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Important Government Update when entering the UK

26th March 2021

Covid-19 VirusPassenger Locator Form (PLF) must have the correct format for the test reference number

We are distributing this message on behalf of the Department for Transport and the Department of Health and Social Care.

From 04:00 Thursday 11 March, individuals who have not been in a ‘red-list’ country in the past 10 days, can book the mandatory Day 2 and Day 8 quarantine tests they require through a range of providers. This means there will be a change to the acceptable format of test reference numbers that  should be provided by passengers on their PLF. Passengers who do not provide the correct test reference number should be denied boarding by the Airline. But to enable carriers and passengers to familiarise themselves with these late changes, penalties for carrying international arrivals who do not have appropriate test reference numbers will not be enforced until 04:00 Monday 15 March.

Please see guidance below on the accepted format of test reference numbers:

New type of test reference number (valid from 0400 Thursday 11 March) provided by private testing providers:

[AAAAA00ABC….] (Five letters followed by a series of letters or numbers)


Existing test reference number provided by CTM (which will remain valid):

[0000000] (7 numeric digits only)

The test reference number should be listed in the “booking reference” section of the PLF under Day 2 and Day 8 testing questions for passengers who declare they have not been in a red-list country in the last 10 days. Airlines only permit boarding passengers who have one of these two types of test reference numbers provided on their PLF. If the “booking reference” section is blank or the information is clearly spurious, the passenger should be denied boarding by the Airline.

There is no change to the booking reference for managed quarantine hotels for passengers who declare they have been in a red-list country in the last 10 days.

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