Self-testing if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you have been in contact with someone with coronavirus
A self-test is a test that you can do yourself at home to check whether you have coronavirus. It’s a good idea to use a self-test even if you’re fully vaccinated or have already had coronavirus. However, in some cases it is better not to rely on a self-test. For instance, if you need proof of recovery or if you live in a care facility, you should get tested at the municipal health service (GGD).
When to use a coronavirus self-test
When to get tested by the municipal health service (GGD)
For certain people, self-testing isn’t necessarily the best option. If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone with coronavirus you should get tested by the GGD if:
- you are a health or care worker;
- you live in a nursing home or other healthcare institution and you are over 70 or have severe immune system dysfunction (RIVM - in Dutch only);
- you live at home and go to a daytime activity group, and you are over 70 or have severe immune system dysfunction (RIVM - in Dutch only);
- you are unable to do a self-test, even with help;
- you need proof of recovery.
Negative test result for travel
A negative test result is sometimes required in order to travel abroad. If you require a negative test result for travel, you should get tested by a commercial provider. Read more about obtaining a negative test result for travel.
Using a coronavirus self-test and obtaining a result
A self-test is a rapid antigen test that you do yourself. This means you collect mucus from your nose and test it independently. Before doing a self-test, always read the accompanying instructions.
How to do coronavirus self-test
Even if you have been vaccinated or have recovered from a coronavirus infection, testing yourself is a good idea. This is because you can still become infected and pass the virus on to others. Follow the 3 steps below to find out how do a self-test and what to do after you have obtained the result.
Step 1. Buy approved coronavirus self-tests
Make sure you always have a few approved self-tests at home. Rapid antigen tests that have been approved for use as self-tests have a CE logo on the packaging. You can buy approved tests at chemists, pharmacies and supermarkets.
Store coronavirus self-tests in a dry place and out of direct sunlight, between 2 and 30 degrees Celsius.
Step 2. Do the self-test
How reliable the result of a self-test is, depends on whether you do the test correctly. Read the leaflet included with the self-test for instructions on how to use it.
Self-tests do not cause side-effects
Coronavirus self-tests do not cause side-effects. However, inserting the swab into your nose can be uncomfortable.
Self-tests do not determine the virus variant
Self-tests do not provide any information about the virus variant.
Step 3. After the self-test