Students and staff on campus should get tested twice a week, every 3-4 days. By getting tested regularly, you can help to reduce the spread of infection.
We encourage all staff and students to order test-kits online where possible, or to collect from your nearest participating pharmacy. A Test Kit Collection service (one box per person, per time, for UCL staff and students only) is now available from the Student Centre, UCL Halls of Residence (ask at your Hall's Reception), Here East (at Reception) and Workplace Health.
There is also an on-site testing facility at UCL's Student Centre.
Wherever you get tested, make sure you can travel home safely if you test positive – walk, cycle or drive where possible and avoid public transport.
Please note: The home testing kits provided by UCL are nasal swab-only – the tests given in the Student Centre require a throat and nasal swab.
On this page:
- How to get LFT tests locally or to do at home
- How to book an LFT test at UCL’s testing centre at UCL's testing facility
- What happens when you get your LFT test results
- Guidance for contracted staff and staff or students working onsite away from campus
- Frequently asked questions for students and staff
- If you need support
Find out more about the different types of coronavirus tests that are available and which one is the right one for you.
Regular rapid coronavirus tests if you do not have symptoms
Anyone in England who does not have symptoms can now get regular rapid lateral flow tests to check for coronavirus at a local test site or to do at home.
Symptom-free staff and students can also continue to get tested at UCL's on-site testing facility. A Test Kit Collection service (one box per person, per time, for UCL staff and students only) is now available from the Student Centre, UCL Halls of Residence (ask at your Hall's Reception), Here East (at Reception) and Workplace Health. Please see the NHS website to order tests to your home or for collection.
Once you receive your results, whether positive or negative, please report your results through the NHS and Connect to Protect, and follow the steps listed below under ‘What happens when you get your LFT results’.
UCL’s testing facility at the Student Centre
UCL is providing free COVID-19 tests for symptom-free students and staff as part of the national testing programme for universities.
- Booking form privacy statement
The personal data you provide is being collected for the purpose of booking and managing your Asymptomatic COVID-19 Test. The information you provide will be used:
– to record your booking and to send you text reminders of your appointment details
– to send you text message reminders
– to record your test result in UCL’s Connect to Protect tool. Through Connect to Protect, we can provide you with further advice and support if this is required.
– in relation to age and disability information, to manage your appointment and ensure the necessary support and adjustments are made
For more information on the way UCL handles your personal data, as well as our legal basis for processing it and your rights as a data subject, please see the UCL privacy notice relevant to your status at UCL:
– Student Privacy Notice (in particular the section headed “Purposes for which we process your personal data and the legal bases for processing > To manage the student experience at UCL and/or Internal and statutory reporting and other legal obligations”).
– Staff Privacy Notice (in particular the section headed “Purposes for which we process your personal data and the legal bases for processing > To manage our relationship with you as a UCL staff member and/or Internal and statutory reporting, audit and other legal obligations”).
Please note that once you arrive for your appointment you will be required to register through the NHS registration system, where you will be allocated with a test and an NHS barcode. UCL does not have access to this system and will not process your personal data as part of that procedure. Once your test has been administered, your result will be automatically uploaded onto the NHS system. For more information on how the Department of Health and Social Care processes your personal data as part of that process, please see their privacy notice.
The information you provide to book your test will only be shared with a restricted number of UCL staff members who require it as part of their role in managing the Asymptomatic testing service. The UCL staff who have access to your personal data will treat it in strict confidence. The personal data you provide will only be shared for the above purposes and will only be stored for as long as UCL requires it for these purposes, after which it will be deleted.
Our on-site testing facility uses rapid Lateral Flow Tests (LFT), which typically provide results within two hours. Once you receive your results, whether positive or negative, please follow the steps below and report it through both the NHS Test & Trace site and UCL's Connect to Protect.
- Where to go for your rapid Lateral Flow Tests (LFT)
UCL's on-site testing facility is based in the UCL Student Centre, 27-28 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0AH.
You can find a map to the UCL Student Centre on our web site.
- What to expect at the testing centre
Please wear a face covering and remember to follow social distancing guidelines at the testing centre. You will also be asked to wash your hands with sanitiser when you get there.
You should arrive at the testing centre at your appointment time. Signage will direct you to where you need to go. You will be guided through the registration and testing process by members of the team.
- What to bring
- A form of student/staff ID
- Your phone, tablet or laptop to register when you arrive (which involves scanning a QR code). If you do not have one of these then a staff member at the site will be on hand to help you.
