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This is a swab test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) now.

Before you start

  • Read these instructions before you open the test kit.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds before you handle the test kit.
  • If more than one person in your home is taking the COVID-19 test, please make sure you have a test kit for each person. You will need to register each person’s test kit.


Checklist: what you need to do

It’s very important that you follow these steps in the correct order.

  1. Find your nearest Royal Mail priority postbox (5 to 10 mins). Do this before you take the swab test
  2. Register test kit online (10 to 15 minutes). You must register to get your test results
  3. Take swab sample (5 to 10 minutes)
  4. Post your completed test kit. You must do this within 2 days of receiving your test kit, if possible
  5. Get test results by text and email (2 days)

Who can take the test

The test is suitable for the following people:

  • adults aged 18 and over: self-test (unless unable to do so)
  • teenagers aged 12 to 17: self-test with adult supervision
  • children 11 and under: adult to test (see instructions on how to test a child)

Find your nearest priority postbox

Before you take your sample or register your kit, check collection times at your nearest Royal Mail priority postbox

You need to post your completed test kit no later than 1 hour before last collection.

Weekend collection times may differ from weekdays. Do not take your test on a bank holiday, take it on the following day instead, so it can be collected on time.

To check collection times at your nearest Royal Mail priority postbox:

  1. Go to Royal Mail: services near you
  2. Click the ‘Show my nearest priority postboxes’ tickbox
  3. Enter the postcode of where you’re staying and select the address
  4. View priority postboxes near you and check the collection times

If you’re unable to get to a priority postbox

If you’re unable to get to a priority postbox without using public transport, or unable to follow the government’s social distancing guidelines, are shielding, classed as vulnerable, or too unwell to leave your home, call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines) for guidance on when to take your test and how to book a courier collection.

2. Register your test kit online

Only register your kit just before you take your test.

If you’re testing more than one person in your household, you must register each person’s kit online.

Anyone who does not register will not receive their test results.

Register your test kit online

You’ll need:

  • your 10-digit order ID (see your home test order confirmation email)
  • your 11-character test kit barcode. Check this barcode is the same on your plastic tube, biohazard bag, and return box
  • the 13-character Royal Mail barcode on the prepaid return label. Enter numbers and letters only and not the # hashtag symbol

Example of test kit barcode reference: AAA12356789

Example of Royal Mail barcode reference: ZD 1235 6789 1GB

3. Take swab sample

When to take your swab sample

You can take your swab sample after you’ve checked the collection times of your nearest priority postbox and registered your test kit online.

Take the swab sample on the same day you’ll post it.

Tips for taking your test

Taking the test will feel a little uncomfortable and unusual for most people.

Remain calm and confident as you go through the process. If possible, do a mock practice without using any of the testing materials.

How to take your swab sample

Step 1

Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds using soap and warm water before handling the test kit to avoid contaminating it.

Step 2

Clean and dry a surface and then place the home test kit items on it.

Step 3

Use the test kit checklist to make sure you have everything. Test kit contents:

  • swab, inside sealed wrapper
  • plastic tube, containing a small amount of liquid. The liquid must stay in the vial
  • white absorbent pad
  • zip-lock bag
  • biohazard bag with silver seal
  • return box with pre-paid Royal Mail return label
  • security seal, for the return box

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