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Tuberculosis Testing Guide for UK Visa Applicants

As part of the application for a long-term UK visa, every candidate from a country where TB is widespread must have a screening for active TB in the lungs. You must take a tuberculosis (TB) test if you plan to stay in the UK for more than six months.

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    Why TB Test Is Required for UK Visa

    Applicants require tuberculosis (TB) testing if they are coming to the UK for more than 6 months. You need to be aware of the tuberculosis testing requirement if you are resident in any of the UK tuberculosis testing country list.

    The purpose of the screening is to identify those who have latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). LTBI is when a person has the TB bacteria in their body but has no symptoms and cannot spread the disease to others. If you have LTBI and become sick, you may develop active tuberculosis. Active TB disease can be severe and can spread from person to person. The tuberculosis screening test is one way to help protect public health by identifying those who have LTBI and need treatment.

    To check for TB, a chest x-ray will be performed. You may be requested to provide a sputum sample if the x-ray results are unclear (phlegm coughed up from your lungs).

    A TB certificate valid for six months from the date of your x-ray will be given to you if your test results indicate that you don’t have tuberculosis. This certificate should be submitted with your UK visa application.

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    Who does not need to be tested?

    If any of the following are true, a TB test is not necessary:

    •  You are a diplomat with the UK.
    • You’ve lived in the UK for at least two years and are a returning resident.
    • You spent at least six months in a country where the UK does not require TB screening and you haven’t spent more than six months abroad.

    Where Will the TB Screening Takes Place

    The test must be done at a designated and UK government-approved clinic in your home country, and you will need to make an appointment.

    People living in countries with no UK government-approved clinics for TB screening can take the test in neighbouring countries with approved centres. You can find a list of approved clinics on the gov.uk website. The test is taken at your convenience and is not done on arrival in the UK.

    How much does a TB test UK cost?

    In addition to the price of your visa application to the UK Home Office, there are clinic fees for the TB test.

    The consultation, chest X-ray, and TB clearance certificate are all included in the clinic charge.

    These fees vary depending on which country you have your TB test in.

    Your doctor may recommend additional testing, such as sputum tests, which could result in additional fees.

    What Happens During the TB Test at An Approved Clinic?

    An applicant must bring one other official document proving their identification along with their passport on the appointment day.

    They should also provide two passport photos and their medical records, which should include, if appropriate, any information regarding a previous diagnosis and treatment of TB.

    Although practically all cases of TB are treatable and curable, it is nonetheless a dangerous condition due to delayed diagnosis and other causes.

    Although TB can affect any area of the body, transmission is only possible when the lungs are the site of the disease’s active infection. Pre-entry screening is therefore limited to active lung TB. This form of tuberculosis, which affects the lungs, can be challenging to detect.

    A chest X-ray may be performed on you to check for lungs that have changed in appearance that could indicate tuberculosis. Phlegm samples are frequently collected and examined for the presence of TB germs.

    You will need to fill out the informed consent form at the clinic before screening can start.

    The doctor will then inquire about any current health issues, concerns, or symptoms, past illnesses (including TB) and treatments, and whether you or a close family member have ever had TB.

    The doctor may perform a physical examination if they decide it’s necessary.

    A chest X-ray will be performed on you to look for any lung abnormalities that could be lung TB. In most cases, your findings are prepared for collection in less than 24 hours.

    After consultation and a chest X-ray, if your doctor determines that you do not have TB, they will give you a TB certificate.

    Sputum test

    A sputum sample may be requested from the applicant if there are any concerns from the result.
    Your doctor may request three samples of sputum if your chest X-ray reveals any concerning areas or if the test results are uncertain (phlegm coughed up from the lungs). This is done in the clinic on three consecutive mornings; therefore, you should be prepared to attend the clinic.

    The samples you supply will next be examined under a microscope for analysis. All samples will be cultured since, more often than not, the TB bacteria will grow in the sample you provided for positive result. A specific staining procedure can occasionally make the TB germs visible.

    It is crucial to remember that in these situations, getting the definitive diagnosis can take up to two months. Pregnant women and children are given special consideration, which is explained below.

    Children

    Every child needs to see a physician to determine whether they require a chest x-ray.

    You must bring your child to an approved clinic and fill out a health questionnaire. The clinician will issue you a certificate if they determine that your child does not have TB.

    This certificate should be submitted with your child’s UK visa application. Chest X-rays are often not performed on children under the age of 11.

    Pregnant women

    You can choose either of the options listed below:

    • a second and third-trimester x-ray with an extra shield to safeguard you and your unborn child.
    • an examination of the phlegm you cough up (sputum) – there can be an additional charge, and findings might not be available for up to 8 weeks after delivery.
      You can utilize an x-ray obtained recently at a screening facility in the UK if you don’t want to be examined. Request that a doctor at a recognized clinic examines your x-ray. The doctor will issue you a certificate to include with your UK visa application if it is approved.

    Do you need help applying for a UK Visa, our team can help. Contact us

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      Latent TB testing

      When someone has latent TB, they are infected with the disease but do not show any symptoms. You might need a test, for instance, if you have recently been to or were resident in a country with a high TB prevalence rate or if you have lately been in close contact with someone who is known to have active TB.

      Latent TB, additionally known as the tuberculin skin test (TST), is frequently tested using the Mantoux test. It entails injecting a very little quantity of PPD tuberculin under your forearm’s skin. If you have a latent TB infection, your skin will be sensitive to the PPD material, and a tiny red bump will appear where you were injected, usually near the injection site.

      Your skin will be sensitive to the PPD material, and typically 48 to 72 hours after the test, a tiny red bump will appear at the injection site if you have a latent TB infection.

      You might require a chest X-ray to confirm whether you have active TB if your skin reacts extremely. You do not have a latent TB infection if your skin does not react to the test. Although you might experience a slight skin reaction from the test if you’ve previously had a BCG vaccination, this does not necessarily indicate that you have latent TB.

      How Long Is the Validity of a TB Certificate?

      After a test reveals the applicant is TB-free, they will receive a certificate that needs to be included with their visa application materials.

      It’s vital to remember that the certificate is only good for six months after it’s granted. The timing of any applications must therefore be taken into account, as well as the logistics of scheduling and travelling to an appointment at an approved clinic.

      Where Can I Get A TB Certificate for UK Visa?

      You can access the list of countries here. There is a list of approved clinics in every nation. The doctor issuing the legitimate medical certificate must be listed on the Gov.uk website and be approved by the Secretary of State.

      Clinic fees are due in addition to any UKVI application fees and vary by country. Candidates may need to take a test in a neighbouring nation. For instance, candidates from Mauritania and Cape Verde will need to be screened in Morocco, while those from Mali, Guinea Bissau, and Senegal will need to take a test in the Gambia or Senegal.

      Many Applicants will take this into account practically when organizing their visa application.

      Is TB Test Required for UK Standard Visitor Visa?

      Pre-entry TB testing is not necessary for anyone travelling to the UK for six months or less, such as those on business, family, or tourist visas.

      What Will Happen If I Don’t Provide A TB Test Certificate When I Apply for A Visa?

      The entry clearance application is likely to be rejected if the applicant applies without including the TB certificate.

      As of this writing, Ukrainian nationals applying via the family route are exempt from the existing TB testing criteria.

      The current advice is as follows:

      Paragraph A39 of the immigration regulations’ requirement for a TB test certificate has been temporarily waived.

      Kyiv’s TB testing facilities are closed, making it impossible to screen for the disease and receive the necessary certification.

      Contact our London immigration lawyers on 0203 617 9173 for professional advice and support, or reach us in person or online.

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