Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to provide you with more information about organising a COVID-19 test before you plan to travel. If we haven’t answered your query, please contact your local testing laboratory.
More information on ordering a travel test
Please print your prepaid pathology request form and have your passport on hand for when you go to have your sample collected. There are no special preparations required for a COVID-19 travel test.
There is a collection window that you must present within to comply with the requirements of your state, country, airline, or cruise line. Please ensure that testing occurs with this timeframe.
For example, if you are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure, please do not present before the 72-hour collection window or less than 24 hours before your departure.
Please use our collection time calculator to help you work out when to have your sample collected.
IMPORTANT: If you present within 24 hours of departure, you may not receive your result in time.
COVID-19 testing within 72 hours of departure
3 pm on 19 November
3 pm 16 November to 3 pm 18 November
In this example above, you must not present before 3 pm on 16 November, or after 3 pm on 18 November.
It is your responsibility to understand the testing requirements of the state or country that you are travelling to, and of the airline or cruise line that will take you there.
Please check with your embassy, travel agent, airline, cruise line, or destination country or state for the latest testing requirements.
In most Australian states, you are not required to book an appointment for your COVID-19 travel test. If your collection centre is Launceston Pathology in Tasmania, you are required to book an appointment for your sample collection. Please call your local Sonic Travel Testing laboratory to do so.
- Tasmania: Launceston Pathology - 03 6334 3636
More information on request forms and travel report
Yes, however you are only able to include one passport number and nationality when placing your order. To add a second passport number and nationality, please tell the pathology collector who takes your sample and this will be organised for you.
You result is reported in a Travel Report that is sent by SMS to the mobile number you enetered when placing your order. You will need the 4-digit report access PIN to open the report. The PIN is found in your confirmation email and also on your tax invoice.
Japan requires that you have a specialised nasopharyngeal swab sample for your COVID-19 travel test. If you are travelling to Japan, order a PCR Nasopharyngeal swab test when placing your order.
Yes. The COVID-19 real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) performed by our testing laboratories is a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT).
SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.
Before travelling we recommend using Smartraveller.gov.au to check your transit or destination country for their current pre-departure COVID-19 testing guidelines.
Information on COVID-19 testing
A real-time RT-PCR (reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction) test detects the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2; the virus that causes COVID-19. This is considered the gold-standard test to detect if you have COVID-19.
COVID-19 IgM is currently not offered at our Sonic Labatories due to the changing nature of international travel testing.
Click here to learn more.
A pathology request is a form containing your information that you must bring with you when your sample is collected.
You will receive this form with your confirmation email and it is password encrypted. Please use your Date of Birth to open the request form (dd/mm/yyyy).
Your confirmation email also has your tax invoice. It is important to retain this invoice as the report access PIN (on the top right-hand corner), is used to access your pathology report.
It is essential that you print and bring this form and your passport, to the COVID-19 travel test collection centre.
To view an example request form and tax invoice, see below. Click the red square to zoom in on pathology request form.
Payment, refunds and change of plans
COVID-19 testing for pre-travel is not covered by Medicare at this time and all bookings are pre-paid during the ordering process.
- COVID-19 RT-PCR swab test is $145 AUD*
- COVID-19 Supervised RAT test $64 (AUD)* (Only avalible in WA and VIC)
*These prices are subject to change
Refunds can be requested any time before your sample is collected. Refunds are only given when travel plans change but not for 'change of mind'.
If you are entitled to a refund there will be a $20 administration charge per traveller for this service, for all orders received from 17 November, 2021. We will process your refund within ten business days of having your cancellation approved.
Please note: Your order is valid for 12 months, so you don’t need to cancel if your travel is only delayed.
Your order is valid for 12 months. You can use it any time up to its expiry date. The expiry date is printed on the request form.
Please remember to check with the embassy, travel agent, airline, shipping line, or destination country or state for COVID-19 testing requirements.
Your order is valid for 12months from the date that you place it. There is no need to contact us, simply tell the collector when you arrive for your test and they will be able to update your new travel details.
Some health funds and travel insurers are allowing claims for COVID-19 travel testing. We recommend that you check with your provider about what is covered by your policy.