COVID-19 testing available at OR Tambo International Airport

On December 2, 2020 / by Sherone Lewis / Leave a comment

Passengers travelling to and from OR Tambo International can now get tested at the airport. Most destinations require international visitors and returning residents to provide negative COVID-19 PCR test certificates in order to be granted entry into a country. The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) has set up testing units at OR Tambo, providing convenient testing facilities for travellers who need to obtain negative COVID-19 PCR test certificates before their travels from South Africa.

Travellers can be tested on the same day as their flights or have the test done a day or two ahead of their international flights, then collect the certificates on the day of their flight. Most destinations require testing to be done within 72 hours of departure.

Departing from South Africa

  • Mobile testing units are located in front of the police station, opposite the Intercontinental Hotel, at OR Tambo International Airport.
  • The cost is R600 per test, which can be paid by cash, cheque card or credit card. Payment by American Express card is not accepted.
  • Children under the age of five are not required to be tested.
  • Test results will be available within four to six hours and travellers can remain at the airport while awaiting their results.
  • Alternatively, travellers can do testing a day or two before their flights and collect their test certificates once these have been processed. All travellers will be notified by SMS once their results are processed.
  • Travellers can then collect their COVID-19 PCR test certificates and proceed to check-in.

Arriving in South Africa

  • All arriving passengers require negative COVID-19 PCR test certificates on arrival (obtained within 72 hours of their flight to South Africa).
  • The certificate is valid for the duration of the passenger’s journey, including transit and stopovers.
  • Tests are only valid for a single entry to South Africa.
  • Arriving passengers must produce their printed test certificates on arrival in South Africa. If they are unable to produce a printed copy, digital copies may be e-mailed to port health authorities at
  • Digital copies must be received by port health authorities before the passenger will be allowed to enter the country.

If arriving or returning travellers are not in possession of negative PCR test results, they will be directed to the airport’s testing facility, where a staff member from the NHLS will conduct the test immediately. Travellers must cover the cost of the test themselves. The traveller will be required to wait for the results to be processed before they will be allowed entry to South Africa. If the test is negative, the traveller will be permitted to enter. But if the result is positive, the traveller will have to quarantine at a designated centre at their own cost.

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