Rapid antigen tests and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are different types of test - both used to detect the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19.
A rapid antigen test, also known as a lateral flow test or a rapid self-test, is designed to give you results more quickly than a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Rapid antigen tests can be performed and analysed at home, by you, with results available within minutes because you don’t need to send a sample to a laboratory to be analysed.
A PCR test is the current gold standard of testing available but, consequently, results take slightly longer and must be analysed by a trained professional in a secure setting. They are more accurate than a rapid antigen (lateral flow) test and, depending on how stringent a country’s entry requirements are, some countries require a negative result from this more accurate test to grant you permission to travel.
To find out which test type you’ll need for your Fit To Fly test, please check the details for the country you are travelling to, via FCDO website, where all the most up-to-date information is held by the UK Government.