- Please do not register with an international phone number as this may be problematic when using the NHS Test and Trace service and delay your results. If you don't have a UK number then please register with your UCL email only, or alternatively you can request a free UK SIM card from the testing centre.
- A face covering or mask that covers your mouth and nose. Staff will tell you when you can take it off and put it back on again.
Please don't bring luggage or bulky items with you, as we do not have space to store it while you take your test.
- What the process will involve
- At registration, you will be asked to scan a QR code to register with the NHS Lateral Flow Testing programme.
- You will be directed to an available booth where you will be provided with a swab and a barcode.
- You will be asked to take a swab of your nose and throat. A trained member of staff will be on hand to help you.
- A staff member will collect your sample and barcode from you.
- Infographic: How the tests work
You will typically receive the results from the NHS within two hours via email and/or text, but this could take up to 48 hours.
If you do not receive your results, or you need advice on your result, please call the NHS coronavirus testing contact centre on 119. Lines are open from 7am to 11pm.
Please note that you are not able to call NHS 119 from an international number. Quote the barcode reference number from the registration card that you were given when you took the test and NHS Test and Trace should be able to locate their result using this code.
Please note UCL does not have access to your results as these are uploaded anonymously to the NHS systems.
Please remember that Lateral Flow Tests don’t detect every positive case and your results only reflect your status at the time of taking the test. Please continue to follow the Government's national guidance and UCL Keeping Safe on Campus guidelines, and carry on getting tested twice a week.
If you think you may have coronavirus, follow our student and staff step-by-step guides to reporting and managing potential cases.
If you receive a positive test result please follow NHS guidance.
If you are on campus, please take the following precautions:
- Make arrangements to travel home as soon as possible - avoiding other people and public transport if you can.
- If you do use public transport, wear a face covering, stay 2 metres apart from other people and avoid touching any surfaces.
- Use hand gel frequently throughout the journey and where possible avoid busier stations.
- Avoid touching your face or adjusting your face covering.
More guidance and frequently asked questions
- Guidance for UCL and contracted staff working on campus:
All UCL and all contracted staff within Estates and other services who are working on campus, and who do not have COVID-19 symptoms, are expected to get tested twice a week.
Due to the rapid nature of these tests, please bear in mind where you will be when you receive your results, and how you plan to travel home. Ideally you should walk or cycle if possible.
If you are a staff member it may be preferable to book a test at the end of your shift, so that you will receive your result when you are at home.
Contracted staff who can access the on-site testing facility should contact their line manager for more information.
- Can visitors to campus get tested for COVID-19 at UCL?
No, visitors cannot access UCL's testing service. Anyone in England who does not have symptoms can now get regular rapid lateral flow tests to check for coronavirus at a local test site or to do at home. Please see the NHS website for more information.
- If I tested positive within the past 90 days, do I need to take an LFT test?
If you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days through NHS Test and Trace and been recorded as a positive case on the national system, you do not need to be tested again within that time period if you are asymptomatic. You must also request a PCR test from the NHS if you develop new COVID-19 symptoms.
- How might Government ‘surge testing’ impact UCL?
Surge testing is the term used to describe an increase in symptom-free testing and contact tracing activity, as a result of the identification of a COVID-19 variant or mutation of concern. It does not necessarily mean a surge in overall COVID-19 cases.
The implementation of surge testing is being led at the Local Authority level, and is linked to the post code where you are currently living. It is therefore important to follow your Local Authority guidelines about if, when and how to get tested. If you’ve recently spent time within one of the areas targeted for surge testing but do not live there, you should continue to follow Government guidance and check with your local authority whether you should get a test.
You can view the latest Government information on areas that are undergoing surge testing.
- Should I continue with symptom-free testing after receiving the COVID vaccination?
Yes. Staff and students that are on campus should continue with routine symptom-free testing after they are vaccinated.
- Could the vaccine give me a positive lateral flow device or PCR test result?
No. The vaccine is not known to interfere with the lateral flow device (LFD) or PCR tests. Therefore if you receive a positive result, it is very likely that you have the COVID-19 infection.
- Where can I find out more about LFTs?
Students can contact us though the askUCL student enquiries system.
Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and if you would like to speak to someone on the phone, please call our helpline on 0203 108 5699. Lines are open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.
If you are staying in UCL halls, our Accommodation team can help. Find out more on the UCL Accommodation website or email or phone your hall team.