Expat Guide: Getting a COVID-19 Test In The Czech Republic

With cases rising rapidly in all corners of the Czech Republic, more and more people are seeking out tests or wondering whether they should get tested because of potential exposure. To understand who should get tested for COVID-19 and how the process works in the Czech Republic – keep reading our expat guide. Photo credit: Freepik.

Written by Hana Zábranská and Nataliia Sliusarenko.

Who Should Get Tested

As we’ve learned more about how the virus spreads, the recommendations have become clearer. As well as getting tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you are referred by your General Practitioner (GP) or the state health department, you should also get tested if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, even if you are asymptomatic.

You are also required to undergo a test if you are travelling to the Czech Republic from abroad. Depending on the country you are coming from and how long you have spent there, there are different test regulations. These test regulations apply to Czech and EU citizens, as well as third-country nationals with a residence permit in the Czech Republic or any other EU member state.

How To Get A Test Referral

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and you want to get tested, call your GP first, do not visit their office in person. A request for an RT-PCR test can be issued by a doctor (your GP) or an employee of the regional hygiene office. You can get a referral if you have been in contact with an infected person or you have symptoms yourself, and in this case the test will be free of charge.

If you are a foreigner without Czech health insurance, a doctor can still issue you a referral for a test (if testing is ordered by a doctor). However, you will need to pay for the test on the spot and then reclaim the expenses from your insurance company in your home country. If you do not have a referral from your GP, you can go for a self-paid test.

Once your data is shared with the doctor or hygiene office employee, you will be registered in the system and the test referral will be sent to you electronically.

Where To Get Tested

We recommend you choose a test centre in advance. You can choose any centre across the Czech Republic, select the day which suits you best and book an appointment. We would like to point out that while you are on your way to the test, you could be infectious, and therefore at risk of spreading the infection. That means you should not stay out around other people for too long. The most important thing is to avoid using public transport. Ideally, use your car, or go on foot if the test centre is within walking distance.

You can find the list of test centres on the UZIS and Czech Ministry of Health webpages (in Czech). You can find all the locations of testing places here.

Angelo Casadei, a member of the Jobspin team, told us about his recent experience getting tested in one of Brno’s PCR test facilities on Veveří: “I had no problem filling in the online form and reserving a spot for 8.40 on a Monday morning. Fearing the morning traffic I left my house early, but as there wasn’t any I had already arrived at the test centre by 8.05. The test centre was a small parking lot with a very accomodating English-speaking medic in a tiny plastic hut. To my surprise I was able to undergo the test immediately, and paid CZK 300 extra for a 12-hour guaranteed test result.”

After The Test

You should remain at home until your RT-PCR results arrive. Try to stay isolated in a specific room and away from other people at home. The results of the RT-PCR test will be sent to the e-mail address you have provided or via SMS within 48 hours at the latest. The method of receiving the result certificate can vary depending on the centre. We recommend finding out in advance whether you will receive your certificate by email or if you need to visit again to pick it up in person.

“As a foreigner going for a self-paid test, you can put a foreign phone number and still get your test results. Mine came in under eight hours via SMS (to a foreign number) and an email with all the printable documentation. I wasn’t able to open the documentation links on my smartphone but they opened without any problem on a laptop,” added Angelo Casadei.

Whether your test result is positive or negative, you should take preventive measures to protect yourself and others. Wear a mask, wash your hands regularly, keep a safe distance from others, and avoid crowded places.

Useful links:

Expat Guide