Coronavirus (COVID-19): testing for jobs with travel exemptions
If you’re travelling to Northern Ireland to work, there are certain types of work that legally require bespoke testing. Find out what tests you need to do if your job has travel exemptions and your employer’s responsibilities.
Travelling to Northern Ireland for work
Everyone coming to Northern Ireland from abroad must take one or more tests for Coronavirus (COVID-19) on or before day two after arrival. The day you arrive in Northern Ireland is day zero.
You can be fined up to £2,000 if you do not take a test when you are legally required to do so.
Some travellers will also have to self-isolate or enter managed quarantine. This depends on whether you are fully vaccinated or not fully vaccinated; and whether you are traveling from a red list country or a non-red list country.
You may be exempt from some or all COVID-19 travel and entry requirements because of your job. Check if your job has international travel exemptions.
Before you travel you must complete a passenger locator form, unless your job makes you exempt. You will not have to provide a testing booking reference on the form.
At the border you will need to show evidence of the work you will be carrying out in Northern Ireland.
Bespoke rapid testing for jobs
In Northern Ireland, free rapid testing is available to all employers for all staff.
If your employer requires staff to travel regularly across UK borders, they must establish a workforce testing scheme to provide tests for employees.
The bespoke rapid tests you need to take will depend on the sector you work in.
There are different rules if you’re:
- actively working as a domestic sea fisherman or woman
- a diplomat
You should check with your employer.
Bespoke workforce testing is designed to be flexible. It can’t be booked in advance.
Where to get rapid tests
Information about how you can access rapid tests using lateral flow devices (LFDs) to be used for bespoke testing arrangements can be found at:
You must report the results of any LFD tests taken, irrespective of the results.
Drivers and crew of HGVs, LGVs and vans required to follow the bespoke testing regimes can also take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test at any haulier advice site in Great Britain.
If your test is positive
If any of your tests are positive you must:
- self-isolate for 10 days from the day after you took the test
- check if your close contacts need to self-isolate or take a PCR test
- take a follow-up PCR test to check for new variants
You’ll be sent more advice with your test results.
Your employer’s responsibilities
If you have to travel regularly across UK borders for work and your employer has more than 50 employees, including agency workers, of which some or all are required to take workforce tests after international travel, your employer is legally required to take reasonable steps to help you take tests.
Reasonable steps may include:
- communicating what testing you need to take when travelling for work and what to do if you test positive or develop any symptoms
- offering workplace Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing
- providing you with home testing
- supporting access and signposting to testing outside of the workplace
Further information on accessing workplace testing is available at:
Employers of seasonal agricultural workers
If you are a seasonal agricultural worker, your employer should make sure you can access testing without leaving the farm.
Your employer should therefore establish workforce testing, and collect relevant tests from community testing sites, or help you access home order testing.