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A comprehensive guide to pre-departure COVID tests

We sat down with COVID TEST by Blue Powder Travel’s Michael Cohen to get the latest on pre-flight PCR (polymerase chain reaction) COVID tests and what you need to know before you go. 



What are the testing requirements for overseas travel?

Travellers need to be aware that you can’t just duck down to your local pop-up testing clinic, show your Medicare card and get a free test. If you present this at the airport, you will not be given the necessary travel documents and be denied boarding.  


The Australian government currently mandates that before you can board a plane bound for overseas travel, you need to provide evidence of a negative PCR test from a laboratory taken 72 hours or less before scheduled departure. This is necessary even if you are fully vaccinated. 


PCR testing is the only accepted form of testing for travellers and is the gold standard worldwide, accepted by all airlines and governments.


When should I book my test?

Tests have to be taken within 72 hours or less, so book accordingly. Registered travel agents can organise this for you when you’re booking the rest of your travel and can build it into your itinerary so that you can concentrate on the important things like how many bikinis or budgie smugglers you need to pack. 


When will I get my results?

The laboratory used by COVID TEST by Blue Powder Travel performs tests seven days a week. Depending on the time of collection, a result may be available later the same day, or on the next day.


Are COVID-19 tests for travel covered by Medicare?

COVID-19 testing for travel is at the expense of the traveller and no Medicare rebate is available. 


A drive through testing service by COVID TEST by Blue Powder Travel will cost you $109. Or they can even organise to have an experienced pathology collector come to you at your home (or hotel) to perform your test for $139.


Can any laboratory test for COVID-19?

No. A PCR test for COVID-19 is a specialised molecular test and requires complex laboratory equipment and trained technicians.


Using COVID TEST by Blue Powder Travel guarantees that you and your passengers will receive the correct documentation so there are no problems at check-in and entry to your destinations.


I’m a travel agent. How can I register to book pre-flight COVID test for my clients?

Simply head to COVID TEST by Blue Powder Travel and register. It’s easy for you and your clients. 


Click here to register as a travel agent.


For more information head to, email them or call 02 9907 1027.


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Published: 25 October 2021

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