Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions


Here we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Covid-19 testing at Instant Covid Tests London.


If you can’t find the answer to your question, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

How long does it take to get a coronavirus test result?

At Instant Covid Tests London, we provide test results in just 20 seconds.


We use Virolens™ Covid testing devices, which take less than half a minute to scan a mouth swab through holographic imaging to identify the SARS-COV-2 virus. You receive an instant positive/negative result for SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) with 98.1% sensitivity and 99.7% specificity.


There are other Covid tests available for people who feel well, but no other test can provide such accurate results as quickly. Getting your Covid results instantly enables you to return to work and normal life with peace of mind, or take the necessary steps to safeguard others.

How do they test for Covid?

Our Virolens™ devices are registered with the MHRA. They work by telling you if you have Covid at the time of your test – they do not tell you if you have already had the virus.


The Covid testing process at Instant Covid Tests London is largely self-administered, meaning you take your own saliva sample with the mouth swab provided and put it inside a testing cartridge. An operator then puts the cartridge in one of our Virolens™ devices.


This is how the Virolens™ Covid testing process works:


  • The device uses a holographic microscope to examine your saliva sample, looking at the light diffracted off the surface of each saliva component.


  • The holographic imaging is then run through an artificially-intelligent computer trained to detect the SARS-COV-2 virus.


  • Virolens™ returns a positive/negative result for Covid within just 20 seconds.


Find out more about our Covid testing process

Where can I get a coronavirus test?

Instant Covid Tests London provides private Covid testing and corporate Covid testing in central London.


Our Covid screening centre is located in EC1, within an easy walk from Liverpool Street, Moorgate and Barbican stations. There are 10 bus routes which serve the area and parking available nearby.


Find out more about our location

What are the symptoms of Covid-19?

In line with current NHS guidance, the main symptoms of Covid-19 are:


  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).


  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).


  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.


Please note that ICTL is a screening facility designed to be used by people who are not displaying Covid symptoms and feel well. If you have any of the three major Covid symptoms please follow current Government guidelines and arrange a free Covid test from the NHS .

If you had your ICTL test booked before starting to experience symptoms, please call us to reschedule your test.

On arrival at ICTL’s facility you will have your temperature taken automatically and should it be 38 degrees or higher you will be politely asked to reschedule your appointment.

What happens if you test positive for Covid?

It’s possible to have coronavirus and not have any symptoms at all. At Instant Covid Tests London, we offer Covid testing for people without coronavirus symptoms who feel well, but want to know for sure whether or not they have the virus at the time of testing. This means that a positive Covid result is always a possibility.


Receiving a positive test result can be unexpected and upsetting, but you won’t have to deal with it on your own. You will get your result within 20 seconds of testing and if it’s positive, our onsite team will guide you to our dedicated post-test support area, where our medical experts will explain what it means and what you will need to do next.


Are you part of the Government 'Test To Release' Program?

Instant Covid Tests London is a registered UK Covid Test Private Provider, but is not part of the UK Government’s ‘Test To Release’ program. As such we are currently unable to provide tests for this or day 2 and day 8 International travel purposes.


At what age can you book a Covid-19 test?

People over the age of five are able to have a Covid 19 test at Instant Covid Tests London but you can only book a test if you are over 18 years of age. Tests for people under the age of 18 must be booked on their behalf by either their parent or guardian via the family section of our booking system. The parent or guardian that books the test must accompany the under 18 on the day of the test.

Is there anything I should be aware of before I arrive at the test centre?

As the test is performed by taking a mouth swab, there are certain things that could potentially spoil the sample.

Please do not eat, drink anything other than water, smoke or vape, brush your teeth, use mouthwash, or chew gum in the 60 minutes prior to your test.


You are required to bring photographic proof of identity with you for your test, we accept the following:


Photographic Proof of Identity

  • Current signed passport
  • Residence permit issued by the Home Office
  • EEA or Swiss national identity photo-card
  • Valid UK photo-card driving licence
  • Valid armed or police forces photographic identity card
  • Photographic disabled blue badge
  • Citizen card
  • Photo bank card


If photographic proof of identity is not available, then we will accept one of the following non-photographic proofs of identity. If providing non-photographic proof of identity, two further proofs of address from the list below will be required

  • Valid old style UK Driving Licence (no photo)
  • HMRC documentation (PAYE Coding Notice/Tax Notification/Self-Assessment/Statement of Account/NI contributions bill) issued in the last three months or valid for the current tax year.
  • Notification letter from Benefits Agency/Local Authority confirming your right to benefits (Department for Works and Pensions (including Jobcentre Plus), Benefits Agency or Veterans Agency), dated within the last 12 months


Proof of Address

  • Current tenancy agreement, from a local council or a recognized letting agency with 3 months remaining
  • Bank/Building Society/Credit Union statement, dated within the last 3 months
  • Credit card statement, dated within the last 3 months
  • Mortgage statement from a recognised lender, dated within the last 12 months
  • Life Assurance/Life Insurance Policy, dated within the last 3 months but outside of cancellation period
  • Motor Insurance Certificate, valid for the current year but outside of cancellation period – we can’t accept cover notes
  • Sky/Cable/Utility bill (gas, electricity, water), dated within the last 3 months
  • TV License letter or Direct Debit schedule confirming existence of a TV license dated within last 12 months

At Instant Covid Tests London, we only provide Covid tests for people who feel well. This is because many people who have coronavirus may not experience any symptoms at all.


If you have experienced any of the above symptoms in the 14 days before your test, you will have to self-isolate and you can get a free Covid test from the NHS. If you had your ICTL test booked before starting to experience symptoms, please call us to reschedule your test.


Please note that your temperature will be taken on arrival, and anyone presenting a temperature or showing other symptoms will be refused testing. This is for your safety as well as the safety of other visitors and staff.


Instant Covid Tests London is fully accessible for wheelchair users. If you require on-site assistance, please contact us in advance of your appointment. Get in touch at either or call 020 7065 5750.


The Virolens Covid-19 test is performed by the user self-swabbing their own mouth. Anyone who might need assistance with swabbing their own mouths may bring a companion to do that for them. Parents or guardians may need to swab their children’s mouths if they are unable to do that by themselves.


Even though our staff are given disability and equality awareness training, we are unable to provide language interpreters or BSL interpreters. If you require assistance communicating in any language other than English, please do bring a companion to act as your interpreter.

Cancelling and rescheduling your booking

For our cancellation policy, please refer to our terms and conditions.


If you need to reschedule, this can be done up to the time of your test appointment via the link on your email confirmation, by calling us on 020 7065 5750 or by emailing