Pre-departure testing for all International arrivals to Northern Ireland

Date published: 17 January 2021

From 21 January 2021 international travellers will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test result before arriving in Northern Ireland.

Passengers from all international destinations must produce a negative result to help protect against rising infection rates and new variants of coronavirus circulating internationally.

The Health Minister Robin Swann said: 

"This additional measure will provide another layer of protection to help reduce the risk of imported infections, while national lockdown and vaccination take effect. 

"The move is in addition to other robust existing measures such as the removal of travel corridors and the self-isolation requirement regardless of pre-departure test result."

International travellers will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test result, taken within the 72 hour period before departure, to their transport operator.  Travel operators will be committing an offence if they permit travel without the necessary proof a negative test, with fines up to £10,000. 

The test should take place in the departure country. If a traveller arrives in Northern Ireland without the necessary proof of a negative test, and without a reasonable excuse, they will be fined.  Fines starting at £500 will be levied on non-compliant passengers. 

Minimum testing and certification, along with the information that you will be required to present, will be set out in the legislation. It is the responsibility of travellers to find a test provider and to ensure that tests meet the standards for pre-departure testing. 

There will be some very limited exemptions from the need for testing which will be set out in the legislation.


Notes to editors: 

  1. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email
  2. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt.
  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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