travel?

NamePrice fromWhere to book
COVID test: Blue Powder Travel$145
COVID-19 PCR test for travel$150

Which airlines require pre-departure COVID-19 tests

The following airlines are just some that require a pre-departure COVID-19 test for international travel.

Be sure to check directly with your airline before you fly as these rules may change at any time.

  • Air Canada
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Delta Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Fiji Airways
  • Garuda Airlines
  • Japan Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • United Airlines

Wondering what to do next? Learn more about how COVID-19 testing works.

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