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How to book a PCR COVID test in Australia

Book your PCR COVID test from one of these Australian clinics and compare prices before you travel. Buy from $120.

Booking a COVID test: What you need to know

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Overseas travel still requires proof of a negative PCR COVID test for some countries. This means you may need to book a COVID test prior to your flight, depending on your destination. If you're not sure how to book a test or what is required, this guide is here to help.

Where can I book a PCR COVID test?

A COVID test for travel must be taken at a private pathology collection centre. Only private pathology collection centres provide the necessary certification to board an international flight. A text message from a free COVID testing clinic is not sufficient evidence, even if it clearly shows a negative result.

How much does a PCR COVID test cost?

PCR tests for travel range in price from $120 up to around $300. The amount you pay depends on how quickly you need the results (faster turnaround times are more expensive) and whether you require additional tests, such as an IgM Antibody test.

How do I book my test?

You can book a test by clicking on the clinic websites above and following the prompts. Alternatively, you can call them on the phone at the following numbers:

What tests do I need to get?

Before you fly, you will need to check the required tests for the country you're travelling to. Some countries require a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. You may also be required to get a Blood Antibody/IgM Antibody test in addition to a COVID PCR test.

Some countries allow rapid antigen tests (RATs) as proof that you do not have the virus.

The clinics in the table above all provide the necessary tests for travel.

It is the traveller's responsibility to check the COVID rules for your destination, including the required test type and cut-off times.

I forgot to book a COVID test and my flight is tomorrow. What now?

Most clinics in the table above provide express testing for an additional fee. You can also book a 1-hour pre-departure service at Sydney and Melbourne Airport from Histopath.

Do I need to get another test before returning to Australia?

Yes. Before you return to Australia, you must do the following:

  1. Book a pre-departure COVID-19 test and bring the negative result to the airport. The test must be taken no later than 72 hours before boarding.
  2. Complete the Australia Travel Declaration.

You will need to take a COVID-19 pre-departure test 1–3 days before your scheduled departure time. Qantas recommends getting your test 2 days before departure to allow for any potential flight delays.

You will also need to take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arriving in Australia and self-isolate until you get a negative test result.

Note that quarantine arrangements are in the process of being modified in Australia. Depending on when you travel, it may be possible to home quarantine. You will need to get clarification from the state or territory you're staying in.

Do I also need to be vaccinated?

Yes. Currently, travellers need to show evidence that they have been vaccinated at least 7 days prior to international travel into or out of Australia, with a vaccine approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

You can find out more about COVID-19 travel rules on the Australian Department of Home Affairs' information page. In addition, the government's Smartraveller website has a useful step-by-step guide covering all entry and return requirements.

Can anyone fly without being vaccinated?

Most countries allow children under 12 to travel without being vaccinated. People who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons are permitted to travel unvaccinated, but will need to provide proof. You can also qualify for an exemption in specific circumstances. To find out more, head to the Department of Health's website.

COVID travel testing FAQs

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