COVID-19 Pre-departure testing

COVID-19 Pre-departure testing

Most travellers must now have a negative pre-departure test result and supporting documentation to travel overseas.

Testing can be accessed through our Test to Travel service as well as at various medical practices in the region. 24-hour turnaround times can only be guaranteed when using our Test to Travel service and are dependent on the demands of the public health response.

Read information about the testing process below.

Test Process

You can now book and pay online to get your pre-departure test with Medlab South. Our new Test to Travel service is available at our Tahunanui collection clinic.

Learn more or start your booking here >>

Travellers can also contact their doctor or medical practice to arrange pre-departure testing. If you are not registered with a doctor or your doctor does not provide pre-departure testing, you can use the Healthpoint website to locate a practice that anyone can access.

If your test is collected by a doctor or medical practice, payment must be made directly to the medical practice for all associated costs of testing, including the laboratory analysis. Your test is sent to our laboratory for testing and results are electronically submitted back to your doctor or medical practice. It is up to your doctor to provide you with your results.

If you book and pay directly online using our Test to Travel service, you will receive your results in the form of a verified Travel Certificate, which are sent directly to you in an email.

Time-frame for Testing and Results of PCR Swab

Timeframe for Testing and Results
Pre-departure testing must be requested on or before 48 hours from when the result is required (not flight departure time). Note: the requester must include the date the result is required on the request form.

If a traveller presents with less than 48 hours before they require their result they should be aware of the likelihood they will not make their flight.

For 48 hours TAT results please advise the laboratory by emailing advising of swab arrival date to laboratory and patient details.


Pre-departure COVID testing is not publicly funded and must be paid by the traveller.

If booking and paying directly through Test to Travel, the sample collection and laboratory analysis for a PCR test is a single-fee of $145.00 incl GST. See the Test to Travel website for other options and express fees.

Travellers receiving their test from a doctor or medical practice must pay the whole fee directly to the medical practice. The cost of your test is set by the medical practice and includes our fee for the laboratory analysis.

Clinical Details

Manual Request Form
Medical practices must include relevant details on the test request form – that the swab is a pre-departure test and the date/time the result is required by. eOrders is the preferred method as it prompts for the correct information.

If using eOrders, select the appropriate “Travel COVID swab” option and you will be prompted to complete the information needed to produce the correct report for travelling.

Patient Consent

By requesting COVID-19 testing individuals are providing their consent for results to be sent through to the national result repository. This is a Ministry of Health requirement for all notifiable diseases. There is no requirement for a separate consent form to be completed for this purpose.

Pre-Departure Serology Testing

Medlab is unable to provide pre-departure COVID-19 serology testing because this is a sendaway test. Travelers must arrange this testing by travel to and testing at another centre where serology is offered, such as Auckland.


Our laboratory is an Accredited Medical Testing Laboratories (SARS-CoV-2). For more information visit the IANZ accreditation directory.

Further Information

For queries relating to the laboratory testing process please contact: